Groundbreaking VR Videos, Demos, and Keynotes

Here are some of the groundbreaking VR videos, demos, and keynotes from the past few years. These cover presentations from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Intel, and others. Some were unveiled at their own conference events; others at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We’ve used many of these VR videos in our own workshops and presentations.  We will be adding more as new developments are demoed or released. We’d love to hear your recommendations on other videos that should be included here.

As you know, time moves fast in the immersive technology landscape. New developments in Augmented and Virtual Reality happen monthly so many of these are already dated. Others are visions of a future which has yet to appear. And some are of projects that have been shelved (e.g., Intel’s Project Alloy) but could reappear in the future in new forms.

So any list of VR videos, demos and keynotes will necessarily be dated. The most current VR videos are at the top, but the older ones are here for reference. It’s always useful – and important – to look back and see how far we’ve come.


VR Videos

Ushering in a New Era of Windows Mixed Reality – October 2017

This is Alex Kipman’s 35-minute talk and demo at a Windows Mixed Reality event in San Francisco on October 3rd. The event marked the introduction of the Samsung Odyssey HMD – one of five Windows VR headsets to be released in fall 2017.

Is this the birth of consumer VR? A new era of a spatial operating system? You decide. Kipman did wear the Samsung VR headset for most of the demo. Microsoft gets credit for some serious demos.


“On Worlds and Visitors” – Jessica Brillhart at the Sonar+D Conference, Barcelona – June 2017

In this talk, Jessica Brillhart the Principal FIlmmaker at Google, questions the role of the filmmaker in the rapidly changing Virtual Reality space. Traditional concepts that we have relied upon – editing, storytelling, and acting – no longer make sense in an emerging media that incorporates agency, presence. In conversation with Jeremy Boxer, Brillhart takes us through her experiments, both what’s worked and the failures “in order to better understand what VR wants from creators.”


F8 Keynote – Mark Zuckerberg’s Keynote at the Facebook Developer Conference – April 2017

Here’s Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote at the 2017 Developer conference with it’s focus on AR, VR and AI. If you hadn’t guessed already, Facebook wants to be the default platform for our immersive experiences in the future. For more, you can read our summary of the F8 2017 conference.

Intel Demos the First Walk-around VR Video Experience – January 2017

At CES 2017, Intel showed off what they termed volumetric video. Instead of the usual 360 video where you’re stationary and only turn your head around in an immersive scene, you can now look around objects. This comes at a cost – the video runs 3 GB per frame. Intel also pulled off another demo of Project Alloy at CES 2017 this year.


Social VR is Coming – Facebook’s Demo at the OC3 Conference – October 2016 

The Oculus Connect conference provided us with a glimpse of Facebook’s research in Social VR. The Social VR Testbed was introduced at the Spring 2016 F8 event but six months is a world of difference. The latest avatars now have hand gestures and some basic facial expressions have been incorporated into the experience. See our thoughts on OC3 and Social VR at Facebook’s Social VR at OC3 is Amazing.  


Intel’s Mixed Reality through Project Alloy – August 2016

Of all the VR videos and demos we’ve seen (lost count long ago), the Intel Project Alloy video remains our favorite. The concept video at the 2016 Intel Developer Forum comes across as a Matrix-like environment bullet time event at a party. Intel calls it Merged Reality, “a new way of experiencing physical and virtual interactions and environments across VR/AR/Mixed Realities through a suite of next-generation sensing, digitizing and computing technologies.”

For a self-contained wireless headset with hand gesture recognition, Intel is setting a high bar. Too high, actually. The project was shelved earlier this year. Though now dated, you can read our original reaction at Intel’s Amazing New VR Headset – Project Alloy.

As VR videos go, this is an utterly eye-opening demonstration.


Magic Leap and ILMxLab – June 2016

Is it an illusion? Vaporware? It’s been a long wait for a demo out of Magic Leap, the Mixed Reality startup in Florida. So far, the video is all we have – and some of them turned out to be faked. Critics are wondering if they’ve run into production issues. For now, you have to live the dream. [Update: December 2017, Magic Leap’s HMD has been announced though we still have nothing more than some images.]


NASA JPL HoloLens Curiosity Rover – May 2016


Netflix does a VR ‘video store’ for the company’s Hack Day – May 2016

Tilt Brush: Artistic Creativity in VR – May 2016 

Tilt Brush lets you paint in 3D space with virtual reality. Unleash your creativity with three-dimensional brush strokes, stars, light, and even fire. Your room is your canvas. Your palette is your imagination. The possibilities are endless.

Enough said. Just do it.


Penrose Studio – Introducing Allumette – April 2016

Allumette burst on the VR scene at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016. Billed as one of the first “long-form” VR films (at around 20 minutes), there were concerns that people would not spend that much time in a VR experience. But when you follow this young girl in a story of love and sacrifice, it is utterly captivating. You find yourself in a miniature city floating in the clouds. As you move around, you realize you can “push through” the walls and watch the characters in the rooms. Multiple scenes play out simultaneously.

Based on the story of “The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Andersen, Allumette is the second production from Penrose Studio. More at Allumette: The First VR Film Masterpiece?


Virtual Reality – SteamVR featuring the HTC Vive – April 2016

A quick look at the games and experiences that come with the HTC Vive headset on the SteamVR platform.


Google Cardboard Plastic – April 1, 2016

The Google virtual reality April Fools prank.


Alex Kipman: A futuristic vision of the age of holograms – February 2016

An incredible demo by Microsoft at TED 2016, revealing how we will work and play in the future. Wearing HoloLens, Alex Kipman brings JPL scientist Jeff Norris to the TED stage through the first instance of  “Holographic Teleportation”.


Meron Gribetz: A glimpse of the future through an augmented reality headset – February 2016

What if technology could connect us more deeply with our surroundings instead of distracting us from the real world? With the Meta 2, an augmented reality headset that makes it possible for users to see, grab and move holograms just like physical objects, Meron Gribetz hopes to extend our senses through a more natural interface. This VR video is the first demo of Meta 2 at TED 2016 featuring a Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson.


Noony de la Pena: The Future of News? Virtual Reality

Noony de la Pena has been at the forefront of virtual reality developments before the era of Oculus Rift. Here she is at the TEDWomen 2015 thinking way ahead on how news will be experienced in the future. She asks: “What if you could experience a story with your entire body, not just with your mind?” It has been her mission and the VR experiences she has created have done exactly that.