It’s a first: a live-streaming, immersive, augmented reality/virtual reality concert experience that transforms a top EDM DJ into a digital cyborg, adds a game-like storyline that can be viewed in 3D as well as through VR headsets for full sensory immersion, and delivers the whole event in 360° video on your VR-enabled computer or smartphone. VRtuality’s EDMx (Electronic Dance Music eXperiential) premieres Saturday, Nov. 28, at the 16th anniversary of Avalon Hollywood’s After-Hour Power with DJ Steve Castro on the decks.
“Live concerts can be great, but they don’t take advantage of either virtual or augmented reality technology that can kick up the entertainment value, and they can’t be adequately captured for home viewing or replay with conventional streaming technology that provides only a static view,” said VRtuality Founder and CEO Joseph A. Zaki, a VR expert and visual effects veteran whose work includes four Oscar-winning films.
“Our technology solves all these problems, adding a new level of thrill for people in the venue as well as those watching remotely. It’s a whole new kind of entertainment.”
VRtuality’s EDMx events combine custom game engine technology, spherical video capture, ambisonic audio, computational photography and creative storytelling with a proprietary motion capture system deployed in a body suit worn by the DJ. Sensors in the motion capture suit control music mixing and production, holograms, smoke, lights and DJs’ avatar based on the DJ’s own choreographed movements.
The result is the digital-age version of a three-ring circus with multiple activities occurring simultaneously both at the venue and in the video stream: the DJ mixing the music, his or her avatar seen on a giant LED screen (eventually in stereoscopic 3D views with the help of disposable 3D glasses), and a complete on-screen virtual world and original storyline for the DJ/avatar at each event. VR headsets available in the venue add a full immersive environment, letting attendees enter and move through the virtual world simply by turning their heads and using a gamepad.
The same technology will be used for other applications in the future, creating new virtual and augmented reality experiences that feed the imaginations of consumers eager to explore new tech frontiers while also providing fresh uses for today’s VR headsets.
The November 28 event at the Avalon will mark the unveiling of the technology at the epicenter of LA’s EDM scene as well as the 16th anniversary of Castro’s weekly After Hour Power – now the leading after-hours brand on the West Coast. The EDMx premiere at the Avalon, 1735 Vine St., Los Angeles, will carry a $40 cover and also be streamed live at www.EDMX.live. A limited number of tickets are also available at drewstickets.com.
Kicking off at 1 am with Castro taking the stage at 2 am, the production will include a new song that will be performed live, recorded and mixed into the set as part of the Castro-as-cyborg storyline. VR headsets will be available in the balcony for clubbers who want to be transported into the simulated intergalactic world of Castro’s avatar.
Other DJs are scheduled for future EDMx events, beginning in February. That will be followed by four three-month DJ residencies at different locations over the next year, along with new features that are currently under wraps.
All EDMx events are sponsored by dance music photojournalist Michael Tullberg, whose book Dancefloor Thunderstorm: Land Of The Free, Home Of The Rave documents the rave scene and who will also be chronicling the EDMx experience. DodoCase VR will provide EDMx-branded VR goggles at each event and also sell them online. Streaming services are provided by VRLIVE, which will also host an EDMx channel and is creating an EDMx mobile app.
Access to the VR/360º live-stream of the event is free, and can be accessed via the VRLIVE website or mobile app, or through the lobby of the virtual reality program JanusVR, a collaborative virtual reality internet browser that supports the Oculus Rift DK1, DK2 and HTC Vive.
Five percent of the net proceeds for all EDMx events will be donated to Beit T’Shuvah, a nonprofit, faith-based recovery center that focuses on the spiritual healing of addiction and runs a residential treatment center as well as a full-service religious congregation.