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VR Cinematography Best practices
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VR Cinematography Best practices

Fahnon
 

Hi Everyone,

I'm going to shoot my first VR production in about a month.  It will be VR180, not a full 360, and is a self-financed proof of concept where I'm directing and shooting, so I can be experimental.  I was wondering if anyone here has already tacked this and can give any insight or sample footage they can share.  I'm really concerned with directing the viewer's attention, which sound will be important for, and not making the viewer sick with dramatic camera movement.

For camera choice, I'm starting with an Insta360 Evo as it's the only consumer camera that shoots VR180 and 360; and has manual exposure controls with a log profile.  If all goes well and I want to up the production values, I'll move up to something like the ZCam or a custom mirrorless 3D rig on the next one.

I'm pretty excited about this relatively new area of filmmaking!

--
Fahnon Bennett
Filmmaker/Photographer
Brooklyn, New York
323.375.4332

Art Adams
 

Very cool. VR is fun. It’s very different, but that’s what is so interesting about it. No one has figured out a way to use it really effectively to tell stories yet, which means there’s lots of room to figure things out.

 

If you’re shooting experiential stuff, then VR becomes a lot easier.

 

For dramatic work, you’re composing in space more than anything else. Depth should vary, because being equally distant from everything is boring. If you’re in a room, put the camera closer to one wall than another. Stage furniture at different distances from the camera. It’s always nice to give the audience a close reference if you’re shooting 3D.

 

If you move the camera, it should make sense in the context of the shot. Dolly shots don’t always work well unless you’ve created an environment where the viewer should think of themselves as moving (such as inside a car or other vehicle).

 

If the viewer is moving, it helps to give them a reference. They should see part of the structure of the thing that is causing them to move. That helps prevent motion sickness.

 

For 180, composition is lot easier. There’s a tendency to put everything in the center of the frame in 360 VR, which is boring to me, but the tendency is for the viewer to look straight ahead, so you have to lead them around. In 180 you still have to do this, but to a lesser extent, and using the center of the frame makes more sense.

 

The attention cues are up to you. Could be motion in the frame, sounds, subtle lighting cues. It’s nice if they’re fluid and not obvious.

 

If your rig is a 180 rig, and it’s 3D, then you probably aren’t capturing 3D at the edges of the frame, so that’s something to look at creatively.

 

If you’re not shooting 3D, then you’ll have to create depth with contrast and color.

 

The one thing that’s always an afterthought in VR is the lighting, but it’s insanely important. Lighting in VR is equal parts artistry and set decoration.

 

It’s been a year since I last shot VR, so I’m sure I’m missing something. Since it’s your rig, I’d just shoot some test material with it and see what works and what doesn’t. You can also find VR forums on the Internet, and VR groups in different regions (there’s a sizable community in San Francisco, for example) who are fairly fanatical about VR and usually happy to help—although some of these groups are more focused on gaming than live action.

 

Art Adams

Cinema Lens Specialist

 

Our Burbank office has moved! You can now find us at 3700 Vanowen Street, Burbank, CA 91505.

 

ARRI Inc.
3700 Vanowen Street
Burbank, CA 91505
Phone:  (818) 841-7070
Fax:     (818) 848-4028

Get all the latest information from www.arri.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

 

 


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Fahnon
 

Wow thanks for taking the time to write this up, Art.

That's what's so exciting to me about VR; with traditional filmmaking, it's, well... traditional.  There's over a hundred years of very smart and creative people refining ways to tell stories in 2D film and TV, and VR offers more potential to innovate at the ground floor if that's what you want to do.  

I want to try to crack the egg of narrative more so than experiential, and lighting is a top concern.  I'm thinking a fixture that I can spot from outside the frame (like Source Fours) combined with practicals might be a good starting point.  This will be 3D 180, so your tip about using walls to create depth is a great one (as were your others).  

Then camera movement is the next biggest concern, only because I'm betting I can leave the camera stationary and level and get good results, but I'd love to use movement creatively.  

