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Three Lucasfilm Alums Join Jaunt as It Launches Virtual Reality Movie Studio in Los Angeles

"We want to work with existing filmmakers and show them this is a different way of storytelling."

Jaunt VR

With a virtual reality headset, you can watch movies that let you look in any direction.

Now Jaunt, one of the early companies to plant a flag in “cinematic VR,” wants to guide what the first wave of those movies looks like. It announced today that former Lucasfilm CTO Cliff Plumer is leading an original content studio for the company in Los Angeles, while two other Lucasfilm veterans — David Anderman and Miles Perkins — are joining its Palo Alto office as chief business officer and VP of corporate communications, respectively.

The new studio will partner with media companies, film studios and brands in Hollywood to develop live-action videos with Jaunt’s 360-degree camera and rendering technology, similar to the Paul McCartney concert clip the company released last year.

“This is still new ground,” Plumer said in an interview with Re/code. “There’s things we’re leveraging from how we’ve created movies in the past, but we want to work with existing filmmakers and show them this is a different way of storytelling.”

At first, the videos will likely be short-form, experimental and created with the hands-on involvement of Plumer’s team, which he hopes will encompass “a few dozen people” in the coming months. But the goal, in addition to making content, is to figure out answers to lingering questions about what works in VR for a mass audience, as several headsets are headed to consumers in the next year.

“I get this question a lot: ‘How long are people willing to wear these goggles?'” Plumer said. “It depends on the content and the story. If it’s a compelling story, they won’t even notice they’re wearing the goggles.”

In time, the studio plans to get those filmmakers using Jaunt’s camera and video rendering software independently.

Jaunt CEO Jens Christensen said the company expects VR movies playing on smartphones to be popular, via headsets like Google Cardboard or the Samsung Gear VR. He theorized that one potent use case of the technology might be delivering 360-degree live video events or news to those mobile consumers.

“The technology has gotten far along enough to produce content quickly, within hours,” Christensen said. Currently, he added, it takes about 10 minutes to render a minute of 360-degree video, but that ratio is expected to contract over time.

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