GREENFISH LABS & LEBANON VALLEY COLLEGE TO JOIN FORCES IN VR WORLD
Greenfish Labs, Inc., a multimedia company that specializes in virtual reality content development, has signed a contract with Lebanon Valley College to develop cutting-edge course content for the school’s Digital Communications Program.
Beginning with the spring 2016 semester, LVC students in digital communications will work with Greenfish employees on projects intended to hone their skills to become more marketable at graduation.
Virtual Reality (VR) artificially creates a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way.
Using Oculus headsets originally designed for video gamers, Greenfish creates virtual reality content for a myriad of applications, ranging from medical training and real estate to travel and tourism. There really is no limit to the kind of content Greenfish can create. Thus, the partnership with LVC will enable students to be truly innovative.
“We plan to help Lebanon Valley College students get a leg up on the competition by giving them access to virtual reality technology and equipment,” said Sovanna Mam, one of the founders of Greenfish Labs.
“I am not aware of any other colleges our size doing this,” said Dr. Jeff Ritchie, chair and associate professor of digital communications. “By partnering with Greenfish, we give students an opportunity to experience real-world applications in the classroom. We think that experience is incredible.”
Approximately 80 students who are enrolled in digital communications classes at LVC will have access to Greenfish’s hardware and virtual reality cameras. Below is a 360 video that captured Lebanon Valley College’s football team in action, using Greenfish Labs’ own custom 360 video camera!
Greenfish Labs – A Tech & Multimedia That Specializes In VR
Greenfish Labs is a technology and multimedia company specializing in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) marketing solutions, content creation, software and application development.
The company offers custom creative VR and AR solutions designed to meet specific needs of clients in the automotive, real estate, government, education, medical, tourism, sports and entertainment sectors by breaking down the 4th wall and redefining reality. Greenfish Labs is a Pennsylvania corporation headquartered in Lancaster, PA. Visit us at www.greenfishlabs.com
About Lebanon Valley College
Lebanon Valley College is a private, coeducational college founded in 1866 and dedicated to the liberal arts. The College offers 36 undergraduate majors plus self-designed majors and a range of minors, concentrations, and pre-professional options, as well as graduate degree programs in athletic training, business administration, music education, physical therapy, and science education.
The College has 1,573 full-time undergraduate students and 106 full-time faculty. Students can choose from more than 90 clubs and organizations, and 12 study abroad programs. LVC awards generous academic scholarships to those whose high school records demonstrate a commitment to challenge and achievement. www.lvc.edu
Interview With Jeff Ritchie, Chair and Associate Professor of Digital Communications
VRR: Is there a specific requirement for Lebanon Valley College students to enroll in the virtual reality program? Are there novice, intermediate and advance levels of VR programs?
Jeff: The digital communications department at Lebanon Valley College didn’t set up a virtual reality program, but rather a class on emerging media and disruptive technologies that will focus on virtual reality. We will require students to have experience in programming, databases and basic storytelling/multimedia.
VRR: What kind of VR Courses or Programs are offered by Greenfish Labs? What are the price of the tuition?
Jeff: While Greenfish is not offering any courses, the course in which we’re collaborating (DCOM 490 Emerging Media and Disruptive Technologies) is a course offered by the digital communications department and taught by tenured faculty at Lebanon Valley College.
The digital communications department is partnering with Greenfish Labs, who will provide expertise in- and guidance regarding – hardware and software, VR best practices and optimal workflows. The LVC faculty and Greenfish labs will work together to have students learn about this technology. We envision the class as more of a lab environment, in which students can create projects that test capabilities or practices.
VRR: What is the expected number of students per year for the VR program?
Jeff: We expect to cap enrollment in the Class at 24.
VRR: VR as a market and industry is at a very early stage, how does Lebanon Valley College plan to promote the VR program, attracting students to dedicate one or more semesters’ efforts to learn about a new technology and industry?
Jeff: Reaching out to VR friendly venues is one way….
VRR: What are the visions of the educators at Lebanon Valley College regarding the VR program and the collaboration with Greenfish Labs?
