Category Archives: General

VRTO Presents the FIVARS 2016 Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories

The VRTO crew = the FIVARS crew: Friends and family and 3rd party free-agents pouring sweat equity into a generally undefined industry with (sometimes) millions of dollars being poured into it, and financial predictions that resemble a four-year-old’s first adventure with crayons. This is the engine that powers the Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories.


FIVARS focuses on a series of narrow criteria to induce the height in creativity in this emergent media language. The primary focuses of FIVARS are:
1. Find unique modes of narrative expression
2. Find unique mechanics
3. The most dignified, seamless user experience possible for showcasing virtual and augmented reality

Held at the beautiful 6000 square foot, renovated and converted warehouse space now run by MSMU Studios, FIVARS employed award-winner Pandor Productions to help set up a highly customized environment, designed specifically for optimized turnover, exhibition and exiting of over 30 ground-breaking virtual reality experiences.

FIVARS black light

The festival, dubbed the most “Cutting Edge Storytelling Festival in the World,” in the Huffington Post, also featured a 20-point 3D audio chamber designed and built by David McKevy and the soulful augmented reality art exhibit by L.A. artist Daniel Leighton.

Daniel Leighton exhibition

The sold-out festival also featured special talks by master storyteller Dan Yashinsky (Toronto Storytelling Festival) and Daniel Burwen – Director of Publishing (JauntVR) in addition to 3 panels featuring international content producers in the immersive media spectrum.

The 2016 festival, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, sold-out on its second day and featured over 30 immersive experiences from countries as diverse as China, Jordan, UK, USA, Switzerland, Canada, Spain and others. The winners, announced September 20th, 2016 at the Cadillac Lounge in Toronto were as follows:

  • People’s Choice Award – Best Immersive Spherical Video – “Help” – director Justin Lin – Google Story Studios
  • People’s Choice Award – Best Interactive Experience – “Pearl” – director Patrick Osborne – Google Story Studios
  • Grand Jury Prize – “Real” – Connor Hair

Learn the rest about the best at the official FIVARS site

VRTO Presents FIVARS – Canada’s First Virtual Reality Stories Festival

FIVARS is the acronym for the Festival of International Virtual and Augmented Reality Stories. VRTO – Toronto’s virtual reality meetup is very proud to host the inaugural event and the first of its kind in Canada.

Featuring 20 projects from countries as diverse as Russia, Ireland, New Zealand, England the US and Canada, festival director Keram Malicki-Sanchez and co-organizer and technical coordinator Joseph Ellsworth carefully selected a programme of titles that span not only the gamut of genres and themes but technical and narrative approaches.

Kamchatka, Russia (Premiere)

The festival offers 8 viewing stations, including 3 on Oculus Rift and the remainder on Samsung Gear VR (now known as Oculus Mobile). It takes place at UG3 Live – a large music venue located in the heart of downtown Toronto during and steps away from the final two days of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

For times and the full catalog visit the official site at

Knoxlabs custom VR goggles

The week in VR – 04-30-2015 – GoPro Spherical, Knoxlabs and View-Master!

GoPro, makers of micro action cameras, (now shooting up to 4K video) acquired Kolor – makers of virtual reality and panoramic video stitching software. While speculation immediately began about GoPro moving into VR, their spherical mount has already been shown on their professional solutions page.


You can check out one of GoPro’s first official spherical videos “Land, Air and Sea” in the native Google Chrome player on YouTube, or below (note: requires Chrome browser to view)

Mattel has redesigned its View-Master, yes THAT View-Master that had you sticking little picture wheels inside their eyepiece throughout the 1970’s. Their new VR Google Cardboard certified product seems to use the old picture wheels for a kind of augmented reality bonus. Of the many “cardboard” offerings in the market, this may be our current favorite. Details TBA

Also, how about getting your own custom branded VR cardboard googles – well Knoxlabs, based out of Los Angeles, will do just that for you.

Knoxlabs custom VR goggles
Los Angeles-based Google Cardboard makers Knoxlabs offer custom VR goggles