You're right that testing is going to have to be a big part of even a small project because we're all figuring this out, which is what's so exciting about it to me.

If it's no trouble for you, I'd love to see some of what you shot in VR.

On Fri, Jun 21, 2019 at 3:10 PM Art Adams <aadams@...> wrote:

Very cool. VR is fun. It’s very different, but that’s what is so interesting about it. No one has figured out a way to use it really effectively to tell stories yet, which means there’s lots of room to figure things out.

 

If you’re shooting experiential stuff, then VR becomes a lot easier.

 

For dramatic work, you’re composing in space more than anything else. Depth should vary, because being equally distant from everything is boring. If you’re in a room, put the camera closer to one wall than another. Stage furniture at different distances from the camera. It’s always nice to give the audience a close reference if you’re shooting 3D.

 

If you move the camera, it should make sense in the context of the shot. Dolly shots don’t always work well unless you’ve created an environment where the viewer should think of themselves as moving (such as inside a car or other vehicle).

 

If the viewer is moving, it helps to give them a reference. They should see part of the structure of the thing that is causing them to move. That helps prevent motion sickness.

 

For 180, composition is lot easier. There’s a tendency to put everything in the center of the frame in 360 VR, which is boring to me, but the tendency is for the viewer to look straight ahead, so you have to lead them around. In 180 you still have to do this, but to a lesser extent, and using the center of the frame makes more sense.

 

The attention cues are up to you. Could be motion in the frame, sounds, subtle lighting cues. It’s nice if they’re fluid and not obvious.

 

If your rig is a 180 rig, and it’s 3D, then you probably aren’t capturing 3D at the edges of the frame, so that’s something to look at creatively.

 

If you’re not shooting 3D, then you’ll have to create depth with contrast and color.

 

The one thing that’s always an afterthought in VR is the lighting, but it’s insanely important. Lighting in VR is equal parts artistry and set decoration.

 

It’s been a year since I last shot VR, so I’m sure I’m missing something. Since it’s your rig, I’d just shoot some test material with it and see what works and what doesn’t. You can also find VR forums on the Internet, and VR groups in different regions (there’s a sizable community in San Francisco, for example) who are fairly fanatical about VR and usually happy to help—although some of these groups are more focused on gaming than live action.

 

Art Adams

Cinema Lens Specialist

 

Our Burbank office has moved! You can now find us at 3700 Vanowen Street, Burbank, CA 91505.

 

ARRI Inc.
3700 Vanowen Street
Burbank, CA 91505
Phone:  (818) 841-7070
Fax:     (818) 848-4028

Get all the latest information from www.arri.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

 

 


This message is confidential. It may also be privileged or otherwise protected by work product immunity or other legal rules. If you have received it by mistake, please let us know by e-mail reply and delete it from your system; you may not copy this message or disclose its contents to anyone. Please send us by fax any message containing deadlines as incoming e-mails are not screened for response deadlines. The integrity and security of this message cannot be guaranteed on the Internet.




This email has been scanned for email related threats and delivered safely by Mimecast.
For more information please visit http://www.mimecast.com



--
Fahnon Bennett
Filmmaker/Photographer
Brooklyn, New York
323.375.4332

Art Adams
 

Very little of my VR work is publicly available. It was proof-of-concept material for a large Silicon Valley company that we shot as they were perfecting the rig. I’ll see what I can find.

 

Art Adams

Cinema Lens Specialist

 

Our Burbank office has moved! You can now find us at 3700 Vanowen Street, Burbank, CA 91505.

 

ARRI Inc.
3700 Vanowen Street
Burbank, CA 91505
Phone:  (818) 841-7070
Fax:     (818) 848-4028

Get all the latest information from www.arri.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

 

 


This message is confidential. It may also be privileged or otherwise protected by work product immunity or other legal rules. If you have received it by mistake, please let us know by e-mail reply and delete it from your system; you may not copy this message or disclose its contents to anyone. Please send us by fax any message containing deadlines as incoming e-mails are not screened for response deadlines. The integrity and security of this message cannot be guaranteed on the Internet.




