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  • NYFA Game Design Mentor Meetup with Aaron Pulkka

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    This past week the New York Film Academy Game Department held a Game Mentor Meetup. The special event focused on the history and development of Virtual Reality. VR pioneer and NYFA Instructor Aaron Pulkka led the discussion.

    nyfa vr games

    Before the presentation, high school students hoping to attend NYFA, current NYFA students, and instructors from nearly every department gathered outside of the theater. Pizza, soda, and snacks were served. Through mouthfuls of hot cheese, participants buzzed over which VR headset was worth the price tag, which game best utilized its VR feature and whether the future of VR relied on lasers or motion capture and other topics.

    With full bellies and buzzing brains, the students filed into the Riverside theater. Pulkka spoke for over an hour giving first-hand knowledge of the rise of Virtual Reality. Pulkka worked on the “Aladdin’s Carpet Ride” at Walt Disney World in Florida, which first utilized VR in 1998, and many other groundbreaking projects.

    He also broke down the key factors of establishing a VR world. The gamer must move in the space, but space cannot come to the gamer or they will be too disoriented to keep playing. This is known as an explicit camera. Light and sound help establish where in space the gamer is supposed to be.

    pullka

    Pulkka then walked the students through the different kinds of headsets. The Play Station 4 has sold three times as many VR headsets as the next leading brands, but there’s an HDMI cable limiting the player’s movements. Google Cardboard costs anywhere from $2 to $30, but you have to have an expensive smartphone and the games are limited.

    A highlight of the night was Pulkka’s demonstration of the Microsoft Hololens augmented reality headset. He created a VR program in Unity and output it to the Hololens. He then walked around the room dropping giant 3D cubes on the audience.

    A great lesson was the difference between VR and 360-degree videos. Pulkka says, “If you can’t interact with the world it’s not VR. 360 videos, like the ones you see on YouTube or Facebook, are not considered VR.”

    After the presentation, the audience spilled into the lobby to converse about all they learned and enjoy cupcakes. A group of students was overheard excitedly chattering about their VR projects. Game students are free to explore VR in any of their Game Studio semester projects. And there is one VR class currently available documentary students with more planned in the future.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank those who participated in this exciting conversation. You can join the conversation by watching the discussion here.

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    April 17, 2017 • Game Design • Views: 2711

  • NYFA Welcomes VR Software Architect Chris Bobotis

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    Last week, the New York Film Academy welcomed well-known VR artist, Chris Bobotis, to speak to students in our new VR program.

    chris bobotis

    Bobotis is the Co-Founder and 360/VR Software Architect at Mettle, which introduced 360/VR plugins that have been widely adopted by leading companies world-wide, such as The New York Times, Time, CNN, HBO, Google, youtube, Discovery VR, DreamWorks TV, National Geographic, USA Today, LinkedIn, The Ellen Show, BuzzFeed, Conan 360, Framestore, Google, Jaunt VR, GreenPeace, Care, UBER, RYOT, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Apple, and Facebook. Independent filmmakers and youtubers have also widely adopted the toolset available through Mettle, shaping the content that is available through YouTube, FaceBook, Samsung, and other 360/VR viewers.

    Founded in Montreal as a production studio by Chris Bobotis and Nancy Eperjesy in 1992, the team of artists and programmers who have consistently embraced art and tech, and pushed forward the notion of empowering artists with digital tools, developing software by artists for artists.

    Chris Bobotis

    Drawing on a vast experience of production and post-production workflows, Bobotis leads the development of all Mettle software. SkyBox 360/VR plugins are the most complete set of Cinematic 360/VR production tools available for Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro, and include a VR Player for Oculus RIFT.

    Chris generously spent a couple of hours lecturing on the theory of creating successful VR experiences, as well as demonstrating very practical how-to lessons with the software, which is used in the NYFA VR classrooms.

    At the end of the event, Bobotis offered an award to the best student VR project. Stay tuned!

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    March 24, 2017 • Filmmaking, Guest Speakers • Views: 3403

  • A 360 Degree Look at Ribalta

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    We’ve all heard of the some of the more popularly known diets like the Atkins Diet or a Juice Detox, but what’s become a sort of blessing to New Yorkers is the recently proclaimed Pizza Diet. That’s correct. According to Chef Pasquale Cozzolino of “Ribalta” in Manhattan’s East Village, eating a whole pie at his restaurant provided him with both a filing and relatively healthy meal at only 570 calories. So, while dieting on his delicious brick oven pizza, Cozzolino has lost a total of 100 pounds in just five months! It’s no wonder People and Good Morning America, among many other media outlets, have taken the time out to discuss the diet with the Italian chef. “It’s not only about a diet it’s about a lifestyle,” says Chef Cozzolino.

    To continue the celebration of this magnificent diet, the New York Film Academy commemorated Chef Cozzolio by filming a 360 degree / Virtual Reality video at the new dining hot-spot, Ribalta. The VR, 360 video was directed by NYFA Florence Program Director Diana Santi, shot by NYFA Florence Equipment Manager Nicola Ciccarelli, and included cast and crew made up of acting and filmmaking students and alumni.

    “This terrific video from the New York Film Academy will drive you straight in the heart of Ribalta,” said Owner, Rosario Procino. “Look around, enjoy and discover our place!”

    Having the opportunity to explore this technology for the first time has led to a bit of excitement at the Academy as well.

    VR Pizza

    photo by Shani Patel

    360 Video and/or Virtual Reality is still a nascent technology,” said Diana Santi. “Only pioneers are using it so far and we want to be part of that!”

    With the belief that 360 Video / VR will be an integral part of the filmmaking and entertainment world for years to come, be on the look out for more VR content and a Virtual Reality Filmmaking Workshop at the New York Film Academy. Stay tuned!

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    February 12, 2016 • Filmmaking • Views: 2702