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I have always been a Holmes fan, and Sherlock is the best there has ever been. So here are two offerings from this weekends Comic Con event, the new trailer, and the related gathering from Nerd HQ 2016 which benefited Operation Smile this year. The sessions of this project are referred to as A Conversation For A Cause, and it is exactly that. The format is a small intimate room at the San Diego New Children’s Museum, which seats a limited number of people, all of whom pay a noticeable (but not exorbitant) amount of money to attend. A small group of major players of some cult favorite show gather on stage, with another cult favorite actor from an unrelated property as the moderator. The folks on stage have a chat about the program they are involved in, then the moderator invites questions from the audience.

As near as I have been able to tell, 100% of the money raised by this series of events goes to the charity. The audience gets to have the kind of one-on-one experience with the show makers that used to be common several decades ago, when only us nerds and geeks even knew this kind of convention was happening, but which seems to have evaporated around the turn of the century. The participating actors, writers, and directors of these shows all get to contribute their time (and money; lots of them also make a contribution beyond their mere attendance), connect even more personally with their most loyal fans, and by doing so generate an impressive amount of revenue for the charity. As a person who was a member of the group who created the original Beg-A-Thon which was then used as the model all PBS radio and TV stations put into play to raise public awareness and money (crowdfunding decades before most people became aware that it was an option), I don’t see a downside to this project. The fact that they then make these sessions available to the general public (with or without editing, it could go either way but what I see makes me think without) is just yet another bonus as far as all us fans are concerned. Enjoy!

There will be 85 hours of VR programming coming out of the Olympics watchable by way of the NBC Sports app. Sadly the plan is to make this only available to Samsung Galaxy smartphones compatible with Gear VR, and that only after logging in with their pay TV provider. I fully understand and agree with the need to authenticate viewers before allowing them access to their premium content; they are paying an awful lot of money to get the exclusive distribution rights, after all. But there are a lot of us VR junkies running everything from Google Cardboard with an iPhone or non-Samsung android phone, on up to the Oculus Rift crowd driving their $500 VR headsets with their $1,500 computers with the massive graphics cards, who could be watching this programming if they would allow us a paid authentication path into it as well.

Still, this is the very first time any VR access to the Olympics has ever been available, and the second major sporting event to be hosted in this format this year (the first being the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which came with a Google Cardboard viewer you could fold up and use with your smartphone to view the photo shoots in VR). There is a good chance their app builders have only been able to make it work on the Samsung version of Android so far, limiting it to the Gear. I certainly can’t imagine they don’t want to sell the programing to every one they could, although if they didn’t develop the VR app themselves they may be at the mercy of the contracts signed by the folks who did create it. So I for one will be keeping my fingers crossed that they manage to deploy it to the iPhone iOS and other Android builds in time for the rest of us to sign up for it and enjoy it during the Olympics. Although we wont be able to see it live; there is a bit of a delay in editing and processing the stereo 360 degree SuperHD 8K video into a formatted stream that can be fed to the app, and yes, that is a 4K movie theater resolution video stream for each eye. And even if they don’t have a way to deliver it to anything but a Gear for the Olympics themselves, once they have it recorded the rest of us can enjoy it down the road when they do get the app working for all the other platforms. Thanks to VR Scout for the heads up on this one.

SIGGRAPH 2016 is coming up on July 24th through the 28th in Anaheim, California this year, and one of mt favorite tracks is their Computer Animation Festival, so I had to post the trailer for it. The name is from their original newsgroup identifier from the Internet’s early days, Special Interest Group, GRAPHics. This gathering is the 43rd international conference and exhibition on
Computer Graphics & Interactive Techniques, in case you were wondering how long ago those early days were, and they didn’t hold these every year during the first decade. How important this event is to the creators of these excellent animations can be explained by saying it has been their version of the Academy Awards since the late 70s. How important it is to the rest of us is best expressed by this quote from their web site:

The Computer Animation Festival is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival. Since 1999, several works originally presented in the Computer Animation Festival have been nominated for or have received a Best Animated Short Academy Award.

It is not too late to make this year’s gathering; the deadline for registering and getting the discounted registration fees is July 1st. Entering your creations to the event is already over, though, but there is always next year!

The Anisong World Matsuri takes place July 2nd and 3rd as part of Anime Expo, pretty much North America’s most intense Anime Con. The musical line up is amazing, with 9 artists including:

Eir Aoi (Fate/Zero, Sword Art Online, Kill la Kill, more)
Flow (Naruto, Eureka seveN, more)
JAM Project (MACROSS 7, One Piece, Yu-Gi-Oh!, over 100 more)
Luna Haruna (Sword Art Online I and II, Monogatari, more)
Minami (Haruka Suzumiya, Infinite Stratos, Mobile Suit Gundam Age, more)
Sphere (Demon King Daimao, Class of Heroes 2, more)
T.M.Revolution (Rurouni Kenshin, Bleach, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, more)
Yoko Ishida (Ah! My Goddess, Sailor Moon R, Strike Witches, more)