This email has been scanned for email related threats and delivered safely by Mimecast.
For more information please visit http://www.mimecast.com

Daniel Chung
 

Fahnon, if you haven’t already done so check out Sarah Redohl’s Immersive Shooter website www.immersiveshooter.com (full disclosure - I helped her start it). It should have many of the answers you are looking for.

Dan 

On Fri, 21 Jun 2019 at 19:46, Fahnon <fahnon@...> wrote:
Hi Everyone,

I'm going to shoot my first VR production in about a month.  It will be VR180, not a full 360, and is a self-financed proof of concept where I'm directing and shooting, so I can be experimental.  I was wondering if anyone here has already tacked this and can give any insight or sample footage they can share.  I'm really concerned with directing the viewer's attention, which sound will be important for, and not making the viewer sick with dramatic camera movement.

For camera choice, I'm starting with an Insta360 Evo as it's the only consumer camera that shoots VR180 and 360; and has manual exposure controls with a log profile.  If all goes well and I want to up the production values, I'll move up to something like the ZCam or a custom mirrorless 3D rig on the next one.

I'm pretty excited about this relatively new area of filmmaking!

--
Fahnon Bennett
Filmmaker/Photographer
Brooklyn, New York
323.375.4332

Andy Jarosz
 

From an emotional point of view, remember that in VR, things can feel
significantly more real and visceral. Having an actor close to the
camera in a traditional film can be an artistic choice. Having an actor
close to the camera in VR can feel like an uncomfortable invasion of
personal space. Whether that power is used for good or evil is up to
you, but just know that it's power you wield.

Another effect of this, is that even doing nothing can sometimes be
totally acceptable. There's a "wow" factor of simply finding yourself
transported into a new location, and it can take a minute or so to get
used to your new surroundings, much less be prepared for action or
camera movement.

Speaking of, camera movement is tricky. In the olden days (...like 2016)
there was a big push to make all VR experiences as comfortable as
possible, not to take any risk of causing nausea or simulator sickness.
The idea was when VR was new, there was a high possibility that whoever
was watching your content was experiencing VR itself for the first time,
and causing them to vomit would generally be seen as a bad first experience.

In the last year or so, this rule has more or less fallen by the
wayside. Partially it's because content creators were just tired of
following rules, but additionally, audiences are also far more
acclimatized to VR. There's a much higher chance that whoever is
watching your content already had their "VR legs" and can stomach a
little artificial locomotion.

Finally, keep in mind that unless your audience has blown an astonishing
amount of money on their headset and a PC to drive it, you're not
exactly going to be dealing with Retina-screen pixel densities. Small
text will completely get lost, and fine or distant detail will simply
not be visible. There are a couple other quirks, like the lenses causing
so-called "God-ray" artifacts that can make high-contrast scenes
difficult to see, but these are things that you'll have to determine the
extent to which they affect your personal content, if at all.

Best,

--
Andy Jarosz
MadlyFX Special Effects & Props
Andy@...
708.420.2639
Chicago, IL


On 6/21/2019 1:46 PM, Fahnon wrote:
Hi Everyone,

Geoff Boyle
 

Is there a need for a VR forum here?

 

cheers
Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS
EU based cinematographer
+31 637155076

www.gboyle.nl

www.cinematography.net

 

 

daveblackham@...
 

Definitely a need for a VR Forum, it should include related topics such as Volumetric Capture and Motion Capture too which are emerging and seems there little information about it all.

Geoff Boyle
 

So go and join cml-VR@... 😊

 

cheers
Geoff Boyle NSC FBKS
EU based cinematographer
+31 637155076

www.gboyle.nl

www.cinematography.net

 

 

From: cml-general@... <cml-general@...> On Behalf Of daveblackham via Cml.News
Sent: 22 June 2019 07:46
To: cml-general@...
Subject: Re: [cml-general] VR Cinematography Best practices

 

Definitely a need for a VR Forum, it should include related topics such as Volumetric Capture and Motion Capture too which are emerging and seems there little information about it all.

