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Guide to Virtual Reality Storytelling


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Beginners guide to create powerful stories in Virtual Reality. VR is a completely new medium that allows a lot more freedom than traditional filmmaking. Explore your options.

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Published in: Technology

Guide to Virtual Reality Storytelling

  1. 1. VR Storytelling Beginners Guide and Best Practices
  2. 2. VR is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an immersive experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are “immersed” and able to interact with 3D worlds. What is VR? In VR we create worlds and invite individuals to experience them.. This means that in VR you’re not just an observer but a participant in the story with an option to influence the story itself. That’s pretty rad! © Samsung Press
  3. 3. Dejan Gajsek is a VR evangelist and marketer in a VR startup: Viar360. His purpose is to educate and inspire the generation of VR filmmakers to create insanely good experiences in Virtual Reality and beyond. Based in Central Europe, Dejan has 6+ years experience in Digital Marketing and storytelling. The main focus is developing and adapting the Viar360 platform to VR producers to simplify their work. About the Author This guide is for everyone who is dipping their toes into Virtual Reality storytelling and filmmaking. This includes VR game developers, filmmakers and amateur enthusiasts who are discovering the freedom of the new medium. Who is this for?
  4. 4. Types of VR
  5. 5. Virtual Reality comes in different forms. Either Computer Generated Images (CGIs) and display live images from the physical or real world. There are Heads Up Displays [HUDs], or Heads Mounted Displays [HMDs] that can superimpose CGIs onto the real-world . This function is often referred as mixed or Augmented Reality. 360 degree video, also known as 3DVR and Stereoscopic VR, use multiple cameras that capture the the image from 360 degrees. 360 video is usually augmented with stereoscopic 3d which adds another level of immersion by adding depth between the foreground and background. This is achieved by shooting the scene with two lenses side by side, that give you a feeling of different vantage point per eye. It can appear strange if not done correctly, but great if done right. With stereoscopic 3D in VR, that depth information has to be overlaid and mapped to sphere. The goal of 360 and VR video is the same - total immersion of the viewer in the created world. Once the viewer feels comfortable in the created scene, we can serve him with a story.
  6. 6. What do I need to know about VR Storytelling vs Traditional Storytelling?
  7. 7. We have the ability to spread the word and show the people the freedom of the new medium, and we can make them comfortable with VR to use the right way - establishing new routines and especially showing them what they can do in the world you have created for them. VR will completely change the game when we figure it out. The POV and cinematography breaks the 4th wall that separates the actors, and the audience goes away. That’s why in VR you have to find creative solutions on how to guide your audience. The viewers of VR are not just passively looking at a flat screen your viewer is inside that “frame”, freely looking around and within the next few years, they’ll be able to move around too. Chris Milk, founder of VRSE and VRSE.Works calls VR the ultimate empathy machine. “VR is difficult to explain because it’s a very experiential medium. You feel your way inside of it. It’s a machine, but inside of it, it feels like real life, it feels like truth. And you feel present in the world that you’re inside and you feel present with the people that you’re inside of it with.”
  8. 8. Before you start filming… I mean creating stories
  9. 9. The first goal we have to achieve with the viewer is making him feel comfortable. Oculus Story Studio recommends 30 second introduction video. This will give the viewer time to adapt to the headset first and familiarize themselves with the new medium. This “settling in” period is enough for most people adapt to the environment and relax. First time viewers are used to watching flat screens; most likely they will just stare straight forward. You can use narrative voice or visual cues to encourage them to look around. Give your viewer a permission and encourage their curiosity. Tip 1: Ease it in
  10. 10. You will have to decide beforehand how do you want to treat your viewer. Would you like to guide him through the story and lead her where to look? Should we discourage a viewer from looking somewhere else? OR Give the viewer complete control of the situation? -- The important fact to remember is that our gaze is attracted to two things: movement and faces. -- Tip 2: Guide the Viewer’s Attention… Or not!
  11. 11. You have to trick the viewer’s brain the VR world is “real” by figuring out a way to trick the mind to accept things that are clearly not real. Use characters that look directly at the viewer. The intimate connection evokes authentic emotions of the actor and the viewer. This is a perfect example how VR has the power to break through the 4th wall. Tip 3: Presence Pixar’s Henry
  12. 12. A sudden shift from flat screen frame to a 3D immersive world can be confusing and overwhelming at first. If you’ve done a good job with settling in your viewer and making him or her feel comfortable you’ve completed the first goal. Oculus Story Studio is using the ritual of “Settling in & Setting the Scene”. In “Lost”, they used a firefly which flies a bit to left and right, just so the audience get used to the concept of looking around. The firefly is the only thing they see, before the mysterious forest appears. Tip 4: Pacing
  13. 13. In “Mass Effect”, a popular Sci-Fi Role Playing game, we are put in the role of Commander Shepard’s point of view. We are responsible for our spaceship, the SSV Normandy, its crew members, and choosing which mission to tackle. As we progress through the game, we are forced to make difficult decisions. The decisions carried huge consequences - death of a crew member, genocide of certain race, even the destruction of the whole planet. Tip 5: Conditional Storytelling Pixar’s Henry
  14. 14. Make mistakes because we will either learn something that doesn’t work or we’ll find an ingenious solution. Charles Goodyear accidentally invented vulcanized rubber when the combination of rubber and sulfur dripped on the hot stove. Much to Goodyear’s surprise, the rubber didn’t melt but actually hardened. This accidental product is used on almost every vehicle today - it’s your tires. Tip 6: Experiment
  15. 15. Product and services are always tested before release into the public. So should your VR creation. Since we have established a developmental l relationship with our work, we are not the right person for testing our design. We might be too critical or forgiving of our creation. Tip 7: Test, Test, Test
  16. 16. Hope these few tips will help you make absolutely amazing creations. I am super curious about your VR videos. If you have in mind creating “Choose Your Own Adventure” style stories in VR, I strongly recommend signing up with Viar360, since this would be one of main features. Get in Touch
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