Fighting robots. Staring into the eye of a whale. Visiting the moon with Buzz Aldrin.

That’s how I spent my Friday, thanks to VR on the Lot, a conference held at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood on October 13 and 14. Held by the newly formed VR Society, this two-day conference showcased the latest in virtual reality, with demos from companies specializing in it, along with panels and presentations by major studios and others in the field.

In addition, Chapman University was represented in many different factions, by being featured on not just one, but two panel discussions.

The first was called ‘VR Education’, and was moderated by Professor Madeline Warren. This panel had students from both Chapman University and the University of Southern California, as they talked about the projects they are currently working on in the virtual reality space. Sho Schrock (BFA/Creative Producing ’19) and Sam Wickert (BFA/Digital Arts ’19) were on hand to talk about their experience with VR thus far, and their horror film, The Harvest, which is premiering right here on campus later this month.

Later on in the day, Warren also moderated the ‘VR in Education’ panel, where educators from various colleges took the stage to talk about how they are integrating virtual reality into their classrooms, and teaching the students about how to work in the space. Professor Bill Kroyer was also on the panel, talking about how Dodge College recently established the Institute for Creative Reality in order to help our students learn about it in a practical way.

In addition to these panels, VR on the Lot had a whole host of others, including Marvel Studios showing off how they are getting into the VR game (and showed a new Doctor Strange trailer!), a technology presentation from Oculus, a case study on the VR used to promote the hit film The Martian, a presentation on how to tell an effective story in virtual reality, and a keynote talk with director Bryan Singer.

“This is the future,” Singer said during his talk. “This is where storytelling is going, where people want to get immersed in these worlds, to feel like they are in them. It’s incredible what we can do now.”

Robert Stromberg, Oscar winner and creative advisor to the VR Society, was also on hand to speak about the future of entertainment.

“By bringing together Hollywood and entertainment industry professionals with the innovative VR artists, storytellers, and technology leaders, we have the opportunity to speed up the exchange of ideas and strategies that will help the industry to deliver quality VR content in significant volume to meet consumer demand,” said Stromberg. He went on to say that he hoped this conference was a jumping off point for many people to kick start their ideas and begin telling stories in virtual reality.

While the two tracks of panels were packed with information, attendees got to experience some virtual reality first hand, with two rooms filled with demonstrations. Ranging from watching a film while lying in a coffin or fighting off fighters during World War I, there was something for everyone who attended.

Overall, VR on the Lot was a fantastic conference, and Dodge College was able to show off how far we have come so far in the virtual reality field. But, the best is yet to come!

Here are some photos from the event:


Speaking of virtual reality, next week,  we are showing The Harvest, the virtual reality horror film made by Dodge College students. Join us on Friday, October 28, from 6pm – 11pm in the Digital Media Arts Center to experience this film for yourself. Trust us, you don’t want to miss what they have in store for you!