Animation studio Reel FX has created a new division dedicated to virtual-reality (VR) content. Reel FX VR, headed up by Reel FX founder and ECD Dale Carman, General Manager Keith McCabe, and Executive Producer Gary Banks, will take on client work for Hollywood studios and ad agencies as well as internal projects supporting Reel FX's film work, including the October release of The Book of Life.
Reel FX said it gained expertise in VR this year as it worked on a project for Chuck E. Cheese's and projects related to Legendary Pictures' Pacific Rim and The Book of Life for ComicCon in San Diego and IFA in Berlin. The move also coincides with the recenly announced Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, a mobile VR headset built around Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 phone and the new Oculus Mobile SDK that debuted at IFA.
"I knew the moment I encountered Oculus on Kickstarter that it was magic," said Carman in a prepared statement. "Creating those experiences for clients like Legendary and our own films and working closely with Samsung and Oculus has been a great journey so far, and we are excited about the future."
Mobile versions of the Oculus platform will have some limitations compared to the PC-based Oculus RIft, but they will also have one key advantage — since they rely solely on processing power inside the telephone handset, which also functions as the display screen for the headset, they do not need to be tethered to a computer system, increasing the user's freedom of movement. The Gear VR is expected to become available this fall in what Oculus calls "an early-access, beta version of the device for developers and enthusasts rather than a final consumer product." The Oculus Rift is also available now as a $350 "development kit" in advance of a full consumer release to come after more development takes place.
Interested in VR? If you're going to be anywhere near Dallas, you may want to visit Reel FX in person. The company is inviting industry professionals to visit the Dallas studio and check out the technology in person. Contact Dan Ferguson or Tina Ghezzi via email to make an appointment.