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Lights, Camera, Holograms! Oculus and the Historic Los Angeles Theatre Surprise Audience With Live Immersive Experience



Tonight in downtown Los Angeles, moviegoers at a ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ screening got more Vader than they’d expected. At a popular film event series co-hosted by Cinespia, the historic Los Angeles Theatre debuted an immersive way for people to experience what it might be like to step into virtual reality. The one-of-a-kind experience featured characters and scenes from popular VR titles Beat SaberMossEcho Arena, and Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series. The presentation, made in collaboration with Oculus, was a surprise treat for attendees and made use of new technologies and techniques designed to immerse a live theater audience and get a taste of what VR feels like.

The thing about VR is that it’s hard to describe to anyone who’s never tried it. The cocktail of 3D visuals and sound, plus haptic feedback and social presence, all merge to create larger-than-life moments that defy easy description. Oculus and Cinespia created this immersive experience with a four-minute presentation that showcased popular VR experiences, including Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series. The experience was made possible with a combination of lasers, projectors, and practical effects to create an immersive demonstration for a live audience.

The presentation kicked off with a 2D video of Beat Saber, a wildly popular rhythm game. The footage went dark but then resumed as a whirlwind of 3D movement and sound that transported everyone in the room to a virtual playground. Moss, a popular adventure game, then took the audience through a forest temple of magic and mayhem, ending in a faceoff between a slithering snake and Quill, the game’s heroic mouse. The crowd was then zapped to deep space for a look at Echo Arena, a zero-gravity sports game, where the auditorium transformed into an orbital space station, and people got to see 3D characters engaged in combat.

And finally, 42 years after Star Wars: A New Hope first amazed audiences, fans were treated to a holographic projection of the dark lord himself, Darth Vader. He appeared in front of the crowd and brought down the house—almost literally—through the power of the Force and special effects wizardry; theater walls crumbled, lava gushed through the cracks, and the crowd went wild. Audiences were then invited to continue the experience after the movie with on-location demos of Vader Immortal on Oculus Quest.

To create this experience, Oculus worked closely with VTProDesign, a team of engineers, programmers, and designers to conceptualize and build the demonstration. The process started with a picture-perfect 3D scan of the building. This allowed the team to create a 16K x 8K resolution spherical map powered by 22 high-powered projectors. And that’s just the start. The team then employed an arsenal of lasers—16 in all—to map the venue space in greater detail and create volumetric beam and aerial effects. The crew even designed a set of custom lasers to project into the crowd itself.

Beat Saber

To give the illusion of 3D objects floating around the stage, the engineers had to build a custom hologram mesh screen. They didn’t stop there, though; to enhance the holographic effects, they placed a jumbo LED video screen 25 feet behind the scrim to produce a parallax effect. As a final touch, the team cooked up a suite of practical effects to merge with and amplify the digital ones, like fog rolling in to bolster projections and confetti to simulate in-game particle effects. The show wasn’t just a visual spectacle, either; the team built a custom sound solution using 22 channels of audio and custom tracks to boost the production even further.

After the movie, guests had the opportunity to explore the Los Angeles Theatre, a renowned movie palace rarely open to the public, with full bars and concessions, and a DJ dance party in the ballroom. Fans were even encouraged to dress up for Cinespia’s custom photo booth to take the experience home with them.

Moss projection

Echo arena

The post Lights, Camera, Holograms! Oculus and the Historic Los Angeles Theatre Surprise Audience With Live Immersive Experience appeared first on About Facebook.

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Best Practices for Designing Great Messaging Experiences on Messenger



We recently reminded our community of the upcoming policy changes to the Messenger platform that will go into effect on March 4, 2020. These policy changes were designed to improve the messaging experience between people and businesses by driving timely and personally relevant conversations — prioritizing conversations started by people and related follow-up communications.

To help businesses best adapt to these new policy changes, here are some tips on the best practices to adopt when designing messenger experiences:

1. Respond quickly and set customer expectations on response times

People expect businesses to respond quickly and provide timely updates. We have found a strong correlation between responsiveness and successful business outcomes.>

2. Make it short and sweet

Make sure to communicate your key points succinctly and early on in your message. This aligns with people’s expectations for messaging as a channel and increases readability. Messages that are short and to the point can also be read clearly in message previews.

3. Leverage Messenger features to send high value messages outside the 24 hour standard messaging window

Successful businesses know the options available to send messages outside the standard messaging window and use them effectively.

  • Message tags – use tags to send personal, timely and important non-promotional messages. Businesses can use tags to send account updates, post purchase updates, confirmed event updates, and human agent responses.
  • One-Time Notification – allows a page to request a user to send one follow-up message after the 24-hour messaging window has ended. This can be used for cases such as back in stock alerts where a person has explicitly requested the business to send out a notification. Make sure that the message matches the topic the user agreed to receive the notification for and this message is fully communicated on the first attempt. You may also want to prompt people to interact with your notification in order to restart the standard messaging window.
  • Sponsored Messages – use sponsored messages for broadcast promotional updates to customers you’ve interacted with in Messenger. Sponsored messages support Facebook ads targeting and have built-in integrity controls to help us safeguard the user experience in Messenger.

