Immersive Media announced a collaboration with Digital Domain that gives media outlets and video studios the ability to share immersive VR video content through a medium they have full control over.
I had the chance to speak (again) with Andrew McGovern, VP of Media and Entertainment for IM360, and he told me that the IM360 VR Platform will be very customizable. Organizations can choose to use components of the platform or make use of the entire package. If a studio or media company already has a spherical camera, they can just use their own, for example. Or if a company chooses to host its own content, it can make use of the other tools that the IM360 VR Platform provides.
The IM360 VR Platform is an all-encompassing VR and immersive video production and distribution platform designed for professional organizations. The platform can provide everything needed, from camera equipment for recording, to servers for hosting, and everything in between. This should make it simple for media networks, studios and video production companies to create, distribute and monetize their virtual reality content.
With the IM360 VR Platform, companies have the ability to create anything they desire and the freedom to distribute content in ways that best suit their needs. Rather than use a service such as Facebook or YouTube for hosting VR content, the IM360 VR Platform gives production and media companies the ability to host their own content and distribute it how they see fit. Videos can be embedded in websites or specific applications created to view content.
Immersive Media's patented technology can be used with all of the available and forthcoming VR platforms, including Google Cardboard, GearVR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Full 360-degree content created with the IM360 VR Platform can also be viewed on mobile and tablet devices, allowing for a large potential customer base.
McGovern said that the goal is to provide a complete pipeline for media and professional content producers that provides everything needed -- the cameras to capture the scene, the tools for post-production, and the backend server infrastructure to process and host the data. Even if companies chose to use their own servers for hosting the content, the IM360 VR Platform can provide the cloud infrastructure used to process the content for playback on all types of devices.
The IM360 VR Platform does have its limitations. Currently, the platform handles everything in the background, but companies are still tasked with creating their front-end experience, such as a mobile application or a webpage.
Several companies have already taken advantage of the IM360 VR Platform. The New York Times recently announced that it will be providing Cardboard viewers to its subscriber base and distributing immersive video content periodically. The IM360 VR Platform was used as the underpinnings of that effort. NBCUniversal's SyFy channel is also making use of the platform in the creation of "The Expanse," which is an upcoming science fiction show with VR elements. Gannet Company, which publishes USA Today also has a VR app created with the IM360 VR Platform.
The IM360 VR Platform is available now to qualifying companies. For more information, you can contact Immersive Media here. If you'd like to see the fruits of Immersive Media and Digital Domain's labor, the NYT VR app can be found here for iOS and here for Android. Gannet's VR Stories app can also be found for iOS and Android. SyFy's "The Expanse" is available on both platforms as well.
Update, 11/6/15, 1:40pm PT: The original version of this article misstated the name of Digital Domain and also Andrew McGovern's title. We have amended the copy accordingly.
Update, 11/6/15 7:30pm PT: The original version stated that Immersive Media and Digital Domain made the announcement. It was amended to reflect that Immersive Media made the announcement of the collaboration, Digital Domain is simply part of it.