New Media Interchange #014

Emmys, Apple and VR
· 7 min read

This is New Media Interchange where we talk about the media world beyond mainstream television and radio, including podcasting, YouTube, live streaming, gaming and more.

NMI is Hosted by Douglas E. Welch, pioneer podcaster, blogger and writer.

In today’ show…

  • Streaming Services and the 67th Emmy Awards nominations
  • Apple is rumored to be woking on Streaming live broadcast television via AppleTV
  • The Coming VR Platform Wars


In a followup to my story on the the new GoPro Hero 4 Session camera from last week, James Trew at Engadget has a detailed review and comparison between the Session and previous GoPro models. In the article, Trew provides side-by-side comparisons between the Session, the Hero+ LCD, and the Hero Silver on items such as Image quality, color, dynamic range, low light usage and audio. Trew thinks that he Hero4 silver is still his camera of choice, but your needs in both size, flexibility and quality might make the Session a better choice. As with all technology decisions, only you can make the best choice for your needs and desires.

After releasing HBO Now exclusively on Apple TV and Apple iOS devices for 90 days, the streaming service is now available on Android phones and tablets and is expected to add Chromecast and Fire TV support very soon according to a recent Engadget article. HBO NOW is $15 per month and brings you “Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and True Detective in addition to a library of older series (The Sopranos, etc.) and movies.”

Oculus continues it VR development efforts with the purchase of the company Pebbles Interfaces. According to the Oculus blog,

“Pebbles Interfaces has spent the past five years developing technology that uses custom optics, sensor systems and algorithms to detect and track hand movement. Over time, technology breakthroughs in sensors will unlock new human interaction methods in VR and revolutionize the way people communicate in virtual worlds.”

This is an interesting purchase as Oculus seems to be already reaching out beyond its own recently introduced, but as of yet unavailable, Oculus Touch controllers and looking to motion and gestural control for future VR devices. This purchase follow previous purchases of companies with similar or complementary technologies including Nimble VR — which turns real-life skeletal movement into VR and Surreal Vision which maps physical spaces into VR Worlds

Of course, if you make VR devices, you need to have content for those devices so Oculus has partnered with Felix and Paul Studios to create VR experiences for Oculus owners according recent article in Engadget and The Next Web.

“Felix & Paul Studios, led by directors Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël, is a celebrated VR production house that has already been creating elaborate and effective cinematic experiences like Jurassic World and Wild for Gear VR.”

I think we will rapidly see more deals and announcements like this, especially as we approach the release dates for Oculus Rift and other VR hardware. If you want to convince people to by your device, you need to give them some compelling reasons, especially with these early, expensive devices. It takes a long time to develop VR content, compared to traditional filmmaking and I wonder if even this amount of lead time will be enough to provide a large selection of high-quality VR content before release.

In other VR content news, two weeks ago I detailed the Jaunt VR’s Neo 360 degree camera system for creating VR content and this week The Verge highlights the creation of Jaunt VR studios.

“The newly announced Jaunt Studios is a Los Angeles-based wing of the company that will be dedicated solely to developing and producing live-action VR experiences. It’s similar to what Oculus announced earlier this year with Oculus Story Studio: an in-house creative initiative, designed to both bolster the production of VR experiences from existing artists, but also to interact with the broader Hollywood creative community to bring new filmmakers into the fold.”

Jaunt has a goal of creating over one thousand pieces of content in the next 12–18 months. They’ll be using their own Jaunt technology to creates these pieces, of course, so this new content will also act as a tech demo for their hardware, hopefully enticing others to use their technology, too.

Hardware Hot List

In this week’s Hardware Hotlist, I have one item to help you take better video with your smartphone and another to record high-quality audio with your iPhone

First up is the KumbaCam Smartphone Steadicam Stabilizer reviewed in a video on the Some Gadget Guy blog. The KumbaCam 3-Axis SmartPhone Gimbal Stabilizer is designed to help you create smooth video no matter what you are doing. This active stabilizer uses 3 motors to allow you to lock the camera in a particular direction or smoothly follow action around you.

The device is a bit expensive at $399, but if your projects use a lot of smartphone footage, this could help to improve the quality of you video beyond the typical, jerky, handheld footage we mainly see. KumbaCam also offers a similar device for your GoPro camera and both can be fitted with an extension pole and remote control for more flexibility.. You can find the complete video review on the Some Gadget Guy site and more information on the KumbaCam web site. You’ll find links to both in the show notes.

On the audio side is Sennheiser ClipMic digital Mobile Recording Microphone. This lavalier microphone connects directly to the Lightning connector on your iOS device to record high-quality audio in a variety of situations. The ClipMic is basically a combination of Sennheiser’s ME2 Lavalier microphone with an analog-digital interface from Apogee terminating in a Apple MFi certified Lightning connector. As would be expected from a Prosumer level device, the ClipMic runs around $199 from and other vendors.

You can watch a complete video review on the Some Gadget Guy including audio samples and you’ll also find samples on the Sennheiser web site. Links to both are in the show notes.

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