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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

360 VR

My first shoot in 2018 - a 360 degree Virtual Reality (360 VR) government training video. After "action" was shouted out, everyone in the crew had to literally run into hiding, so that they will not be captured by the camera. The camera captures everything around it 360 degrees. There is no "behind the camera" and "framing of shots" in 360VR, a departure from conventional video production.

More about 360 VR
360 VR was the buzzword at the recent Asian TV Forum 2017.  An extension of VR is AR (Augmented Reality) - a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are "augmented" by computer-generated perceptual information. 
If we combine VR, AR and AI (Artificial Intelligence), they bring enhanced and intelligent experiences to the user. These immersive technologies will enable businesses to market their products closer to reality online. A VR producer told me that we will see many VR videos made this year, not just for games but for various commercial and industrial applications. In fact, it is estimated that 85% of them will not be games.
While the budgets in the market for documentaries are dwindling, more money is being poured into interactive immersive content.
There are multiple experiential engagements that can be facilitated by VR, like:
  • Offshore oil rig scenario videos that can be used for training;
  • Action genre movies where the viewers' movements to follow the action sequences forms part of the excitement and experience.
  • Creating the inner world of mental disorders, to enhance the understanding of the disorders for the medical profession and laypersons.
  • Field Journalism.

What about storyboarding?
Traditionally, we are used to storyboard in frames. However, if you ask a four year old if he think in frames, he is going tell you the story purely, and naively so, from his perspective.
Similarly, in VR we define the storyboard relative to the audience, like user-centred design; and not by objects relative to frame.
This approach should come naturally to practitioners of user-centered design, but may feel foreign to those used to directing audience attention.
Instead of controlling what the audience sees in VR, we work with probabilistic areas of user attention based on ergonomic data.
For more about VR storyboarding, click here.
Six years ago, I was in a National Library Board (Singapore) corporate video shot from a Point of View (POV) perspective. It was a first step in VR, but using only one camera (instead of four cameras for 360).
This was how it looked like:

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