VR Helps Tell Stories
Virtual reality is continuously gaining more momentum as companies begin to catch on.
The Washington Post and The New York Times are examples of a few major corporations who have gotten into VR. Now, Ohio University is diving in.
There have been a good amount of students using VR at Ohio University. Guesswork VR is a virtual reality gaming company. They had auditions this past March for a gaming project that’s coming out later. The project is headed by Anthony Mikicic, a Senior student whose studying audio music production and Tyler Blust, a Senior whose studying games and animation.
John Bowditch, the Director of Game Research and Immersive Design Lab, said, “Virtual reality is a completely immersive audio-visual experience – The user is completely disconnected from reality.” A lot of people think about games when they think about virtual reality. Bondwitch said, “…that’s just one medium to embrace (virtual reality). Filmmaking, education, training, telepresence, and more are enhanced by this technology.”
Eric Williams is an Associate Professor at the School of Media Arts & Studies. He said that virtual reality is “creating an entirely new world, so… everywhere you look, it feels as if you’re really there.” Another form of virtual reality is augmented reality (AR) and Williams said, it “enhances the reality that we (currently) see.” Williams added, “Virtual reality has always been popular … as an idea (but) technology has never been able to really accomplish it. But now, technology is catching up to everybody’s imagination.”
Bowditch said that virtual reality is at the “early adopter stage… due to expense and lack of developed experiences.” He does think that prices will drop over time. He said, “I wager that (virtual reality) will be adopted for common day to day uses by 2019. There are going to be several VR production classes at Ohio University thanks to the Immersive Media Initiative. Williams said, “We’re going to start offering (classes) every year in how to do virtual reality production, animation.
So we’re actually going to have students on campus making virtual reality projects this summer. (Virtual Reality) is already becoming accessible on the college level.” Maddie Pinney is a Junior whose studying integrated media and she helped to document Lobsterfest, a music festival at Ohio University. She said, “I’ve seen virtual reality videos before and I think it’s a really innovative way to capture and tell stories… and promote empathy. It’s an accessible way to, in reality, put yourself in someone’s shoes.”
Tyler Blust and Anthony Mikicic are seniors who created a VR gaming company called Guessworks VR.
Pinney said about the filming of Lobsterfest, “there’s just a lot of things that you have to think about that you don’t think about when you’re not recording in 360. You have to think about how (the video) is going to look in 360 because it might be a cool shot in the front but if there’s nothing at the back it’s kinda boring.”
Other things to keep in mind include looking for optimal locations to set up the equipment and having to watch for the battery life of the cameras, Pinney said. Pinney added, “Not only did we have to film, … we have to take all the videos and stitch them together (before) putting that into post-production and edit that with regular editing software.” She did note that when all is said and done, it’s going to have been “a long process, but a fruitful one.” She said, “It’s just really cool to wear this funky, little, headset thing and watch this video and you can turn your head and (relive) the entire experience.”