4. Focus on customer value

Ensure your messages clearly communicate customer value – especially notifications sent outside the standard messaging window. Sending out low value messages makes it more likely that customers will tune out or block messages from your business altogether. Businesses using Messenger’s platform should consider adjusting push parameters for valuable messages that don’t require immediate action.

5. Provide audiences with options to choose from

Consider giving your audience additional control over the type of content they will receive via Messenger. For example, you may allow the user to select specific types of account alerts or post-purchase updates provided they comply with the Messenger platform policies.

We believe following these simple guidelines will help to ensure a businesses’ messaging efforts will be effective and drive outcomes, while providing customers with pleasant and valuable interaction experiences that encourage them to continue engaging with the business on Messenger.

Facebook Developers

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Two Billion Users — Connecting the World Privately



We are excited to share that, as of today, WhatsApp supports more than 2 billion users around the world.

Mothers and fathers can reach their loved ones no matter where they are. Brothers and sisters can share moments that matter. Coworkers can collaborate, and businesses can grow by easily connecting with their customers.

Private conversations that once were only possible face-to-face can now take place across great distances through instant chats and video calling. There are so many significant and special moments that take place over WhatsApp and we are humbled and honored to reach this milestone.

We know that the more we connect, the more we have to protect. As we conduct more of our lives online, protecting our conversations is more important than ever.

That is why every private message sent using WhatsApp is secured with end-to-end encryption by default. Strong encryption acts like an unbreakable digital lock that keeps the information you send over WhatsApp secure, helping protect you from hackers and criminals. Messages are only kept on your phone, and no one in between can read your messages or listen to your calls, not even us. Your private conversations stay between you.

Strong encryption is a necessity in modern life. We will not compromise on security because that would make people less safe. For even more protection, we work with top security experts, employ industry leading technology to stop misuse as well as provide controls and ways to report issues — without sacrificing privacy.

WhatsApp started with the goal of creating a service that is simple, reliable and private for people to use. Today we remain as committed as when we started, to help connect the world privately and to protect the personal communication of 2 billion users all over the world.

The post Two Billion Users — Connecting the World Privately appeared first on About Facebook.

Facebook Newsroom

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Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: Government forcing companies to protect you online



Although many of the details have still to be confirmed, it’s likely the new rules will apply to Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Snapchat, and Instagram

We often talk about the risks you might find online and whether social media companies need to do more to make sure you don’t come across inappropriate content.

Well, now media regulator Ofcom is getting new powers, to make sure companies protect both adults and children from harmful content online.

The media regulator makes sure everyone in media, including the BBC, is keeping to the rules.

Harmful content refers to things like violence, terrorism, cyber-bullying and child abuse.

The new rules will likely apply to Facebook – who also own Instagram and WhatsApp – Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok, and will include things like comments, forums and video-sharing.

Platforms will need to ensure that illegal content is removed quickly, and may also have to “minimise the risks” of it appearing at all.

These plans have been talked about for a while now.

The idea of new rules to tackle ‘online harms’ was originally set out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in May 2018.

The government has now decided to give Ofcom these new powers following research called the ‘Online Harms consultation’, carried out in the UK in 2019.

Plans allowing Ofcom to take control of social media were first spoken of in August last year.

The government will officially announce these new powers for Ofcom on Wednesday 12 February.

But we won’t know right away exactly what new rules will be introduced, or what will happen to tech or social media companies who break the new rules.

Children’s charity the NSPCC has welcomed the news. It says trusting companies to keep children safe online has failed.

“Too many times social media companies have said: ‘We don’t like the idea of children being abused on our sites, we’ll do something, leave it to us,'” said chief executive Peter Wanless.

“Thirteen self-regulatory attempts to keep children safe online have failed.

To enjoy the CBBC Newsround website at its best you will need to have JavaScript turned on.

Back in Feb 2018 YouTube said they were “very sorry” after Newsround found several videos not suitable for children on the YouTube Kids app

The UK government’s Digital Secretary, Baroness Nicky Morgan said: “There are many platforms who ideally would not have wanted regulation, but I think that’s changing.”

“I think they understand now that actually regulation is coming.”

In many countries, social media platforms are allowed to regulate themselves, as long as they stick to local laws on illegal material.

But some, including Germany and Australia, have introduced strict rules to force social media platforms do more to protect users online.

In Australia, social media companies have to pay big fines and bosses can even be sent to prison if they break the rules.

For more information and tips about staying safe online, go to BBC Own It, and find out how to make the internet a better place for all of us.

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