Global Film Industry Event Cannes 2017 Stages Huge VR Experience for Attendees

Jun 28

Global Film Industry Event Cannes 2017 Stages Huge VR Experience for Attendees

We recently joined 35,000 filmmakers, producers, journalists and other industry professionals from around the world registered for the Cannes Film Festival along with another 100,000 people who descended on the city during the annual 12-day event in the South of France.

One of the highlights was our visit to NEXT, the innovation hub of the Cannes Film Market, the b2b component of the Festival, which focused on virtual reality (VR) this year, so we share some takeaways.

We had a chance to try one of the VR demos, and the 3D animation and immersive, multi-sensory experience were truly amazing!  Our first hand experience, and observation of many other attendees partaking in the demos, reinforced for us the high engagement value of VR and why we are seeing VR at more and more trade shows.  There is definitely a WOW factor here.  You can see it… almost feel it.  And its contagious effect plays out very well at live events.

Offered at no additional charge to registrants of the Cannes Film Market, NEXT’s VR program ran for five days, and was staged across a sizeable footprint prominently located directly off the center aisle in the exhibit hall.  There was a lot of VR here – some 85 different experiences.  Download PDF to see list of VR content.  What caught our attention was not just the scope of the VR content but the variety of ways you could engage with it.

One of the VR experiences, entitled “Separate Silences”, was done with participants lying in a hospital bed.  Here’s how it was described in the show program… “A two person installation combining multiple P.O.V’s and physical stimulation to achieve a more credible state of presence.  A pioneering hybrid VR production that incorporates film, theater and live-action VR.  Experience floating between worlds within yourself and the hospital you are admitted to.”

The show organizer offered three primary options to experience the VR…

– The VR Theatre provided a simultaneous and collective cinematographic experience for 30 people per screening who all enjoyed the same program at the same time.

– The VR Video Library enabled attendees to do VR demos on their own.  There were two options here.  The Stand-Up option provided an interactive, full-body experience which attendees did while standing up at one of three stations.  The Seat-In option enabled attendees to enjoy the VR experience while sitting down in one of three booths.

– Exhibitors offered individual VR demos in their booths.  There was an entire area for exhibitors with meeting tables and booths, where you could engage with VR experiences and talk with exhibitors about them.

There were also several days of VR-centric conference sessions.

The show organizer delivered the entire VR program in one dedicated space making it very easy to access everything, and facilitating networking among the community by keeping everyone in one place.

Attendees were able to reserve VR experiences and pick up tickets at the VR Ticket Office, which facilitated logistics considering the number of VR slots and demand for them.

The show organizer featured leading players in the VR space and great demos, which led to the VR theaters being full every time we stopped by.  There were 5,300 viewings by attendees, including tickets delivered for VR experiences and for the VR Theater, according to a post show press release.

When you consider VR’s high engagement value, and that virtual and augmented reality headset shipments are projected to increase nearly 10x, from 10.1 million in 2016 to 99.4 million in 2021, according to IDC, VR is certainly an area to explore for your show.

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