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Imagining Tomorrow’s Entertainment

Take a mind trip into the world of Extended Reality and experience for yourself the newest technological developments in storytelling, entertainment, and even sports.
Imagining Tomorrow’s Entertainment is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 4.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking, Entertaining and well produced! This series is a departure from the usual Great Courses fare, which is lecture peppered with some visuals. This course is very much like a video magazine, it is really well produced using awesome visuals, good camerawork/angles, and superior editing to tell the story of the state of the art in this emerging medium. The host/Prof is an evangelist for the potentiality of the technology, he knows his stuff and challenges the "student" to understand the very different perspective of the viewer in these technomedia while making his best call to the creative developer to imagine what can be by visiting the laboratories of some of the brilliant pioneers in the industry. I was blown away by the concepts, delighted by the way Mr. Williams picks the brains of the innovators in the medium and challenged by the questions posed in this series. Williams pulls out of his guests what the main problem with the medium is; that the viewer in the headset is no longer a passive viewer but a 1st person interactor and when a decision is made then the "many worlds" hypothesis kicks in and the filmmaker has to now craft different outcomes for different decisions and that tree branches quickly. But these problems are really just a new way of creating, new challenges for the artist and the creative has to somehow wrestle these new challenges to effectively communicate their artistic vision with an audience. Mr. Williams takes us there and we see the fun and craft of these innovators. My only "criticism" it's only 10 episodes... I'd love to have Mr. Williams do a deep dive into the tech a developer has to use, like what editing and world building software to use, What cameras to use and how to get quality out of them, how to stitch 360 video, how to make buttons and sockets and branching software, configuring controllers and line renderers or hand controllers and tracking etc...but then that's not the purpose of this series which is more of an exploration into what is currently available and imagining what may be possible in the future. Close your eyes...what can you create over that blank slate that you are inside? It is rare a course inspires one to take what one learns to the next level, but Mr. Williams encourages the "student" to do just that. This course is very entertaining, very thought provoking and well worth my time! Thanks!!!!!
Date published: 2024-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Overview I was born in 1946 and wrapping my mind around the technologies presented was difficult, to say the least. This was further hampered by watching the VR/AR/etc., demonstrations on a flat screen. Oh well, we make do with what we have. That being said, I was more than impressed not only with the current and developing technologies which make this possible but by the enthusiasm of Professor Eric Williams. If all educators had his love and passion for their respective fields--and showed it!--education would improve by leaps and bounds. Equally impressive were those who Professor Williams interviewed. They are committed to the genre in which they work, trying to push the boundaries to amaze us. While every lecture was enticing, the one entitled "Rebooting Athletics and Leveling Up," most intrigued me. This was surprising to me--and would be to all who know me--as I dislike sports or any form of athletic competition. But the combination of playing on a virtual field and actually moving one's body in response to obstacles, other players, etc., melding the real with the surreal, struck a responsive chord with me. Go figure! One thing did give me pause, though. In a discussion concerning the future of VR and its interaction with real life, the person being interviewed postulated a time when the clunky VR headset would be replaced by normal-appearing eyeglasses. He enthusiastically envisioned virtual characters approaching and interacting with one while walking down the street and in other public situations. No matter how "cool" that might be in concept, I wonder how "cool" it would be to be so engrossed in talking with that VR character and getting run over by a bus? Or driving and have a dragon pop up before you and you swerve, smashing into another vehicle? People playing with their phones and texting while driving is bad enough! This danger was not addressed and perhaps never entered the mind of the gentleman being interviewed. Maybe I'm an alarmist but to me it's a glaring caveat to taking VR too far. Be that as it may, the course deserves five stars because it definitely accomplishes its mission. It's informative, entertaining and captures our innate sense of wonder at what could be. So, even if you're an old fogie like me, if you have even the slightest interest in, or curiosity about, the world of VR, this course is a great place to start.
Date published: 2023-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tomorrows's Sports, Gaming, and Theater Previewed NOTES Enthusiastic presentation of entertainment media product direction, that includes electronic sports, gaming, and theater. This includes: * Great high-level guide to current terminology and media product directions. * Media access terminology, and demonstrations. * Views on viability, longevity, advantages of each direction. * No internal technology detail. * No education, office, and ChatBot integration are addressed. * No References, Glossary, or web links. The presentations are best viewed in order, as the subject matter builds. Chapter notes: * Chapter 2 on "Esports" is new, but my grandkids and their cousins are engaged. Entrepreneur info and investing opportunities were scantily discussed. * Chapter 3 on "When the Audience Becomes the Director" has a great discussion about the future of "click" choices for film, that means audiences get to choose the direction of the story. The engagement factor problem is realistically discussed. This media form has not worked, and this is bad news for the acting, screenwriter, and director community (who are currently on strike). Great segway to the rest of the chapters. * Chapters 4 and 5 cover the "spherical" CINE VR, headset sensory sight/ sound/ balance/ haptic touch. Immersive space with actors; and digitally manufactured without. * Chapter 6 is AR Augmented Reality, and VR Virtual Reality, great presentation by MetaStage. Confirms Meta and MSFT as major idea and tools providers. * Chapter 7 is AR and the theatre, and various avatar and theatre director creations, and AR toy creations. * Chapter 8 is "CyberDelics", the exploration of media enhancement of experience as a "door to expanded self-perception". The "Delics" part may be initially off-putting, but the take-away is that psychedelics may not be necessary, and much of the product shown is kids museum playrooms implementations. * Chapter 9 is "mixed reality", physically intense participatory sports gaming. Headset in a stadium, with teams as needed. * Chapter 10 contends that new media entertainment needs a new Orson Welles (note, not new Zuckerberg?) as a pioneering genius, for tech integration into sports, gaming, theater, all entertainment. ISSUES and CAVEATS The work by Meta, Microsoft, Google, and other mega players is understated in favor mostly of academic and startup pursuits. I checked the various investible start-up enterprise listings and found very little. The sensory aspects of the presentation include Vision, Sound, Balance, Haptic touch. Taste and smell, and haptic procerioceptors (warmth, cold, wind, pressure) are unheralded. The science fiction story "Holy Driver" in the "AI 2041" collection relates a full body cover, all senses, for use by skilled gaming drivers for remote robotics rescue operations. I really appreciate the "Tomorrow's Entertainment" effort but found the domain limitation constraining. Academic educational and business (Office, ChatBot) integration are important, but not discussed. Also, medical. Not shown are "CyberDelic" therapeutic examples, like for Parkinson's. The various Wondrium Chemistry offerings by Ron Davis are a great start in augmented reality science explanations. Still, the presentation does exactly what it states, and has more than enough interesting material to make it a 5 star.
Date published: 2023-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course! I find this course a great intro to new technology space that's buzzing in every street corner- VR, AR, MR. This professor is very engertic, engaging, practical and very much like a student himself who is learning with us. Next is to check out the recommended reading list including "The End of Storytelling"
Date published: 2023-07-18
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In Imagining Tomorrow's Entertainment, Professor Eric R. Williams will take you on a tour to explore the realm of Extended Reality, where your mission will be to see what is possible and probable in the future of entertainment. In this new world, your playground is global and you can interact and play in real time with anyone on the planet. A new era of media is here. This is your chance to experience it for yourself.


