Creative Cardiff and BAFTA Cymru host the South Wales virtual reality cluster

Last week, Creative Cardiff and BAFTA Cymru brought together over 80 practitioners, business leaders and academics from across South Wales to explore virtual reality.

The event, which took place at the Wales Millenium Centre, profilED the innovative VR and AR work being produced by local organisations and its impact on the creative economy.

Virtual reality is one of the most exciting technologies today, combining high-quality imagery and sounds to give users the ability to experience and explore artificial, 3D worlds and images through a headset.

Augmented reality is often pitted against VR, but it’s different in that it superimposes a computer-generated image on to user’s view of the real and provides a composite view.

These innovations are being used across a range of industries in Wales, including arts and entertainment,  medical science, engineering, as well as education and training.

Organised jointly by Creative Cardiff and BAFTA Cymru, the event follows on from the successful Doing Digital and Thinking Digital workshop, which was hosted in 2016.

Professor Ian Hargreaves, chair of digital economy at Cardiff University, opened the event. He said: “It’s really important to bring together the VR community.

“All of Creative Cardiff’s experience suggests there is great value in strengthening and extending connections across the whole creative economy of our region.

“Virtual Reality is an increasingly important part of the digital scene, not only in film, television and games, but also in aspects of medical science and other settings where a more fully visualised experience adds value.”

A number of organisations presented at the event, including REWIND, BBC Cymru Wales, Welsh National Opera, Orchard, Wales Millennium Centre, Welsh Government, Innovate UK and Cardiff University’s Virtual and Augmented Reality, and Binaural Recording Research Group.

Hannah Raybould, director of BAFTA Cymru, closed the event. She said: “BAFTA is currently engaging with an international committee of industry leaders in the field of VR and AR with a view to reviewing the changing landscape of VR and revisiting the impact on BAFTA’s mission.

“This is a hugely exciting time in terms of the development of this area of the industry and we are eager to create opportunities in Wales for creatives to discover more and be inspired to join the conversation.”