The VR I’m sharing this holiday

Most of my family has tried virtual reality at this point. I’ve owned a Gear VR for well over a year and it’s been brought out at family gatherings for all to try. Oddly, none of my friends have tried VR because it never seems to come out at friend gatherings. This weekend we’ll be hosting plenty of family and friends at our home. I’m eager to show off my shiny, new PlayStation VR. I’ve worked out a strategy for what I’m showing to whom. Continue reading “The VR I’m sharing this holiday”

A look back at the Year of VR

Google kicked off the current wave of consumer-level virtual reality in 2014 when it released Cardboard during their annual developers conference that year. It was supposed to be a quirky little side project but techies were hungry for VR and so Cardboard became a much bigger thing. Late in the year and early in the next, Samsung released two Gear VR headsets aimed at developers and early adopters. They released a proper consumer model into retail stores in time for 2015 holiday shopping. There were a few 360° consumer cameras on the market, too. Facebook and YouTube added support for their video output in 2015, which treated people to a glimpse of “VR video”. Virtual reality was very niche in 2015, more for enthusiasts and less for average consumers, but then 2016 happened. It was billed as “The Year of Virtual Reality” even before it began and it certainly lived up to the title. Continue reading “A look back at the Year of VR”

Fostering advancement in 360 video techniques

In the early days of moving pictures it took a special sort of enthusiast to assemble a camera, acquire the film, and complete all of the necessary steps to make something that could be projected. The first films were all less than a minute in duration and recorded without sound. They had simple subject matter: workers leaving a factory, a strongman flexing his muscles, a group of people playing cards, and similar occurrences. This early work was often simple explorations of the equipment and subjects, but it laid the groundwork for artistic techniques to be developed as creators became comfortable with the tools. I’ve heard it said that 360° video is in the “Edison days” or the “Méliès days”. Those titles get followed up with the call to filmmakers to just start shooting 360° videos. Virtual reality needs volunteers to do the early work of making videos and possibly cementing their names as pioneers or visionaries. Continue reading “Fostering advancement in 360 video techniques”