I have mentioned before that I wanted to create animated content for virtual reality, so I thought I would expand on what I was looking to do.
There are a lot of people who have a much better understand of VR then I do, so I won’t try and explain where we are technically with it. If you are in the entertainment industry you most likely know there is a lot of interest in VR right now, and a lot of money being thrown at the development of the technology. There are easily over a dozen VR headsets out there from Google Cardboard to ones like HTC Vive.
So you might be asking in what way do I want to be involved with VR? I don’t plan to get into the designing the hardware for it, but I would love to get into content creation. I found this neat little graph which shows “Types of Virtual Reality Content Internet Users in Western Europe and the US are Interested In Watching/Experiencing” You can see at the top at 39% is movies. This is might be why Hollywood is so invested in figuring out how to make VR content.
Typically movies are shown to the audience by controlling what they see in the frame of the camera. When the director wants the viewer to focus on something they can easily do that through framing and focus. The difference in VR is you loose the control to direct what the audience can see. It has the creative people in Hollywood trying to figure out the best way to tell stories in this uncontrolled lens.
I have been wanting to create content for VR, but was not really sure how to get started. I have been seeing a lot of interesting stuff with the 360-video, and I believe this is a great place to start. I might start by rendering one 360 environment(Maybe the lab where Bink is trapped), and seeing how it works to stitch the images together. Then move into rendering video in the same way.
One of the animation companies who is creating some really great content is Baobab Studios. Check out this 360 animated short they made called “Invasion!”. If you want it to work you need to open it on a mobile device and in the YouTube app. It won’t work otherwise. Being able to be in the world, and look around as you please is a really fun experience. They do things with sound effects, and having the character look in a direction to help get you to look at what they want you to look at.
Another interesting use for 360 videos is horror films. Check out this “scary” video.
You can find a bunch of other examples of these 360 videos on Youtube. I’m still very new to all of this, but this is a perfect medium for animation film making, and it is the logical direction to head. I would love to hear from all of you on what you know about VR. Be sure to leave me a note in the comments below.
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