MontVR Virtual Reality – “Virtual Reality” By now, most people are somewhat familiar with the concept of MontVR Virtual Reality, as it is referred to by industry insiders: computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment which a person can interact with in a seemingly real or physical way by using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet or gloves fitted with sensors. Voila! You are magically transported to the world of imagination by MontVR Virtual Reality.
Have you always wanted to explore the depths of the ocean or the far reaches of outer space without actually scuba diving or using a telescope? How about viewing a movie or cartoon as though you were inside it, instead of watching it from the outside? Would you like to see robots performing a variety of tasks or take a tour of a museum without having to go to one? Well here you are at the Museum of Dinosaurs and – oh my God! – here comes T. Rex, King of the Dinosaurs, huge teeth bared, leaping right over your head! Then in dream-like sequence you are transported to the top of a towering peak, but don’t dare look down. Whoa … make sure you don’t fall into the abyss below! Or perhaps your tastes incline to experiencing the soothing ancient ritual of tea time with a Japanese family clad in traditional kimonos, ladies in Geisha white face, or watching a storyboard sun rise over fluffy clouds in a crayoned blue sky, even when it’s dark outside in real time.
VR has been used in films and by the music industry for some time now, but only lately has it been made accessible to the general public. MontVR is the first virtual reality centre in Quebec. Through its equipment rental department, MontVR has already brought the VR experience to events like MUTEK, and the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, and to the business community. “We’re already involved with a number of festivals,” MontVR co-founder Sebastien Coulombe says, “but now we want everyone to be able to experience VR.” Coulombe is the front man of the operation while his business partner provides technical support working behind the scenes. Since its official launch on January 27th, 2017, Coulombe estimates that more than 500 people have passed through MontVR’s doors.
The hands-on Coulombe is enthusiastic about the many positive possibilities of VR for students, artists, and entrepreneurs, proudly pointing to a lounge at MontVR where VR users can drop in and exchange stories and ideas, free of charge. The recently opened retail operation located on fashionable St. Denis Street just south of St. Joseph Blvd. is equipped with several stations with VR head sets from HTC, Oculus and Sony, as well as options for video gaming, and virtual learning in 3-D. The centre will not only allow consumers to discover the technology in a fun way, but it will also offer a stage to developers and artists working in the field.
MontVR wishes to contribute to Montreal’s reputation as a high-tech, innovative city, Coulombe says. It will be featured in “Je Fais Montreal”, as part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebration this year. The virtual reality production company is in the process of filming the most beautiful locations in Montreal with 360-degree cameras to create content to be shown at VR sites all over the city this year – in the Plateau Mont-Royal, at Place des arts, downtown, and at the Old Port, as well as online, giving the project a global reach. This will help to promote tourism in Montreal now, as well as in the future. The platform is also being developed so that new features can be added to promote shopping and other activities in Montreal. It’s all set to go for early summer, in tandem with the kick-off to Montreal’s 375th birthday bash.
MontVR’s slogan is: vivez la réalité virtuelle (live virtual reality). You have to experience VR yourself, Coulombe says. An old saying goes that seeing is believing. With VR, seeing in 3-D is a whole new kind of experience. Believe it.