SIGGRAPH 2017 to Host Special VR Presentation and Film Produced by The New York Times

"Under A Cracked Sky" is a 10-Minute Virtual Reality Film Shot in Antarctica
Publish date:

June 21, 2017, CHICAGO—SIGGRAPH 2017, the world’s leading annual interdisciplinary educational experience showcasing the latest in computer graphics and interactive techniques, is pleased to announce that it will host a special VR presentation and film screening produced by The New York Times. SIGGRAPH 2017 marks the 44th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, and will be held 30 July–3 August in Los Angeles. Registration for the conference is now open.

Graham Roberts, director of immersive platforms storytelling for The New York Times, will present a 40-minute talk about the organization’s VR expertise and integration of the new medium into the legendary media outlet’s news reporting through NYT VR. The Talk will include insight into the making of “The Antarctica Series: Under A Cracked Sky,” a nearly 10-minute short film that was executive produced by Roberts and is one of four films within the Times’ Antarctica series.

“Under A Cracked Sky” will also be seen during a recurring screening within the conference’s first-ever VR Theater, part of the SIGGRAPH 2017 Computer Animation Festival.

“We are beyond thrilled to be welcoming Graham Roberts, the man who helped spearhead and establish the Times’ NYT VR program, to our conference this year,” said Jerome Solomon, conference chair for SIGGRAPH 2017. “Having a project with the pedigree and prestige of ‘Under A Cracked Sky’ truly establishes the fact that we continue to present our attendees with world-class material and technologies. I am certain people will enjoy Graham’s presentation and short film — after all, it doesn’t get more impressive than The New York Times!”

Graham Roberts notes, “VR is an incredible new tool that gives people a different perspective — it offers the feeling of full immersion within our news stories and reports. I see VR as an important change in the way in which people digest news and interact with the media: It’s a new paradigm through which people can experience brand-new perceptions of the world … it transports the viewer somewhere he or she has never been before.”

Roberts added, “I’ve been attending SIGGRAPH for the past few years, and it’s always been a place that has its finger on the pulse of technology — one step ahead of the curve. I’m always inspired when I attend SIGGRAPH and when I get the chance to see ‘behind the curtain’ of what’s coming up in the near future. [The conference] has been a huge influence on me, personally, and has allowed me to help establish VR a The New York Times. Through the integration of VR, we have begun to explore new ways in which we can enhance our reporting and our journalism, and to see more broadly what those opportunities are. At SIGGRAPH 2017, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share back with the community some of the things I’ve learned over the years — and how those ideas have been put into practice today.”

About “Under A Cracked Sky”

The NYT VR short film “Under A Cracked Sky” presents footage taken under eight feet of Antarctic sea ice, where the clearest water on Earth lies. Viewers of the film can experience a plunge through a small hole in the ice to dive with seals, explore ice caves, glide past stalactites of frozen seawater, and swim over a rocky black seabed crawling with life. The film was narrated and photographed by two research divers at McMurdo Station, one of whom has more experience under the ice than anyone else on the planet.

About Graham Roberts

Graham Roberts is a five-time Emmy Award nominated senior editor at The New York Times, focusing on innovation in visual journalism. He directs immersive platforms storytelling, leading a team that explores new approaches in video, motion graphics, and virtual/augmented reality. Roberts also teaches motion graphics at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and speaks internationally at schools and conferences — most recently in Ljubljana, Rotterdam, Shenzhen, and Moscow. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Jessica Ferri.

About NYT VR

Launched in August 2015, NYT VR has produced over 30 projects. The app is free and available to download on the Play Store and App Store.

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About SIGGRAPH 2017
The annual SIGGRAPH conference is a five-day interdisciplinary educational experience in the latest computer graphics and interactive techniques, including a three-day commercial exhibition that attracts hundreds of companies from around the world. The conference also hosts the international SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival, showcasing works from the world's most innovative and accomplished digital film and video creators. Juried and curated content includes outstanding achievements in time-based art, scientific visualization, visual effects, real-time graphics, and narrative shorts. SIGGRAPH 2017 will take place from 30 July–3 August 2017 in Los Angeles. Visit the SIGGRAPH 2017 website or follow SIGGRAPH on FacebookTwitterYouTube, or Instagram for more detailed information.

The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques is an interdisciplinary community interested in research, technology, and applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Members include researchers, developers, and users from the technical, academic, business, and art communities. ACM SIGGRAPH enriches the computer graphics and interactive techniques community year-round through its conferences, global network of professional and student chapters, publications, and educational activities.

About ACM 


, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession's collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for lifelong learning, career development, and professional networking.

Media Contact:

Dan Harary

Public Relations Director

+ 1.310.859.1831



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