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24th May 2017

     



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Why new media studio Blackpills partnered with Vice for a slew of scripted series




The growing media empire made its first foray into scripted digital content with four web series produced by new French studio Blackpills.

“We want to overhaul and radicalize the ways that series are consumed on mobile, which is something we’ve been doing by experimenting with new video formats and focusing on creating compelling content that can rival top-tier episodic and linear TV,” Blackpills founder Patrick Holzman says. “Today, despite the rise of social media, young adults are having an increasingly hard time expressing themselves and rallying around their wants, needs, and fears–our goal is to tell their stories, and produce content that will speak to them and bring them together. This is why we’re able to attract talent like that.”

That ambition is also what got Vice’s attention. Vice’s media strategy is broad, and Blackpills fits into it nicely–as did production studio Pulse, which will create content for the channel further down the line (and whose CEO brokered the deal between Vice and Blackpills). “From the first time we saw the content from Blackpills, we knew that we wanted to give the Blackpills channel its home on Vice,” Hosi Simon, the brand’s global general manager, said in a statement. “The content, creators, and people at Blackpills and Pulse have an ambition and vision that we value at Vice, so we couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.”


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Move over, VR—a new artistic medium is about to emerge




Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed-reality headset, which integrates holograms into the world around you, is making its art-world debut courtesy of the pioneering Amsterdam-based artist duo Studio Drift. Unlike virtual reality, in which a viewer is fully encased in a digital world, or augmented reality, which layers objects onto your existing physical environment (think of Snapchat filters or Pok?mon Go), mixed reality fuses the real and virtual worlds.

“Feeling present in your environment is a key aspect of mixed reality, enabling you to move naturally, interact, and explore in three dimensions,” says Ben Porter, director of Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Experiences. “These aspects are unique to mixed reality and make the entire world a canvas for artists.”

Studio Drift’s Lonneke Gordijn believes that navigating between or integrating the digital and physical worlds is going to be one of the most important topics of the next decade. And mixed reality presents an intriguing solution to better integrate this ever-present digital layer into our lives.

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Creative sector fills UK coffers as money pours into film and TV production




The combined UK film, TV and music industry boomed in the second half of last year, growing almost 11% compared with the previous six months, according to government figures. In December alone, the film sector accounted for half of all growth in the key services sector – which accounts for 80% of the British economy.

The TV production industry is enjoying a golden age of investment, with deep-pocketed new arrivals such as Netflix pouring money into big-budget shows including ?100m royal series The Crown.

“The UK’s creative economy stands tall on the world stage,” James Murdoch, chief executive of 21st Century Fox, said.
The Film industry has flourished over the past decade, following the introduction of a 25% tax break for foreign filmmakers, mostly exploited by Hollywood studios that have shot blockbusters in the UK.

After years of declining CD sales and the threat of piracy, the music industry is back in fine health too: “In terms of recorded music it is very simple, growth is all being driven by streaming,” said industry analyst Mark Mulligan. “We have finally got to the stage where streaming is growing strongly enough to offset the decline in legacy formats.”

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Paste's Unofficial Guide to SXSW 2017




While most associate SXSW with music and film, the nine-day event also gives attendees exclusive access to some of the most influential people in the tech, design, journalism, government and health industries.

Last year, SXSW screened more than 100 movie premieres, including Sausage Party and Midnight Special. For the 2017 festival, 84 world premieres and 51 films from first-time directors make up the 125 features set to show.

You can find the full lineup online, scheduled by categories like “Narrative Spotlights,” “Episodic” and “Festival Favorites.” Some of this year’s most eye-catching screenings include the documentaries Bill Nye: Science Guy and May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers, directed by Judd Apatow.
One of the most anticipated headliners of the year, Song to Song, is a drama directed by Terrence Malick and starring Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett. Premiering on opening night, the modern love story is set in Austin itself and the mile-long cast list features the likes of Val Kilmer, Florence Welch, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Black Lips, Iron & Wine, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Lykke Li and Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo.

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Netflix working on technology that allows viewers to choose plot points




Netflix, the TV-streaming company behind hit shows such as The Crown and House Of Cards, is working on ways to give viewers control of key plot decisions.

A source said: "We’re doing work on branch narratives so you are actually making choices as you watch. All the content will be there, and then people will have to get through it in different ways.

"We’ll see how it plays out. It’s an experiment. We’ll see if it gets much success. For creators, it’s new territory."
Actors would film numerous alternate plot segments in advance, letting viewers choose which route to take through the story.

The most complex versions could turn back on themselves, so viewers could in theory watch dramas that are "infinite.”
Netflix will run a trial with choose-your-own-adventure shows for children later this year, based on an established character.
If they are successful, it will use the format for TV programmes aimed at adults. It has not said whether it would apply the format to established series, or use it exclusively for new ones.

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100 demos, 50 pitches, and a year with AR and VR: What we’ve learned




People are blown away by the level of immersion and the experience of getting transported to another place. But while companies are still debating controllers, tracking, resolutions, and wires, there is no doubt that the technology is now ‘good enough’ for people to feel completely immersed in another world.

Despite the incredible experiences that people are having in VR, however, consumers are not excited enough to go out and buy headsets.

Companies and investors are waiting for a big breakthrough. Until something spurs a bigger user base, AR/VR companies will not be making a lot of money. That makes it important for early-stage VR and AR companies to ensure they have a plan to survive and continue developing great products until the early majority are more easily able to try VR/AR experiences.

The VR (and potentially “mixed reality”) apps that people will spend the most time in will be social. Humans have an innate desire to be social, and tools for communication are incredibly valuable.

Interestingly, the younger folks who try both AR and VR tend to be more interested in VR, while older folks see more commercial promise in AR…

As we look towards the technologies that will affect humanity the most over the next decade, we firmly believe augmented and virtual reality will change the way we work, play, and live.

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