Fahnon
 

Thanks Dan, this looks like a great resource.

On Fri, Jun 21, 2019 at 20:29 Daniel Chung <pressphotographer@...> wrote:
Fahnon, if you haven’t already done so check out Sarah Redohl’s Immersive Shooter website www.immersiveshooter.com (full disclosure - I helped her start it). It should have many of the answers you are looking for.

Dan 

On Fri, 21 Jun 2019 at 19:46, Fahnon <fahnon@...> wrote:
Hi Everyone,

I'm going to shoot my first VR production in about a month.  It will be VR180, not a full 360, and is a self-financed proof of concept where I'm directing and shooting, so I can be experimental.  I was wondering if anyone here has already tacked this and can give any insight or sample footage they can share.  I'm really concerned with directing the viewer's attention, which sound will be important for, and not making the viewer sick with dramatic camera movement.

For camera choice, I'm starting with an Insta360 Evo as it's the only consumer camera that shoots VR180 and 360; and has manual exposure controls with a log profile.  If all goes well and I want to up the production values, I'll move up to something like the ZCam or a custom mirrorless 3D rig on the next one.

I'm pretty excited about this relatively new area of filmmaking!

--
Fahnon Bennett
Filmmaker/Photographer
Brooklyn, New York
323.375.4332

--
Fahnon Bennett
Filmmaker/Photographer
Brooklyn, New York
323.375.4332

Fahnon
 

Great things to consider as both cinematographer and director. In fact the more I think on it the more I think those two roles will be closer when shooting VR material than they are typically. 

I tend to want the camera to only move when motivated all the time anyway, and your points (and Art’s) make it sound like that’s just a best practice with VR. 


On Fri, Jun 21, 2019 at 23:38 Andy Jarosz <andy@...> wrote:
From an emotional point of view, remember that in VR, things can feel
significantly more real and visceral. Having an actor close to the
camera in a traditional film can be an artistic choice. Having an actor
close to the camera in VR can feel like an uncomfortable invasion of
personal space. Whether that power is used for good or evil is up to
you, but just know that it's power you wield.

Another effect of this, is that even doing nothing can sometimes be
totally acceptable. There's a "wow" factor of simply finding yourself
transported into a new location, and it can take a minute or so to get
used to your new surroundings, much less be prepared for action or
camera movement.

Speaking of, camera movement is tricky. In the olden days (...like 2016)
there was a big push to make all VR experiences as comfortable as
possible, not to take any risk of causing nausea or simulator sickness.
The idea was when VR was new, there was a high possibility that whoever
was watching your content was experiencing VR itself for the first time,
and causing them to vomit would generally be seen as a bad first experience.

In the last year or so, this rule has more or less fallen by the
wayside. Partially it's because content creators were just tired of
following rules, but additionally, audiences are also far more
acclimatized to VR. There's a much higher chance that whoever is
watching your content already had their "VR legs" and can stomach a
little artificial locomotion.

Finally, keep in mind that unless your audience has blown an astonishing
amount of money on their headset and a PC to drive it, you're not
exactly going to be dealing with Retina-screen pixel densities. Small
text will completely get lost, and fine or distant detail will simply
not be visible. There are a couple other quirks, like the lenses causing
so-called "God-ray" artifacts that can make high-contrast scenes
difficult to see, but these are things that you'll have to determine the
extent to which they affect your personal content, if at all.

Best,

--
Andy Jarosz
MadlyFX Special Effects & Props
Andy@...
708.420.2639
Chicago, IL


On 6/21/2019 1:46 PM, Fahnon wrote:
Hi Everyone,

--
Fahnon Bennett
Filmmaker/Photographer
Brooklyn, New York
323.375.4332