Cine Gear 2016: To VR or not to VR - that is the question

Posted By Anthony Magliocco on June 08, 2016 08:04 am | Permalink
I made my annual trek to the CineGear Expo on the Paramount lot, and while waiting in line on Friday afternoon, I overheard a conversation that got me thinking. The gist of the chat was this: "I have an offer to work on a VR project right now, or wait for Bob's show to start in six months." 

This brought lots of thoughts to mind. Inching my way forward in the line to enter the lot, the conversation continued. "Are you saying you can hang out for six months without any work?" The response was, 'Yes I can.' Wow, I thought, what would I have done in this situation? Working on a VR project, I would learn some new skills, new technology and meet some pioneers in a very exciting new field that is exploding rapidly. That all sounded great to me. Hmm, but maybe the traditional work was the safe route? The uncertainty of the VR market is still open. Gamers seem to be on board, but how about other markets?    

The line moved forward again. Trying to figure out what other folks might have in mind for their career can be a bit trying. Entering the Paramount lot, I was in a sea of all sorts of creative types, ready to enjoy a feast of technological and mechanical wonders. The usual exhibits included every kind of camera rig, tripods, lighting and grip equipment, camera cars and so on. Drones - of course there were drones. 

What is CineGear all about?  For some, a time to meet up with old friends that are always busy on projects. There is the quest for knowledge and of course the toys! Oh yes, the toys! Attending a trade show or industry event can serve many purposes. Certainly you can do some shopping, budgeting, or reflecting on what your next moves might be.   

I thought I might check in on two old friends from my years in the post side of the business. MTI was first on my list. On hand was Randy Reck, and Jim Hannfin, two industry pros ready to share with visitors the latest and greatest on the MTI Cortex product range. HDR is a very hot topic and a potential driver for new services, and new consumer products. Support for DolbyVision, DCP package generation, HD to UHD conversion software, and dead pixel detection and repair are some of the new features demonstrated. 

Also on hand were the folks from Codex, I had a chance to speak with Brian Gaffney, who also serves on the Hollywood Section of SMPTE's board of managers. Brian gave me the latest updates on the Codex product offering. The Codex Production Suite that debuted at NAB officially launched at Cinegear. The product evolved from the Vault Platform, and offers a complete workflow from the camera to post. The newest extension included support for the Mac Pro. There are lots of extension for support for all of the Codex capture drives, eliminating time consuming cloning.

I have been spending lots of time talking to folks about VR and 360 production. Just saw a quote saying that stitching will cost about $10,000 per finished minute. One of my clients RE:Vision Effects has been working on tools to use super-fish eye lenses to create pseudo 360 videos, eliminating the stitching and costly complications of multiple camera rigs.  Check out their product RE:Lens at: 

I was able to make it through the whole day without buying any toys, needed or not. Glad to say I learned some new things and got to see some old friends. However, I still would have jumped on that VR project. Well, that is just me.

Anthony Magliocco ( is the founder of Entertainment and Media Technology Marketing. He's held general management, sales and marketing management positions for leading suppliers of technology for the entertainment and media industry. He serves as secretary/treasurer of SMPTE Hollywood, is an active member of several HPA committees and was a TV Academy governor.