Eric R. Williams

This digital transformation, this entertainment of tomorrow—it’s really just an opportunity for us as human beings to get to know ourselves better.


Ohio University

Eric R. Williams is a Professor of New Media Storytelling and Emerging Technologies at Ohio University, where he oversees the cinematic virtual reality arm of the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab. He has written for American Movie Classics, Universal Studios, and Fox Interactive and has received the Best New Screenplay award from the Writers Guild of America, East. He has also written five books and three podcast series on storytelling in film, television, and new media.

By This Professor

How to View and Appreciate Great Movies
Imagining Tomorrow’s Entertainment
Imagining Tomorrow’s Entertainment


Down the Rabbit Hole of Immersive Storytelling

01: Down the Rabbit Hole of Immersive Storytelling

In entertainment, we have rapidly been moving away from the framed flatness of classical realism in the form of books, paintings, TV, and film. Take your first step into Extended Reality, or XR, the future of storytelling, and learn how this evolving medium will help humans know themselves better.

24 min
The Billion-Dollar Esports Industry

02: The Billion-Dollar Esports Industry

Gone are the days of only playing sports within your immediate circle—now, your playground is the world itself. Find out how esports has evolved over the last decade and see how humans can now play games in real time with anyone on the planet in a growing multi-billion-dollar industry.

22 min
When the Audience Becomes the Director

03: When the Audience Becomes the Director

What if you could choose where the story or character in your favorite show is headed with one click? Find out how the Choose Your Own Adventure game books of childhood have grown up to become an interactive media where you get agency to decide how the story unfolds.

28 min
Cinematic Virtual Reality: Through the Looking Glass

04: Cinematic Virtual Reality: Through the Looking Glass

How do you make interactive entertainment come to life? By using 360-degree cameras and ambisonic microphones to feed your senses, of course. Find out how virtual reality creators are using digital devices and new technology to move stories from screen to sphere, also called cinematic virtual reality or Cine-VR.

27 min
Video Games, VR, and the Space-Time Continuum

05: Video Games, VR, and the Space-Time Continuum

Explore the paradoxical concept of digital physicality in the context of video games where we can exist in two places, simultaneously. This is what the power of virtual reality is: the ability to transport yourself to another world while you’re also in this one.

24 min
Metatools to Build Our Metaverse

06: Metatools to Build Our Metaverse

The concept of a metaverse is on the rise. But what really is it? Join our expert as he explains this new, universal digital world and helps you understand how you can combine it with motion capture technology to connect humans on the planet in an immersive environment.

24 min
Bridging the Physical-Digital Divide with Augmented Reality

07: Bridging the Physical-Digital Divide with Augmented Reality

Is there a way to see the world come alive around you? In fact, this is the essence of AR, or Augmented Reality. Explore how AR is transforming theater and toy design and learn the four ways to create a bridge between our physical and digital worlds.

23 min
Our Digital Doors of Perception

08: Our Digital Doors of Perception

Take a trip—a mind trip that is. You will enter the realm of “cyber-delics,” which mesh computing technology and psychedelics and blur the boundaries between yourself and the world as you open digital doors of perception and enter with your mind, body, and spirit.

22 min
Rebooting Athletics and Leveling Up

09: Rebooting Athletics and Leveling Up

Do you remember the holodeck from the television series Star Trek, where you could transport yourself to a different location and time and even change your physicality? That time is now here. Find out how mixed reality is the future of shared experiences, creating real memories for the people playing video games.

24 min
Blending Realities in Curiouser New Ways

10: Blending Realities in Curiouser New Ways

Wrap up your wild journey of this video series with a combination of many of the technologies already discussed: Augmented Virtuality. Listen to what Ethan Shaftel, the Orson Welles of the 21st century, has to say about immersive media and finding the cinematic emotional experience at the end of it.

30 min