23/04/2016 Click


Click looks at the immersive world of virtual reality sound, plus a VR tour of Chernobyl and the week's tech news.

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style killings. Fans continue to lawn -- mourn the loss of prints as


authorities say there is no reason to believe his death was suicide.


And there have been plenty of them rolled out this week for the


It is the brainchild of screen legend Robert


De Niro, who set it up to


revitalise the area following the devastating events of 9/11.


And while it may not have the glamour of


Cannes or the indie cred of Sundance,


Tribeca has led the way in


the use of new technology to tell stories.


In 2011, the festival included the video game LA Noir,


and last year included a section dedicated to virtual reality.


Unsurprisingly, the VR section is even bigger this year, and at the


heart of it all, the world premiere of a British short made by BBC R


It was heaven for our eight-year-old selves.


Playing like a child's fairy tale, the intention is to immerse


Instead of lifelike visuals, the team behind it are using audio


Specifically, sound that sounds like it comes


from all around you, just


The next few minutes are best listened to through


headphones, so go and get them now, and get ready to put them on.


If you saw Click's 360 show recently, you


may have noticed that while you can look in any direction, the audio


The sounds, my voice, for example, didn't come from the


And that's because it's incredibly hard to make


..hear something going on over there.


And that's what the BBC R Department have


They are still over there when I turn round.


Right, now is the time to plug in those headphones, because a couple


of weeks before Tribeca, I got to see The Turning Forest as the team


That's interesting, because there is a


sound that is coming from over there that


makes me want to look in that


Which answers one of the questions about virtual reality -


how do you get the audience to look in the right direction at the right


Of course, you draw their attention to a sound, that's


This was created to demonstrate the sound first.


Yes, and to see how far 360 sound can go.


We wanted to explore what we can do


with natural recording and really push the microphone techniques we


were using as well to try and get a compelling sense of the forest.


After making the multidirectional recording of a real forest, Chris


Pike and his team began to add moving 3-D elements over the top.


So, every sound on the left-hand side has its own symbol in this,


which is a top down view of the scene.


And we are watching where those sounds are coming from in 3-D


The Turning Forest was originally made


for a static listener, and making sounds come from different


directions in different speakers is nothing new.


But for VR the sounds need to come from just two


And the sounds need to stay fixed in space


And to check everything is in the right place,


the sound mixer has to wear these attractive motion-tracked Princess


That is actually really disorientating, you're right.


When you've got your eyes closed as well, I


That could make one feel quite queasy.


You'd be throwing up all over the place.


direction the sound needs to come from, doesn't mean that they can


For that, the R team needed to adapt a


technique that's been around for more than a century.


It's called binaural sound, and it is


Trust me, if you haven't put your headphones on yet, now is


Now you are listening in binaural sound, which is all about


making you feel like you're really there.


And it's so much more than


just putting certain sounds into one ear and certain sounds into another.


Right now, it should really feel like I'm walking closer


to you around the left side of your


It gets better, because I can walk behind you and it really sounds


(Whispers) ..is when I come right up next to you and


Now you are sufficiently creeped out, you may be wondering how you


The secret is in the sound recordist himself,


Ed has two microphones hidden inside his very


human-looking ears on the sides of his very


human-looking ahead, and


that means that he captures sound in exactly the same way that your head


If something happens off to one side, the sound will be quieter


in the opposite ear, and it will get there slightly later.


It will also have been blocked by your skull,


bounced around the room, and ricocheted around the cartilage on


Because he looks like a head, he hears like a head.


But so far, binaural sound has only really worked if your head


In VR, however, you get to turn your head in all directions.


And that's what Chris and the team have sussed.


In their many-speakered sound room, they slowly rotated Ed while playing


sounds coming from different directions and then researched how


Now they could combine that intimate experience of binaural sound with


the free head movement of VR to create something Chris calls


One of the team's main missions is to devise a


standard way of storing all the 3-D audio information so that it can


sound best on whatever sound system it's played on.


You can adapt to the system a person is listening on, so


if they are using headphones with a racker in a VR system, they can


if they are using headphones with a tracker in a VR system, they can


If they have a 3-D system in a big home theatre, you can give them


a surround sound with height experience, but we also need to be


able to replay on a stereo and surround.


