The Reality of Virtual Reality

Posted by Drew on April 4, 2016

alysseVR

Over the past year, I’ve been hearing more and more about virtual reality production. The concept has been around for a long time, popping up here and there in fiction as advanced technology from the distant future. But in 2015, companies such as Oculus, Google, GoPro, HTC and Samsung really started to push VR into the mainstream. As we move through 2016, it’s going to become more and more common. And at Myriad, we’re already starting to have some fun with it!

Towards the middle of 2015, I stumbled across a link to this Youtube video, and when I opened it on my phone I experienced something completely new. What I saw on the screen of my phone changed according to the orientation of my body. It was totally fascinating—I spent a long time playing around with it, looking up at the sky, down at the couch, and on and on. And the thing that really struck me was that it wasn’t buggy and sluggish. It totally worked, and it worked great. Soon after, we ordered a Google Cardboard viewer and really started digging in to projects like NYT VR, watching programs like Walking New York, and my mind was really blown.

The thing that’s really exciting to me about VR is that it’s not going to be prohibitively expensive, and it doesn’t necessarily require equipment that you don’t already have. Sure, you can elevate the experience by investing in the new Oculus Rift (to be honest, even that is not going to cost more than a nice TV). But you can still have a really cool experience just using your phone and a cardboard box. You can also open up a VR Youtube video in Chrome on your computer, and just pan around with your mouse. It’s pretty awesome.

Here is a chain of increasingly immersive ways to see VR content:

VR_Graphic-01

Over the past few months, we’ve been diving into virtual reality production using a 6 camera GoPro rig. It’s been fun to discover and tackle the differences that exist between VR production and traditional video production. How do we create content that allows the viewer to “choose where to look?” How does that impact storytelling? How can we let it enhance the experience and not hinder it? We’ve already learned a lot, and we are really excited about pushing forward with that medium.

So here’s to a big year in VR!  I’m really excited about the type of content that we’re going to be producing as we make our way through 2016. We’ve started to post some of our initial projects to our Campsite website. Check ’em out!

Below is a 360 video we created of Raleigh band The Love Language playing at the North Carolina State Fair in Dorton Arena. Use your mouse to scroll around the video.