This wasn’t what I was expecting but it’s pretty genius.
Back in September, Will Smith of Tested, announced he would be leaving the technology publication to start his own virtual reality company. With his role as editor-in-chief and co-founder of Tested behind him, we were all very eager and excited to learn what path Smith’s VR startup would take.
In a coincidentally timed post on April Fool’s Day, Smith revealed exactly what he had been up to all these months – a talk show filmed entirely in VR called The Foo Show. “My goal with The FOO Show is to showcase amazing creators and their works in ways that were never before possible, using virtual reality,” he shares on Medium.
The question for Smith was whether or not it was possible to make the shows he was familiar with at Tested, but in virtual reality. This burning question is what inspired Smith to launch the interactive VR Foo Show.
The first episode is currently available in early access on Oculus Home (SteamVR coming soon), and features the developers behind Firewatch, Jake and Sean from Campo Santo. You can watch a preview below where Smith hangs out in a virtual set as he interacts with objects and chats with his guests.
Regular production of The Foo Show will begin early this summer and will be released as a weekly VR show. That is no small feat. But the company behind the show, Foo VR, is focused on using off-the-shelf hardware like the HTC Vive and familiar production tools to streamline the process as much as possible.
“We build everything we need for an episode in advance —scripts, assets, props, sets and more — then load our performers into a completed virtual environment,” Smith explains. “During the interview, we capture the performance — everyone’s body movements and audio. After a few hours of post-processing, we have a 3D-rendered, interactive virtual-reality show that we can broadcast to our audience, using The FOO Show app on Oculus Home (and soon SteamVR).”
A few hours of post-processing and voilà, some kung-FOO magic is made.
We have experimented with 360° hosted shows in the past, but there is something to walking around and interacting in VR like that on The Foo Show that is extremely compelling and gives us a taste of what the future of VR entertainment will look like.
Video Credit: GameHard 4.0