This includes a standard for dynamic binaural sound in web


browsers to better serve the growing library of 360 video we can now


stream on our computers, phones and headsets.


In fact, just this week, YouTube launched support for live


streaming VR and support for basic dynamic binaural sound.


But The Turning Forest wasn't the only


project experimenting with binaural sound and VR at Tribeca.


headset hair and take a look around at some


of the virtual reality on


Virtual reality may have come a long way in the last two years,


but for many, it's still seen as a bit of a gimmick.


But with content growing and the hope that both


prices and headset size will reduce, film-makers here are trying


to use the medium to tell stories in new ways.


One of the things that's really interesting about VR is the


It's so different to traditional film,


and I can't help thinking that is going to have


One of the hits of the festival was Allumette, a 20


minute experience based on Hans Christian Andersen's the Little


Its makers, Penrose Studios, have already been hailed as


the Pixar of VR for their focus on story and the ability to make you


Perhaps the most interesting example of


virtual reality here has been its use in highlighting various social


Notes On Blindness is designed to give you a


sense of what it might be like to be blind.


This is a story about a man who lost his sight.


It says he began keeping a diary on audio cassette,


Like The Turning Forest, it also uses


binaural sound to situate you in the VR world,


a process that the creative team found uniquely


How to represent with visuals a blind perception of the


So we used a sort of metaphorical element in 3-D


real-time, and we used also a lot of binaural


recording and synthesis to


It is amazing - the audio really gets


It's quite unique that we now have games and


experiences that are allowing you to feel


other people, to feel the


thoughts and experiences of people like that.


That's one of the things that VR will be used for in the


Several of the exhibitions here do just that.


a nine minute piece from the Guardian showcasing the


psychological effects of solitary confinement


on prison inmates in the


There is a very small table and seat area, just


a tiny sliver of light coming through.


While I found it deliberately claustrophobic, the


film proved painfully real for one former inmate.


As a person who spent a total of three years in solitary


confinement, I can tell you that the experience is very real.


It actually made me remember some of the things


that I went through when I was in solitary myself.


Feelings of anger, frustration, hopelessness in a lot


of ways, endless, internal sadness of just being in a space where you


have no one to talk to, nobody to come in contact with.


It kind of really brought me back there


But not everyone here wants to put you in the shoes


The Ark is a VR film about the world's most endangered


Its makers aim to give you an almost God's-eye view of the species.


We focused on the idea that you are a


floating brain or a spirit that's doing a thing


We put you in two places simultaneously.


You look to the front of experience, you are in


Kenya, to the back you are in San Diego,


which are the two places where the genetic rescue effort is


What is clear from these and other films shown at Tribeca is


that VR is still very much in its infancy.


Cinema has had over 100 years to get where it is now, and


there is a sense that VR film-makers are only


beginning to work out and


develop the grammar for the way they tell their stories.


Who knows, in a hundred years our cinemas experience


may be a bit more like this than what we're used to.


The supersecret and relatively mysterious company Magic Leap


Demos show how to check e-mail and undertake a school project


The company say it was shot directly through its system with no use


But what they haven't told people is how it works and when we might


And if those flying jellyfish don't worry you,


Police have opened up an investigation


after a plane travelling from Geneva to Heathrow was believed to have


been hit by a drone some 1700 feet above west London.


The incident was reported by the pilot


It was also the week that Netflix opened the door to viewing content


off-line and Microsoft announced its intention to stop making


Over ten years since it originally went on sale.


And if you have ever sat on a train and wished it would hurry


The US Air Force has broken the world's speed record


for fastest vehicle travelling by magnetic levitation.


It reached a speed of 633 mph along the 2000 metre track,


beating a previous record they set themselves only days earlier.


Aside from the massive rockets, superconductive magnets are laid


It was the morning of the 26th of April 1986 when an uncontrollable


power surge in the Chernobyl reactor in northern Ukraine resulted


in one of the worst nuclear disasters the world has ever seen.


The Soviet Union said today that an accident has damaged an atomic


Anger is growing in the west over the way the Russians are


The accident sent a plume of radioactive followed


The accident sent a plume of radioactive fall-out


into the atmosphere, reaching as far away as the United


Kingdom and seriously contaminating a huge area around the site.


