Our Technology Upgrade

By | News, Technology | No Comments

Christmas came early for the good little boys and girls of VR Playhouse! We got the fancy toys!!! First up, the GoPro Odyssey: 16 synchronized HERO4 Black cameras, all controlled from one remote, for high-resolution capture. And it is, of course, compatible with… The Google Jump Assembler: This bad boy stitches in a matter of hours to create perfect stereoscopic 360-degree video. This means no more audio sync worries. No more color matching worries. No more mismatched settings. No more days spent cleaning all that stuff up. It potentially saves our clients thousands of dollars in post-production costs and saves us thousands of dollars in Red Bull and aspirin costs.   Finally, Sennheiser’s virtual reality microphone, which allows for simultaneous high quality capture of ambisonic audio via four-channel, XLR output and plugs into any existing four-channel recorder. Audio tracks can be brought into audio software seamlessly. So sweet! I should…

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What It’s Like to Work in Virtual Reality

By | Storytelling, Technology | No Comments

Let’s be real. Virtual reality is having a moment. Headsets are shipping, people are talking and VR is popping up all over pop culture in weird, interesting ways. It feels sweepingly omnipresent all of a sudden, like there was this plan in place to make VR a part of all of our lives and now that plan is in motion. And so people ask me what it’s like to work in the virtual reality industry. This is a hard question to answer in an interesting way. It’s difficult? It’s exciting? It’s crazysexycool? Yes. But also: Working in virtual reality is like being a first year resident on a primetime medical drama Not that I ever watched “Grey’s Anatomy” because for sure I never did but somehow I know that the pilot episode covered the first 48 hours in the residency of Meredith Grey and friends, just like the pilot episode…

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VR Playhouse is at Sundance – Days 6 & 7: New Frontiers

By | Festivals Conferences MeetUps, Technology | 2 Comments

Our last two days at Sundance were probably my favorite, and not just because we were all kinda exhausted and spent more time than usual lounging around in sweatpants in front of our condo’s fireplace, which is, let’s face it, why anyone is drawn to a wintery vacation environ like the one Park City offers in the first place. Also though, I went through my two favorite VR/AR experiences of the festival on Wednesday. The first was from ILMxLAB and used 3D projections and motion tracking to create an immersive Star Wars Holo Cinema scene for its audience to enter into. The second was called Real Virtuality. You play this with a friend, each of you wearing a whole litany of sensors to track your actual movement as you work together to complete tasks and advance through a virtual world composed of familiar, genre settings like a deserted spaceship or…

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VR Playhouse is at Sundance – Days 2 & 3: Demo Derby!

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Days 2 and 3 were all about the demo. We planned to go big at the VR Fest event on Sunday, bringing with us an HTC Vive, complete with some new sample content we banged out in a week; an Oculus showing “The Surrogate,” a narrative piece we helped develop that combines CG with 360 video; and, of course, a Gear stocked with a bunch of our work from the last year and a half. Now that means two computers, two monitors, 3 headsets, a tracking system, cables galore, our big flashy sign and so on and so forth. And we took all this on a plane, which automatically means something or somethings is bound to be screwed up when you arrive at your final destination. So Saturday became a day of troubleshooting. We went to the friendly neighborhood Best Buy twice. Various members of the VR Playhouse team banged…

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How Not To Suck At VR (and other fun things)

By | 360 Video, Technology | No Comments

This is a guest post from VR Playhouse’s beloved Head of Production, Derin Turner. Sometimes he gets frustrated.  Over the past year, we have been hard at work here at VR Playhouse, experimenting with virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, astral-projecto-realities.  Some things have worked, others not so much.  We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve gone on spiritual journeys to rediscover ourselves and the meaning of life. We’ve broken a lot of things. All thanks to the wondrous world of VR.  And through all of this, we have learned a lot.  Things that we now want to pass on to you, so that we may spare you some of the pain that this gloriously sadistic medium inflicts. The first thing we’ve learned is this: At it’s core, the idea of VR is to transport your brain-noggin to alternate planes of existence.  It is an illusion.  And an illusion must be flawless….

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Making High-Concept 360° Video

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The learning curve has been sharp, but we’re getting a better grasp of 360 video creation every day. First, let’s recap: We began our efforts in 360 video from scratch. Initial challenges:  What gear do you use? How do you stitch the videos together? WHY WON’T THESE VIDEOS LINE UP? (If you’ve tried your hand at stitching, you know what I’m talking about). We began with the 6 camera 360Hero setup. It worked. Both the Beach Day Video and El Matador Cliffs video were shot using six GoPros. However, there were what we call “glitches in the matrix.” More cameras = more coverage, we decide. We up our game and settle on the 10-camera 360Hero setup for shooting and Kolor’s AutoPano programs for editing. Our latest video, Dreaming Downtown, uses this 10 camera set up. We also up the production value on this video. Like most experimenting with 360 video, the beach videos allow you to…

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