2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010) Royal Wedding (Stanley Donen, 1951) Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977) The Quiet Earth (Geoff Murphy, 1985) All is Lost (J. C. Chandor, 2013) The Boat (Eddie Cline, Buster Keaton, 1921) A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984) The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986) When the Clouds Roll By (Victor Fleming, 1919)
Kung Fury + VHX = 💜
CLOUDS: The first VR interactive documentary to release online, powered by VHX
CLOUDS is about creativity and code — an interactive conversation with 40 different artists, hackers, and thinkers who are revolutionizing art and design on the internet. With over 10 hours of interviews, CLOUDS blurs the line between film and video game, allowing the viewer to choose how the documentary unfolds. Funded on Kickstarter, and featured at Sundance and Tribeca in 2014, this project is itching to be seen by the world.
The challenge? CLOUDS is built with software, making traditional film or web distribution impossible. “We’ve traveled the world showing CLOUDS at film festivals and art exhibitions, but our dream from the beginning has been to allow people to explore it at home,” said CLOUDS co-director James George. So what do hackers do? We worked with James and the CLOUDS team to hack the VHX platform itself: using the VHX API, CLOUDS can stream volumetric 3D scanned videos from the web, while still delivering great interactive graphics.
This is a huge first for digital releases! We’re excited to partner with CLOUDS, because we really believe in the power of technology to transform storytelling. (Our founders Jamie and Casey started VHX after working on Star Wars Uncut together, so our interactive roots run deep.) This is a project that is pushing the boundaries of filmmaking, and we are so happy to help them distribute it in a way that works and can reach people worldwide.
Max Headroom was ostensibly a computer-generated character, but Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel knew early on that the technology wasn’t there to make that happen. The solution was to place actor Matt Frewer in prosthetic make-up with special contact lenses and a fiberglass suit, light him with a single light source that mimicked the primitive computer graphics of the time, and then shoot him against a blue screen so backgrounds could be added later.
Streaming video services are more popular than ever, but it’s incredibly expensive and difficult to launch one. It’s easy to forget that it’s taken Netflix almost 20 years to get to where they are today.
In everything we do, we’re working to make it easier for people to build businesses selling video directly to their fans. Over the last three years we’ve helped thousands of filmmakers, studios, and distributors sell their work from their own websites, from a $5 comedy special, to a $10 feature film, to $40 for every episode in a series, and everything in between. We’ve heard the requests for tools to charge customers every month — especially from people selling webisodes, TV shows, catalogs, and classes. So today, we’re launching VHX Subscriptions. Now, anyone can launch their own streaming video service at no upfront cost, and charge fans monthly or annually for unlimited access to their videos. Upload your work, set a price, and start selling instantly, all from your own website — powered by the world-class watching experience and customer support we’re known for.
Like the rest of our platform, this feature is open to anyone, you get full access to your customer data, and it’s free to get started. We can’t wait to see what the video-making world does with it. Check out our demo site, or see it in the wild with Black&Sexy NOW. And, don’t hesitate to email us or tweet @vhxtv with questions!
Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Broadway Video join as new investors in our Series B
We’re excited to welcome BDMI (Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments) and Broadway Video (founded by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels) as new investors in VHX, joining Comcast Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Lowercase Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and others.
We’ve amended our recent Series B financing round from $4.25 million to a total raise of $5.8 million. The new funds will be dedicated to growing the VHX team and furthering our mission of helping video publishers build sustainable businesses online.
That means we’re hiring! Our New-York based team is passionate about building world-class video technology and creating the best tools to help video-makers succeed as creative entrepreneurs. Want to join the VHX team? Learn more here.
Sonic Highways releases worldwide + so much bonus content
Sonic Highways continues the journey that Dave Grohl started with acclaimed documentary Sound City. The series is a love letter to the amazing music scenes of eight American cities, told through intimate interviews with legendary musicians and all-around important music people. (Oh, and President Obama.) It’s part history lesson, part Foo Fighters concert, part reminder of how music communities develop their own rad sounds.
Sonic Highways originally aired on HBO, but now anyone can download and stream the whole series, directly from the band’s website, powered by VHX. There are even more extras when you buy the full series package: extended interviews, 5.1 audio versions, and 2 hours of brand new behind-the-scenes footage. It’s a lot of rock. Watch it here.
Today we’re launching a new feature: Social Gifting. When you buy a video with social gifting enabled, you get your copy plus three free rentals to pass on to other people. People who receive a free gift are encouraged to buy a copy so they can share with 3 more friends. It’s all the modern magic of watching your favorite stuff on the Internet, meets the good old days (c. 2005) when you could loan your favorite movies to your friends.
Traditionally, retailers of digital content have gone to great lengths to make their products hard to share. We’re doing the opposite. Why? Because watching movies is a social experience. Being able to share something you love with your friends makes fans happy and helps grow the audience for your work. That’s a win-win.
“Account sharing is a pervasive phenomenon,” says VHX CEO Jamie Wilkinson. “The solution is not to block sharing, because sharers are people who are using your product and falling in love with it. The solution is to build sharing into your product.”
This is our way to bring sharing out of the world of physical goods and into the digital era. Check out Kickstarter-legendary doc series The Double Fine Adventure, indie drama The Ever After, and Japanese animated nun-wrestler love story Kick-Heart to see it live in action.
VHX publishers, you can turn on social gifting in just a click! Visit our Forums for suggestions on how to make it work with your fans.