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Virtual Reality in Cinema

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

Virtual reality has immense scope in cinema. In this article, I would discuss just one concept of utilization of virtual reality in creating interactive movies.

360 panoramic photography is no more a specialization. Many readers might have used it through their 360 cameras or even mobile phones. Very soon, this technology would pick up with the cinema too.

We can shoot high-resolution videos using special rigs involving multiple cameras in different directions. We shoot videos simultaneously through each camera, covering different directions from different cameras. Using specialized software, we stitch this video to form a spherical format. When users are placed in the center of this sphere, they see the video all around them. Perhaps some of us have been to dome theatres where the video is projected on half-sphere all around us and we feel to be a part of the video.

360 panoramic videos or spherical videos provide a similar experience. Users feel to be a part of the video and present at the situation. They can look around in any direction.

Present limitations of 360 videos are, users cannot change their positions and cannot interact with the video. They remain fixed in the center and just can look around. They cannot influence or change the video.

In real life, we see things around us and interact with them. If we choose some action, the environment around us changes. If we choose a different action, the environment changes differently. Imagine if we can do the same with the cinema. Imagine if we can be part of the movie and change things according to our will.

With virtual reality, this would be possible. Let us discuss how.

In another article, I have discussed pixel geometric 3D modeling. You need to read that article before going ahead from here. I would avoid repeating that topic here.

Through special rigs with multiple cameras installed, we shoot a video. We use many such rigs for a single video. Using the software, we remove impressions of the camera and the rig from the video. Needless to say, this is very easy and many readers would be doing it with photographs. Each rig shoots a panoramic video from a different perspective than the other. We combine all these videos using software and create a pixel geometric 3D model.

When we place users in this model. users can move around in any direction. Their perspective change with their navigation and their experience is similar to being present in the video. Next, we add interactivity to the video. Now, this is the difficult part. Once any user interacts with the video, it has to change accordingly. Another user may interact differently and the result has to be different. So, we need to make a script of all possible changes, or allowable changes users can make. We shoot the video on the same location with different scripts.

Now when we present the video to users, one, can navigate in the video, two, they can interact with video and make changes accordingly. Of course, they have limited choices to make changes, as there is a limit to the scripts. Each user can make changes according to individual choice and change the video.

This would create an extensive experience where users can watch a video with different scripts. Each time they watch the video, they can make different changes and experience a new video. A video shot once can be viewed multiple times by the same users.

Imagine if we could change the story of our favorite movies. If we could create our own storied and make actors perform according to our will. Well, this all is possible. Virtual reality soon would bring this technology.


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