This Director of Stunning IMAX Films Is Betting Big on Virtual Reality

NextVR unveils the first production truck for live events

DJ Roller has filmed on all seven continents, gone into the deep with James Cameron and directed thrilling movies in IMAX and in 3D. But now the award-winning cinematographer and technologist sees the future of content in virtual reality.

Roller, the co-founder of NextVR, and his team will unveil the first broadcast production truck built exclusively for live and recorded events in VR.

"You park it. Get power to it. And turn it on," Roller told Adweek ahead of this week's annual broadcasting conference in Las Vegas. "It is designed completely differently because VR is a different medium."

And now that headset viewing has gone beyond cardboard with the deployment of Oculus Rift, Samsung's Gear and the HTC Vive, NextVR is increasing its output of content to one to two projects per week. And they are talking with every major network, event producer and brand.

"We're speaking with every tent poll brand on the planet, even brands that you wouldn't associate with VR, because they're savvy enough to realize how powerful the medium is," Roller said.

As part of a 5-year deal with Fox Sports, NextVR partnered with Toyota for VR content around the Daytona 500. "It woke up the entire auto industry and we had nonstop calls from other automakers," Roller said.

Roller expects more live VR projects in "the coming weeks." Don't be surprised to see the NextVR truck pull up to San Diego's Petco Park for July's Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Fox.

"Having a VR broadcast truck to cover major events is another example of how NextVR continues to lead the market in this emerging technology," adds Michael Davies, svp, Field and Technical Operations at Fox Sports.

Transported by cargo plane, the first-of-its-kind NextVR broadcast truck is designed to be built by third-party manufacturers. It could just as easily head to the California desert for Coachella or the mountains of Norway for the Junior Winter Olympics, which NextVR captured in February.

"We have a mature VR technology, all built from the very beginning with production in mind," said Roller. "It's the next progression to have a mobile unit."