Viewing single post of blog JOURNEYS INTO VIRTUAL REALITY

Here I am having this super intense VR editing ‘crash course’ online, straight from some beautiful mountains in Mexico. A bit surreal. Based on indications I had received from UAL, I thought we could jam the basics into five 90 minutes sessions. That proved to be overly optimistic. Some sessions were two hours long and loaded with new information. Thankfully the tutor was very generous with his time and kept everything well-organised. He was also patient in moments when I was overwhelmed or tired and started to sink into chaos. We were passing screen share and mouse control back and forth, and, considering the limited ability of my Mac handling such data traffic, things went surprisingly fluently. I received a detailed presentation with easy-to-remember graphics for each session plus the recording of each session, so I can remember every step.

This here is my homework (attached photo). Now I’m getting a taste for it, the framework of stitching and editing VR. It is soooo exciting! And so much to learn, it seems to be an endless flow of new information. The footage provided quite a challenge. Because the camera was fixed on a swing, that was constantly moving, the software does not synchronise the footage correctly. I then have to do this frame by frame manually. It takes hours and hours of adjusting the image to create a two minutes video. I have an appreciation for the work that went into my past short films even more now! Finally, I get a coherent image of the 360-degree environment stretched out into what is called equirectangular format. This distorted landscape image that is on my screen in the attached image.

During the process, I realised a few things about the video that entirely changed my idea about what I want to do with it. ‘Changed’ at this stage meant giving up my expectations about it and focusing on learning. What happened was that I realised, some camera movement is ok, and was ok in the past when I used a larger swing which moved slower. This time, however, I pushed it too far. Literally. This smaller swing moves faster, and it has a much wider amplitude, which would make the viewer seasick in VR. Perhaps not so if one is watching it on a swing as I was planning to present it, being able to perfectly align the physical movement of the body with the movement of the virtual environment. That way, one’s haptic sense delivers matching information to visual perception. But it is quite tricky if possible, at all. The sensation of the body swinging forward while seeing it moving backwards is crazy. I myself love it, it makes me scream like being on a rollercoaster, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people are more susceptible to motion sickness or can get a fright from such a destabilising experience. It generates a sense of chaos. Embodying that chaos is a challenge that is not my intention to create, as I don’t have information regarding its possible neurological effects.