Disney bets on Nokia for virtual reality future

Nokia: the Ozo camera is, the brand claims, the first VR camera for professionals
Nokia: the Ozo camera is, the brand claims, the first VR camera for professionals

Disney has signed its first virtual reality partnership, handing Nokia's Ozo virtual reality camera to marketers and filmmakers across its brands.

The partnership not only sees Nokia provide Disney with the Ozo hardware and associated software, but also advise on the kind of VR content Disney produces.

The Ozo launched earlier this year and is billed as the first virtual reality camera for professional filmmakers, capable of shooting 360-degree video.

The two have already partnered to promote Disney’s The Jungle Book in virtual reality, live streaming the red carpet premiere and cast interviews to Facebook. Each video generated 1m views on Facebook, according to Boon Lai, CMO for Nokia Technology.

He described the partnership as "comprehensive", and told Marketing that Nokia was involved with Disney’s future marketing plans to come up with VR ideas for upcoming films.

"For upcoming projects, we’re very much integrated not just in terms of content production and creation, but in the marketing of those virtual reality stories as well," he said.

Disney will primarily use virtual reality content as a marketing and promotional tool.

Jamie Voris, chief technology officer of Disney Studios, said: "We aim to bring extraordinary experiences to audiences around the world, and specially-created VR content is one more way we can transport people even further into the worlds our filmmakers create."

Entertainment brands are warming up to virtual reality, with Aardman partnering with Google last year on a short film in 360-degree video. The animators are increasingly exploring the different techniques required to bring virtual reality and 360-degree stories to life for the viewer, and are working with the BBC on using VR in news.

YouTube is also making the case to become the virtual reality distribution platform of choice, recently launching livestreaming for 360-degree video.

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