FNE AV Innovation: Virtual Reality: On The Verge of a New Form of Time Travel

FNE Innovation 2016-11-29
Peeter Nieler Peeter Nieler

FNE continues its series on the development of cutting edge innovation and how new ideas are transforming the AV industry. Today innovation specialist Peeter Nieler inspires us with the possibilities of virtual reality.

TALLINN: "I recently got a 360 degree camera. I got this piece of kit for a very specific reason. To record my father, while he's still with us, in a way that will allow me to don a headset and step back into these moments in as much detail and immersive reality as our technical limits today will allow. In other words, time travel. Hazy, grainy, low-res time travel. But better than nothing."

James S. York
a long time friend, talented technologist and a former colleague

It is James' Facebook post that got me thinking about 360 degree Virtual Reality videos from a whole new perspective - it really is a time machine. Giving us the ability to revisit moments or bring these moments to our close ones unable to attend that special moment.

Now, if we get very philosophical, Virtual Reality in the context of revisiting a moment (or a dream?) dates back good 35,000 years - that's how old the first cave paintings are estimated to be. These early tribes wanted to leave their mark and revisit their moments the best they could. Since then we have been finding newer and newer, more refined ways to do this.

For example murals. Especially illustrative in the "VR video" context are murals painted in an immersive, surrounding way, often onto domes. Telling us biblical stories those paintings also try to take us into a story - a moment.

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Ceiling painting, by Jean-André Rixens. Salle des Illustres, Le Capitole, Toulouse, France.

This picture is very well painted and has many meanings with many possible answers. Different people believe different things about what the painting actually means.




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Andrea Mantegna, Di sotto in sù ceiling fresco in the Camera degli Sposi of the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua.

The ceiling painting "Di sotto in sù" ("seen from below" or "from below, upward" in Italian) above by Andrea Mantegna is especially remarkable, as it's creating a level of illusion.



So creating illusions and taking us to places and situations is nothing new. Already nearly two centuries ago the first stereograms came around and that added to traditional image depth perception. It seems like it’s unrelated, but technically holds great importance as also modern headsets are based on the same approach.

Charles Street Mall Boston Common by Soule John P. 1827 1904 3


View of Boston, c. 1860; an early stereoscopic card for viewing a scene from nature



Visore stereoscopico portatile Museo scienza e tecnologia Milano




Brewster-type portable stereoscopic visor, J. Fleury - Hermagis, 1870.



Today we have a new wave of Virtual Reality - technology has reached new levels of resolution and processing power that will empower James, and indeed all of us if we know how to use it, to step back into our past to relive and share moments in an immersive way that would have previously been confined to our own memory. We're living in an era of wonder and magic, lets appreciate it!

Photo credits: Wikipedia

About Author:
Peeter Nieler is an innovator and former producer, developing Virtual Reality technologies. He is a sought-after speaker and - as he calls himself - Venture Catalyst having started already two Virtual Reality companies; Criffin is focused on hardware design and Virtual Neuroscience Lab is researching VR scientifically.



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Sten-Kristian Saluveer was the organiser of the 2016 edition of the European Film Forum conference in partnership with the European Commission in Tallinn within the frames of the Black Nights Industry Days. The event focused on innovation, new technology and the digital single market initiative and other key topics for Europe’s audiovisual industries. Saluveer is an Estonian film and audiovisual media producer, festival manager & programmer, consultant, and film researcher focusing on East-Asian film industries, specifically Japan and South-Korea. He graduated from Concordia International University in Electronic Media and has followed up in Culture Management(Estonian Music Academy) and Japanese Studies (Department of Asian Studies, Tallinn University). Most recently he holds a Master’s Degree from University of Tokyo (Japan) with an awarded thesis on film industry development and international co-productions in Hong Kong, Japan,and South Korea.

PeeterNieler2Peeter Nieler is an innovator and former film and television producer, developing Virtual Reality technologies. He is a sought-after speaker and - as he calls himself - Venture Catalyst having started already two Virtual Reality companies. Criffin is focused on hardware design and Virtual Neuroscience Lab is researching VR scientifically.  His companies already have two technologies in portfolio and some in the pipeline, most important being omnidirectional treadmill for natural locomotion in Virtual Reality.

Jorik2Jorik Jakubisko is one of the leading European experts in transmedia problematics. He is co-owner of the Prague based Transmedialist which will publish the comic book Bouquet at November (CZ+SK). It is first pillar for transmedia project Czech Grimm.PhD He is student at FSV UK (Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University - Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism) and he writting his doctorate dissertation on Transmedia in context of single European digital market . He also works as a creative partner in Jakubisko Film in Prague together with his mother and father Deana and Juraj Jakubisko.

 AgnesSalsonAgnes Salson graduated from the French cinema school La Fémis and Mikael Arnal, filmmaker, created the project "Tour d’Europe des cinémas", a journey across Europe visiting a hundred cinemas, seeking for innovative ideas and trends for independent cinema exhibition.


Adam Široký is a ventuz designer, data integrator, software developer, VJ XLAB. The Prague based XLAB specializes in 360 degrees video and VR.



Muriel Joly is in charge of business development for Under The Milky Way. She began her career at StudioCanal (Canal + Group) first in the Domestic Home entertainment department, as a product manager (2004-2006) and then as a marketing VP for international Home Entertainment (2006-2009). After 2 years (2010-2011) in consulting, where she became interested in issues of the Video on Demand emerging market, she became in charge of marketing development for Canalplay, the VOD brand of Canal + group.