VR Research

NYTVR – ‘The Fight for Fulluja’

I think that the VR on ‘The fight for Falluja’ is very informative as to what has actually happened to the country due to the attacks by the ISIS rebels/fighters. The experience gives you a realistic feel as to the destruction that they have caused within Falluja itself. I think it is quite successful as it lets you experience first hand with battles which the Iraqi forces endured to retake the city of Falluja from ISIS. The footage gives you an insight into how the the civilians of Falluja have been affected by the ISIS rebels, showing interviews of two families in particular and one man talking about how he has rebuilt his house twice already only for it to be destroyed for a third time. Whilst showing the interviews with the families, the footage shows the refugee camp which has been set up for them after the devastation that has been caused. 

‘The March for our Lives’

  • The demonstrations took place to protest mass shootings and gun shootings 
  • hundreds of thousands of people, including teenage survivors os shootings gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue in a call for action 

I think that this VR footage on the march is effective, but maybe not as effective as the fight for Falluja as that one gives you a real insight into being on the front line with the Iraqi soldiers. I think the ‘March for our Lives’ VR experience is still effective as it shows the vast amount of people who took part in the march which is quite moving. I there was some footage of actually being in the march itself then this might make it a bit more interesting as then you’d be right in the middle of the action. This might also show some of the peoples emotions as well which might have been interesting to see. 

Guardian VR – 6×9

I really enjoyed this VR experience of 6×9, I thought that this VR was really informative and effective and really got you into the mindset of someone who is in solitary confinement. This puts the point across of what the day to day experience of someone who is in that confinement suffers from and has to deal with.

  • people are in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day
  • their last meal is at 4pm and then don’t get their next one until 6am the next morning
  • there’s so many reasons as to why people are put into solitary confinement
  • high rates of suicide and self harm
  • there are physical and physiological effects of being in confinement and not having that human contact
  • 80,000 people are currently in solitary confinement 

6×9 shares a lot of information as what goes on on a day to day basis, sharing the time you get your meals and how the last meal is at 4pm and how you should savour and keep your food as you won’t get another meal until 6am the next morning. With this VR I also like how they showed all the reasons for why you can be put into solitary confinement, some of them probably being more reasonable than others, I think putting them around the walls is an effective way of showing people what you can be put in there for as the walls are the only four walls you’ll see for most of your day in the cell. I think that the whole experience really shows how lonely confinement is, being in a cell for 23 hours a day with nothing really to do, no human contact; that to me is quite traumatising and you can rally understand why people suffer physical and physiological problems and also why people self harm and commit suicide whilst being in there.

I think that this VR experience so far has been the most head turning one, understanding what these people have to go through everyday and how they must feel is heart wrenching to think about. 

‘The Party’

I think that ‘The Party’ VR produces a lot of information into the explanation of what it is like for someone on the autism spectrum in social situations. The focus on girls on the autistic spectrum is particularly focused upon in this VR experience as the central focus is the girl, especially as girls are less likely to be diagnosed due to them being able to hide their symptoms of it so well. I think that all the visual effects used in the VR, like the distortion of certain aspects can really get you into the mindset of the girl and how her brain reacts to things. I think this is particularly important in the understanding of how autistic people react to things and their emotions that they feel at the time. The VR footage is effective and can get people to understand the effects of autism especially in girls. The footage also contains people talking about the autistic spectrum and how they didn’t know that girls were normally diagnosed with autism; so it shows how little people now or notice it in girls. 

Extra Videos

NYTVR – ‘Man on Spire’

  • shows Jimmy Chin climb to the top of 1 World Trade centre (408ft)
  • Chin is a professional mountaineer, filmmaker and photographer

The video captures Chin climbing up the spire of the world trade centre capturing the stunning views of the New York skyline and the vast city below him. He has one person with him who is certified to do manual inspection, Jamison Walsh. He wanted to shoot Jamison on the needle to bring that human element to the shots. The rest of the video shows both Chin and Walsh climbing up the needle and then Chin capturing images whilst up the needle. He captures Walsh hanging off the needle and climbing up it to create that human element he requires. I think ‘Man on Spire’ is effective as it shows the drastic measures that photographers will go to to capture their perfect shots for their work. I think it isn’t of the faint hearted doing something like what Chin has done however, I think being a mountaineer he is used to doing things like that. 

‘Walking New York’

  • on busy sidewalks almost 40% of the people are immigrants carrying around their stories and dreams with them 
  • the New York Times magazine worked with French artist JR to create a giant image of one such immigrant and placed it in the centre of Manhattan 
  • JR himself is an immigrant
  • he had a team of people helping him connect the print together as there were so many sections 
  • they worked together through the night on the pasting of the print in the city
  • every pasting connects people according to JR
  • people would walk on the pasting and not even notice it
  • the most important part in this piece is that all the immigrants that came to New York like JR are in the shadows of the city
  • they posted the print on the cover of the New York Times magazine and now every immigrant in New York is in the shadow but him, he is in the light
  • it is just another story 
  • each time JR taps on the shoulder of these people he feels closer to the world 

I enjoyed this VR experience and thought that it was very interesting and informative in relation to the people of New York. I didn’t realise just how many people were immigrants in the city; I think that the amount of work that JR put into this was incredible and to get the help from all those other people was quite amazing as well. 


Equipment needed for VR

  • the equipment varies depending on the type of shoot, what they are shooting and of course the budget
  • camera equipment can vary from high end 3D 360 video systems -Google Jump, Nokia OZO or GoPro based monoscopic systems

How much does production cost?

  • there isn’t really a defined answer to how much production can cost
  • before people can quote for a job, they need to understand who the user would be and how they are going to use the footage
  • some projects could start from £15,000 and go up to hundreds of thousands
  • if the budget is tighter then there are ways to get around this by reducing the team size, hiring less lighting, minimising time on location/set, using simpler camera software or spending less time in post

Who do you need on a shoot?

  • VR director
  • VR DOP
  • 360 audio specialist
  • riggers
  • the number of people depends on the type of shoot and of course the budget available

Will photographers be required to generate VR footage in the near future?

  • I think it all depends what sort of photography people do, I think that photographers would be required to produce VR footage if they were documentary of photojournalistic photographers rather than someone who is doing food or product photography. I think maybe in the future food or product photographers could be required to make some VR footage maybe of them making their dishes or something like that but at the moment it is more relevant for documentary photographers, people who are capturing footage for newspapers etc.

How is 360 VR made?

  • the equipment: 3D printed camera rigs holding between 6 or 10 GoProp Hero4 cameras in a spherical shape. Each camera is mounted at a specific angle to eliminate any page of footage.
  • there are many ways to hold up camera rig with the tripod or monopod being the most common. However, you can hang it, hold it up drone it and more
  • when shooting 360 you have to consider that everything in the view of the camera will be in the shot. Crew, lights, microscopes, everything
  • you need to consider the placement of the camera in the scene and you need to consider what role the person wearing the VR headset will take
  • you also need to consider the camera movement and bear in mind that whatever is controlling the motion will be in the video

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