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AMD and AP partner up to produce cutting-edge VR content

Seeking Home: Life inside the Calais Migrant Camp 360 Video
Semiconductor company AMD has announced a partnership that will help the Associated Press make its virtual reality coverage a reality.

The collaboration mixes the technical capabilities of AMD with the reporting experience of The Associated Press. While the content produced by this partnership will be available to people on a variety of devices — not just those with AMD hardware — the chip maker’s expertise will assist AP on the backend. AP filmmakers will be working on AMD hardware platforms to develop the content, and have access to AMD engineers to assist with any complications that might arise as they explore the still unfamiliar format of virtual reality.

Sasa Marinkovic, the global head of VR marketing at AMD, believes the results will give viewers a unique new way to interact with content. “This gives developers the ability to tell the story in an entirely new way,” he said, “where the person can pause, forward, rewind, and see history from different vantage points.”

Paul Cheung, director of interactive and digital news production with the Associated Press, echoed the sentiment, saying “we want to advance virtual reality journalism, and bring it to life.” He went on to clarify the partnership is not about promoting AMD platforms exclusively. In fact, AP wants users to “interact with the content with, or without, a headset, both passively and actively.”

Put simply, the results of the collaboration will not be virtual reality exclusive. Instead they will be 360-degree videos, which in theory can be viewed on any device — though a virtual reality headset will provide the best experience.

The AP has prepared six pieces of content for launch on its new virtual reality Web channel, and promises more will be added, though there’s no specific timetable for release. Some of the content was previously available through other AP portals. Seeking Home, a 360-degree video report of life inside a camp of migrants hoping to make a trip across the English Channel to the United Kingdom, was previously published on YouTube.

AP says the web channel will feature content that spans a variety of format. Some will be available through the site directly, others will be available to stream on services like YouTube, and others still will require an app.

This announcement joins a wide variety of publications seeking to enter virtual reality. CNN has covered multiple presidential primary debates in VR, YouTube has an entire channel of 360 videos that support VR viewing, and even pornography is becoming part of the revolution. At this point it’s hard to say which of these efforts will win, and which will lose — but finding out should be a trip.

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