30 years later and very little has changed


in the nearby town of Pripyat, which was evacuated just after the


Although the radiation has dropped to safer levels in some areas


around Chernobyl, it is still understandable


Now, thanks to a new virtual reality experience, you can go


The Chernobyl VR project is the first of its kind from Polish


We wanted to make this tool to interact with it


because there is a lot of movies regarding the Chernobyl and Pripyat


disaster, so we wanted to create something that would be closer.


You are entering the virtual world, you are free to walk to different


places and your guide is telling you the story of the places


To create the project, the team made multiple trips to Chernobyl


The point was to capture thousands of photographs,


models and 360 degrees videos in order to accurately capture what


We have been recording 360 movies to make a more direct version


of the narrative and also to give some noninteractive


We have been using drones to film and we have been using special


scanners and cameras for the 3-D data.


It is incredible to see how much the area has decayed in just 30 years.


That is why another point of the project was to try to


These places, in the next years, will be fully collapsed.


So this is the last moment where you can really explore Chernobyl


The project is slated for release in the next few weeks


and will be compatible with Samsung's Fear VR


and will be compatible with Samsung's Gear VR


There came a time a few years ago when it seems that every action


sports enthusiasts under the sun felt the need to strap on


a Go-Pro camera and film themselves as they hurtled downhill.


The problem is that since the company went public nearly


two years ago, all of Go-Pro seems to be headed in that direction.


After all, how many action sports enthusiasts are there in the world?


Richard Taylor has been to Go-Pro in San Francisco to find out how


the company is planning to arrest its decline.


Over the past year or so Go-Pro has been on a more turbulent ride


It's garishly clad founder, Nick Woodman, has had to deal with


plummeting share prices, fleeing executives and failing to


hit home with new products which have given even ardent Go-Pro


Critics say it is losing its edge in delivering eye-catching


innovation, while rivals are fast making up ground with


Another challenge it has faced is competition from these things.


Smartphone cameras are arguably better, more versatile


and appealing to a mainstream audience than a standalone Go-Pro.


That is something the action-cam pioneer is keen to address.


So, Go-Pro in hand, I can survey a new landscape with


Accessories, some tie-ups with the big boys and


Witness this integrated playpen housing to capture


Other hardware allows creative remote control and access


It is essentially a remote control in the palm of your hands.


It will sync directly to your Go-Pro products and by doing that,


you can use gestures to control functionality on your Go-Pro camera.


I will tap my thumb to my finger and it will start by recording.


Different touch points do different things.


I will switch camera modes by touching this.


Really, what we're trying to do is solve one of


the biggest problems that you often hear when you are out on the side


In terms of its developer programme, automated editing of multiple


cameras through to overlaying info on top of your Go-Pro's intro are


They're also pushing into new territory,


this weekend they launched a virtual reality production


platform with cameras, rig and software costing a cool $5,000.


VR production is still niche, begging the question of


whether Go-Pro can find other products to entice more audiences.


The last product launch didn't really hit home with consumers.


What can you say to us in terms of innovation for the Hero Five or the


I can't talk you much specifically about those products,


but I can say we learned a lot from the last product release.


Perhaps the pricing was the thing that caught us


a little off guard and we didn't double down with advertising.


We know now we need more developers to help our ecosystem


and we're very focused on that, but most importantly,


we just need to make it that much easier to reach a broader audience.


Go-Pro does sport a very large fan base, but it has become clear


Maintaining that elevated status is quite another.


And just before we do go, there is one more thing we want to


It is a film put together by Canadian Guy Maddin,


but it is not a film in the traditional sense of the word.


These lost film adaptations were updated into a programme


and the programme then fragments this ectoplasmic matter of unhappy,


lost film spirits and the programme really recombines


It will generate a new movie, a new 1-of-a-kind movie out


With over 500 billion possible outcomes, the resulting film


And when the film has played out, it is then destroyed with


its name placed on the list of film obituaries alongside many classics


And the one major advantage of creating a film with the help of a


computer programme is that it does render you fairly critic-proof.


There are all kinds of possibilities facing the viewer and


you just have to trust luck and the inevitability of the fact that...


I don't know, I don't even know if I trust anything anymore.


On that triumphant note, we will leave you.


We are on Twitter should you need us throughout the week.


Just time to bring you up-to-date with how we see things panning out


across the British Isles this weekend and in the next few days.




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