Jeff: Going forward, we are looking to create more strategic partnerships with emerging media start ups like Greenfish. We’ve attempted to fold emerging media into our curriculum where appropriate. For instance, we’re currently working out the details of how best to incorporate basic Internet of things into our capstone sequence.
VRR: Are there any other key partners from VR industry?
Jeff: The digital communications department does not have any other key partners at this time.
VRR: What kind of entrepreneurship / incubation initiatives will be offered to the students upon completion of the VR programs?
Jeff: We’ve worked on creating a culture of entrepreneurship in our major, where we provide incentives and structure course sequences and assignments to ease our students bringing their projects or businesses to market. We are also in the preliminary stages of creating a center for innovation and entrepreneurship that would further aid our students’ entrepreneurial endeavors.
VRR: What is the approximate cost of investment to set-up the VR classes, as in terms of equipment, instructors and so forth?
Jeff: The initial plan had been for the students to build our own VR camera and microphone rigs in the department’s makerlab. Greenfish has generously offered to help us with hardware.
Chair and Associate Professor of Digital Communications
Lebanon Valley College
Annville, PA 17003
President, International Digital Media and Arts Association www.idmaa.org
Interview With Greenfish Labs Team
VRR: What roles does Greenfish Labs have in the VR program? Providing equipment, mentorship and instructions?
Greenfish: We will be providing the college with access to our people and our equipment. We will help guide the college as they develop this program so that the students and even the staff can walk away with a firm understanding of how this media works, and most importantly, how it can be used in every day applications.
VRR: Who are Greenfish Labs key partners in the VR industry?
Greenfish: Right now we have partnered with AT&T and Akamai, a content delivery network company, to develop our VR Live Stream capabilities. We are also working with a Washington DC based VR software development company to help develop and create VR applications and programs that has practical applications for the government and scientific communities.
VRR: What other VR project or program is Greenfish Labs currently working on? Or in the near future?
Greenfish: We have a long list of companies that we are in discussions with and/or in pilot mode. VR is something that many companies and institutions are very excited to be a part of, but up until this year, most of them did not even think about it, let alone budget for it. So, we are in that honeymoon period with a lot of companies, and are prepping for the onslaught of work that is going to hit us at the start of 2016.
We did recently finish a 360° VR experience for Tree 4 Hope. We worked with the non-profit and Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan, wife of famed film director M. Night Shyamalan, to create a unique immersive experience about the plight of girls in rural poverty-stricken Guatemala. It is currently being used as a fundraising tool for them.
VRR: How will Lebanon Valley College’s VR program help students land a job in VR industry?
Greenfish: It will give them a great understanding and working experience with the practical applications of VR, that goes beyond simply playing a video game in VR. The students will be at the early stages of helping develop the language that goes into producing and viewing VR.
VRR: Hardware focus, what kind of equipment will be provided to the students?
Greenfish: Besides having access to our creative and technical intellectual capital, the students will also have access to our basic 360° camera and audio rigs, and the stitching software that puts it all together.
VRR: We noticed Greenfish Labs had custom-built a 360 camera, can you tell us more? Have you been building other VR hardware equipment?
Greenfish: The “Tarantula” is our very first camera rig that we developed to shoot 360° stereoscopic (3D) media. It is an early prototype that is now being morphed into another VR hardware that our Labs team is developing. The new 360° model will be smaller and have the capabilities to record broadcast quality and higher (4K) in 360° that can be used for cinematic productions as well as VR 360 Live Streaming.
VRR: What other VR services does Greenfish Labs offer?
Greenfish: Greenfish Labs specializes in 360 Live Streaming and Media Production. We also develop VR Application, and work with companies and institutions with VR Marketing Solutions.
VRR: Where and what do you see VR and AR in the next 1-5 years?
Greenfish: I see VR exploding onto the scene well beyond the initial gaming applications. As the head mounted displays (HMDs) improve in quality and look, and people start experiencing quality VR and AR, they will see the many applications that can be tied into their world or business. VR is here to stay. It’s an exciting time to be a part of something that is about to take off.