Virtual Reality and 360 degree video project.

Brief history of VR

1835 Sir Charles Wheatstone describes “stereopsis”

Sir Charles Wheatstone conducted research into binocular vision. This research displayed how the brain mixes two photographs, one per eye, of an object taken from different angles to add depth to the imagery and give a sense of realism. The process that your eyes go through to perceive the depth of imagery in this way is called ‘stereopsis’.

Stereopsis – The perception of depth produced by the reception in the brain of visual stimuli from both eyes in combination; binocular vision. (https://www.lexico.com/definition/stereopsis)

In 1935 Stanley Weinbaum had a concept model for VR with his short
story Pygmalion’s Spectacles as displayed below. His concept was to have a movie in which the audience can experience complete immersion and escapism, being bale to experience smell, touch, taste and sound as well as being able to see the movie itself. This fully immersive concept is one that seemed very futuristic and is starting to seem to be unravelling as a near future possibility nowadays. We have seen the rapid development of VR over the recent years and the develofmentsthat people are making with concepts such as VR suits, allowing the user to be immersed in the sense of feel when in a VR environment. These types of developments are what seem to give hope Weinbaum’s concept coming to life, even though it was 86 years ago that he stimulated this idea.

What actually is VR?

As defined by Oxford Languages:

“the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.”

360 Degree video

The brief set for this project was to create a 360 degree video based on the topic ‘where I live’ in terms of where I feel my heart feels at home.

Generating ideas:

To initially generate ideas, I devised a mind map of things that feel close to heart as shown below.

I then chose three main concept ideas and developed these. The three main ideas that I chose are listed below:

ADHD, a day in the life –

This idea is just as simple as showing what doing daily task is like from a person with ADHD’s perspective. This would be very effective as it would help this who don’t have ADHD to grasp more of an understanding for what is a very misunderstood disorder and as something personally close to my heart would be good to see something that visualises this in an understanding way for those who don’t understand.

Loneliness –

This concept is literally just to emphasise what its like to feel lonely, this could show the same one person in different scenarios struggling wit feeling lonely, I would want to create the effect that would make the viewer feel the need to help this person but by the having to watch a person in this state and not be able to help should hopefully position the audience in a place of reconsideration when it comes to their everyday life and the people around them that may be suffering in silence.

Grief –

Grief is something that is close to home for me as I lost a close friend a couple of years ago. I wanted to visualise this in a 360 degree video. It wasn’t the actual grief itself that I wanted to visualise but just the representation that a dead character is looking back on an earthly memory.

My final selected idea:

Grief: For my final idea, I want to subtly show the loss of a friend. I plan to do this by showing two friends meeting up and talking on the front of the video but when turned around, I want to show a ghostly looking character (same as one of the characters at the front) to emphasise that he has died and this person he met up with meant a lot to him or even to connote that he is looking back on a memory of his dead friend. This represents grief as it displays one reflecting on life and reflecting on a good memory with a person in a clearly ghostly state.

Planning of production:

All I needed to prepare for production was my cast, equipment hire and ensure the environment was safe to film on.

I gained my cast through asking my two flatmates Joe and Drew to act in my video and these are the two actors that will act as the two friends and Joe is going to act as the ghostly figure too.

Production

I hired out a GoPro Fusion 360 video camera (as shown below) and found a safe place to film. I went to this place beforehand with a risk assessment at hand to ensure there was no hazards or safety concerns and this just ensured that I could film here in a safe and precautious way.

I filmed this by recording two videos with the camera remaining in the same place with plans to stitch these together in post-production to be able to have two Joes in one scene.

GoPro Fusion 360 degree camera:

GoPro Fusion 360° Action Camera In-Depth Review | DC Rainmaker

Fusion 1.2 software that I used to render my 360 degree video:

Post – Production

I rendered these videos using Fusion Studio 1.2 and once these were rendered I filed these to use in Premiere Pro.

The editing was a lot more simple than I initially thought it would be. I put the two clips into my timeline and overlayed the second recorded video over the first recorded video. I then cropped this second video to the half of the scene that I wanted the second Joe to appear in and lower the opacity to 40% to create the ghostly transparent look that I was looking for. the editing of this didn’t take much time whatsoever as I have previous experience with Premiere pro and had a firm idea of what I needed to do once I had access to the videos in Premiere pro.

I used http://www.bensound.com to find some royalty free music that fit the atmosphere and mood of my video. The track that I decided to use really fit best the aesthetic and mood that I was going for throughout this video. I checked that the properties of my video project were compatible with VR and I exported this video and uploaded it to Youtube as an unlisted video to see it in full VR effect.

This is the final video:

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