360 Video vs Virtual Reality
Immediately after reading the assessment instructions I knew I wanted to create a 360 video. Not only is it a new and interesting medium, but it was relevant to the topic.
“Is 360 video considered VR?” is a question I have come across multiple times. A quick google will tell you that there are contradicting opinions. My view was that a 360 video must be interactive for it to be considered VR. I suppose debate around definitions is inevitable with emerging technology.
That week’s reading helped me understand a better way of answering the question, and it involves immersion. In my video I wanted to explore the idea that an experience cannot be defined as either immersive or not, but rather all experiences fall somewhere on a scale of immersion.
Something to consider when making 360 videos is that you can’t force the viewer to look in a certain direction. You can encourage them to look in a certain place by making that area more appealing than any other (with movement or action), but in the end, the user will look where they choose.
One strategy to make sure the viewer doesn’t miss something important is by adding it in multiple places around the scene. I did this for my images as well as for the written quote.
Another strategy I employed was to add a sound effect when an object appeared in the video. This implicitly prompts the user to look around for what was added.
Editing 360 Footage
Adobe Premiere already has built in functionality to edit 360 footage, so that made things easier for me. For the most part, editing 360 footage is the same as editing regular footage. The only real difference is when you are adding in flat assets, such as images and text, to a 360 sequence. Because the stage is essentially a sphere, effects need to be applied to those assets to make them fit on the sphere. It’s like trying to put a flat sticker on a round ball, it just doesn’t quite work.
Due to the cost of 360 cameras only becoming accessible for the general consumer in the last few years, the number of 360 videos available online with creative commons licensing are few and far between. I didn’t expect this to be the case, and so I had to film most of the 360 footage myself.
Using the search function on the Creative Commons website meant it was easy to source images to use in the video.
Filming in 360
There are many added complications when filming in the 360 format as opposed to a regular flat film. The obvious difference is that everything is captured, and therefore there is no “behind the scenes”.
For the first assessment task, I set up lighting, I had my script printed out and attached to the camera, and I had microphone cables hanging out of shot. None of this is easily achieved when filming in 360 as it all gets captured. This means that planning when to film is important because natural light needs to be factored in. It also means memorising lines is important as there is nowhere to hide a script.
I had initially planned to do much more speaking to camera. The current requirements to wear a mask in public, and me not wanting to talk through the mask, limited my options of filming locations. In the end I decided to record the narration and overlay it on top of other footage.
Evans, L 2018, ‘Immersion, or the unique selling point of VR,’ in The Re-Emergence of Virtual Reality, Routledge, New York, pp. 49-66.
‘Maybe We Could’ by Restless Modern (CC BY 3.0)
‘Home Phone 4’ by Dean-Raul_DiArchangeli (CC0 1.0)
‘Whack04’ by Qat (CC0 1.0)
‘Pop 7’ by greenvwbeetle (CC0 1.0)
‘Emptied cardboard box’ by Creativity103 (CC BY 2.0)
‘HTC Vive Pro’ by Eternal Realm (CC BY 4.0)
‘Oculus Quest’ by Minh Pham (CC0 1.0)
‘File:Unboxing Oculus Go 64GB.jpg’ by Syced (CC0 1.0)
‘Hidden Temple – VR Adventure ★ 360° Experience’ by HandyGames (CC BY 2.0)
‘[EXTREME] 360 VR – Rollercoaster – MUST SEE’ by Millenium Vulcan (CC BY 2.0)
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