The Virtual Reality Los Angeles (VRLA) Summer Expo is less than two weeks away, and given two major recent announcements, it's safe to say this is going to be their biggest event yet.
Reggie Watts will give Saturday's keynote presentation.
Watts is known across the world as a genre-bending innovator and artist; he's the living embodiment of the amazing new possibilities of virtual reality.
"Reggie Watts will bring his creative talent and enthusiasm for interactive technology to our stage," said Scharf. "His passion for the medium goes to show how exciting VR is to the creative community, and how the medium can be stretched by a forward-thinking creator. He has emerged as a figurehead in the immersive entertainment movement through collaborations with Wevr and Altspace, as well as his role in the film Creative Control, a sci-fi/comedy about a new kind of AR glasses. He also produces a supremely funny and unique style of music."
And the groovin' doesn't end with Watts. VRLA is presenting a first-of-its-kind dance event: A VR Rave.
"We'll also debut the world's first VR Rave, presented by Skullcandy, the Official Audio Partner of VRLA Summer Expo," said Scharf. "In collaboration with The Wave, Phasespace, SubPac, 3D Live, and WeLens, attendees will be able to experience DJs mixing live music inside VR."
How exactly does a VR Rave work?
"The VR Rave will let you experience DJs mixing live music inside VR," said Scharf. "We partnered with Skullcandy to produce this one-of-a-kind event. A lineup of artists will use an app called The Wave to make music in VR with the HTC Vive, which also generates colorful psychedelic visualizations. You'll be able to see the artists perform and walk around a large space in VR through Gear VRs tracked by Phasespace cameras. You'll also wear Skullcandy Crusher headphones and Subpac backpacks so you can feel the bass vibrations of the music. We'll have a massive 3D LED wall behind the DJs so that spectators can see visuals from The Wave. No one has ever tried to do something like this before and it's going to be a lot of fun!"
It's fitting that the first panel to follow Friday's Keynote is called, "Is the Industry Ready for the Future of VR?" With such a rapidly blossoming community in what is emerging as the VR capital of the world, VRLA is uniquely positioned to address the leap that VR is about to make into mainstream culture. But as the group and expo has expanded, Scharf has persisted in his effort to keep the conference affordable to foster growth and encourage enthusiasm among all facets of the community, from developers to the totally uninitiated.
"Most other events/conferences cost hundreds of dollars to attend, limiting attendance to developers and die-hards," said Scharf. "For VR to succeed there has to be a place for everyone to test-drive it, and with Los Angeles at the nexus of the entertainment industry and the burgeoning VR content rush, VRLA is a great place to bring those things together."
As an industry-forward event, there will be plenty of opportunities to network and demo cutting-edge technologies.
"We're hosting over 100 VR exhibitors, including companies like HTC, Skullcandy, Google, Dolby, Envelop VR, MSI, Technicolor, Boost VC, Otoy, and Nokia," said Scharf. "And we'll go beyond what people can experience at home with large-scale simulators and motion experiences."
To that end, Reggie Watts won't be the only industry leader to share his unique insight in a VRLA keynote. AMD's Roy Taylor will pull from his extensive background in technology to address how we approach VR content development in the coming years.
"Roy Taylor has his finger on the pulse of the latest developments in VR and Hollywood," said Scharf. "His role at AMD gives him an unprecedented view into the future of VR and graphics technology. There is no greater evangelist for the medium."
Los Angeles has emerged as arguably the most important city in the world for virtual reality development, and VRLA is a major part of the city's voice.
"Los Angeles is home to some of the most creative people in the world," said Scarf. "The city has has embraced this medium like no other; from major motion picture studios, to health and data scientists, to Silicon Valley 'expats.' The excitement here is palpable and unprecedented."
Tickets start at $40. For a glimpse of the conference, check out the recap from their Winter Expo: