VRTO Meetup - Toronto Dec 2016 photo by Jessy Blaze

VRTO December Toronto VR Meetup Recap

The VRTO team presented one final Meetup for 2016 on December 21st in Toronto at Spadina and Queen, in the heart of the city. Fifty-five attendees slogged through the thick snow to arrive at MSMU’s cozy brick house, lined with Christmas lights and featuring a pool table and two HTC Vive setups.

VRTO Meetup December 2016
Olga Nabatova shares her TiltBrushing knowledge with the attendees

Artist Olga Nabatova, started off the night’s presentations with a review of some of her VR based paintings in Google’s Tilt Brush, as commissioned by Google, the Ontario Science Centre and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Attendees were invited up to the stage to enter into her works of living art and contribute something themselves.

VR Producer Elli Raynai was next and did a fascinating drilldown on his productions from the past two years that include “I Am You,” “The Key,” and his latest – “Circuit Rider.” While Raynai used photogrammetry and Unity for autobiographical piece The Key, he has moved to Unreal Engine 4 and a team of 8 to create his post-modern narrative/game hybrid Circuit Rider.

The night was capped off by VRTO Director Keram Malicki-Sanchez who did a fast-paced rundown of some of the virtual reality industry’s biggest news, changes and projections. You can access his slides below.

VRTO is so grateful to all of you for making this such a vibrant and relevant community. We are always fascinated by your stories and projects and forever invite you to be an active part of this network. Thank you to everyone who made our conferences and festivals possible in 2016 and here is to a new year!

Please enjoy Olga’s tribute to 2017 – Year of the Fire Rooster:

Special thanks to the Wednesday team:
Jessy Blaze
Adriel Malicki-Sanchez
Chrissy Aitchison
Joshua Joudrie
Marika Woyzbun

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 Meetup on 3D Spatialized Audio for Virtual Reality

VRTO Meetup on 3D Spatialized Audio at Brightlane, Toronto - photo Copyright 2016 Jessy Blaze
VRTO Meetup on 3D Spatialized Audio at Brightlane, Toronto – photo Copyright 2016 Jessy Blaze

This sold-out (but free) special Meetup focused on the undercovered subject of audio design for virtual reality post-production with a special focus on 3D Spatialized Audio, the software solutions and companies offering solutions and methods, and software development kits. Added to these resources the evening featured a panel that included the team behind BVRNED (dir. Jeff Preyra), one – of Canada’s first scripted virtual reality films alongside creative director David Sorbara from Grayson Matthews one of Canada’s top music and audio production facilities.

The full panel featured:

Dave Sorbara
(Creative Director – Grayson Matthews)

Grayson Matthews, is one of Toronto’s top audio and music production houses who are increasingly focusing on VR productions and software solutions.

Grant Edmonds 
(Professional Sound Mixing Engineer – The Dark Studio)

Grant started The Dark Studio Sound Company in 1998 and has many awards to his credit including a Gemini for Best Sound in a Documentary. He was the Mixing Engineer on the VR film BVRNED.

David Federman
(Composer – Federmusik)

Holds a Master of Music degree in Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games from Berklee College of Music, Valencia Campus. David’s practical experience in scoring for media has been complemented by his research on the history and practice of video game music, which he presented at the inaugural Interacting With Immersive Worlds conference in 2007.

Anne-Marie Ront 
(Sound Designer/Mixer and Audio Integration Specialist at ‘The Post Office‘)
Anne-Marie has worked on various web/interactive games, VR experiences, feature films, shorts and web series. In the VR realm, The Post Office have worked with companies like Globacore, Seed Interactive, Occupied VR, Shaftsbury and CFC to produce VR experiences and games. Some notable projects include Sonar, Slasher, David Cronenberg Body/Mind/Change experience and Toyota’s VR driving game.

The panel will be moderated by VRTO Director Keram Malicki-Sanchez whose company Transportive Technology produced the world’s first Stereoscopic 360 ASMR Video “Snow Globe,” and is amusic producer with over 25 years experience had a lot of questions about special considerations for producing audio for this new platform. Discussions led to psychoacoustic techniques, best practices, the state of the art and how game developers can work with audio specialists, composers and traditional cinematic sound designers to create better immersive experiences.

Video coming soon!