University of Advancing Technology is an elite, private college that serves its student body by fostering knowledge creation and academic excellence in an environment that embraces the young technophiles of the world. With three centers of research and a suite of technology-centered undergraduate and graduate degrees, the University is a recognized leader in technology education.
How do you make a Virtual Reality (VR) Movie? I’m sure you’ve tested out a VR headset, whether it be a game or a short film, and thought, “Wow, this is pretty cool! But how do they do it?" How do they make it so realistic, how do they place you inside the game or the film? What goes into making a VR movie?
“The biggest challenge of making a VR movie is that you never quite know where the audience is going to be focusing their attention," said Hue Henry, a virtual reality professor at the University of Advancing Technology. In traditional filmmaking, one can generally assume that the audience is going to be looking where you point the camera, but in virtual reality, the audience could be looking above, below or even in the opposite direction of the elements you want them to see. "That's why it was important that we develop a system that takes user gaze into account when deciding what direction to take the story,” Hue said.
As a film student myself, I understand this conundrum. It is easy to focus the audience’s attention to what you want when you're pointing the camera in a specific direction, but when it comes to VR, the viewer can look anywhere they want. Realistically, the viewer is looking all over once they start watching the video. When you put a VR headset on what do you do? You turn around and look around all over, right? Exactly, I do it too. So Hue has a great point.
According to the digital hub ThinkMobiles, Making a 3D graphic VR film has multiple forms elements:
The ideal set of equipment you need to make a VR movie includes: Unity3D, a VR headset, a 360 degree camera and Google VR SDK.
To start, ideally you need to know, or know someone who knows, how to use the equipment. Hire someone to help you in Unity and operate the other equipment to get the best results. Also, you can figure out how to use the equipment if you don’t have anyone to help by watching YouTube tutorials and trying different things.
Are you a game developer interested in VR movie making? "One thing that surprised me about my experience making a VR movie is just how similar digital filmmaking and video game development can be. As technology advances, these two fields are steadily growing closer together and beginning to share technologies and areas of expertise," Hue said. This opens new doors for tech-savvy experts in either field.
So, when thinking of making a VR movie there are steps and equipment you need to see this out. If you’re going into this process blindly, I’d do a lot of research and recruit people with knowledge on VR movie making. Good luck on your VR movie making process and have fun!
Want to make VR movies with us? Check out our Bachelor of Science in Virtual Reality.
A long time ago in a Digital Video class far, far away...
In reality, four years ago several Digital Video majors, with help from faculty at UAT, produced the above video: Bohemian Rhapsody - Star Wars edition. What more than likely started as a fun idea and hilarious project, turned out to be a viral hit that's now approaching close to 5 million views.
The talent at UAT is always admirable, but some of the best ideas and projects come from students bouncing ideas off each other and having a good time in the common areas and labs. The Commons has been a co-working space for almost 10 years now and was an idea brought about by our staff prior to the current boom in "co-working" office spaces.
Now with the popular Bohemian Rhapsody movie, that just went over the $300 Million mark in the box offices, our student-created video above is getting some resurgence and we felt like it was a great time to showcase it once again.
If you'd like to learn more about the Digital Video program or any other technology degrees at UAT, follow this link: https://www.uat.edu/ to learn more!
If you haven't tried Klout yet, it's addictive. Klout provides a score based on your social influence using the sites you interact with such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. The Klout Score ranges from 0-100, with 0 meaning you have no influence, or haven't provided Klout links to any of your social profiles.
When you sign up for Klout, the software will ask you to sign-in to any social sites you belong to. Depending on your score, the Klout may advise you "to engage more with others or be more active to gain influence." Simply put, the more social engagement you have the higher your score.
Currently, Klout says they are working on measuring the influence of additional well known sites such Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, Wordpress, Last.fm, Flickr, and Facebook Pages. For now, you can just link them to your account.
But Klout may not be for everyone. Do you want one web service having access to all your social profiles? And, until the service adds Facebook Pages it may not be useful for web marketing consultants looking to leverage a business's social impact. The software is most useful in measuring your own influence. Along with your morning coffee, enjoy daily statistics (generated overnight) about how far your audience reaches.
In the tech world, UX designers are known as unicorns. They possess that elusive combination of visual design chops and technical skills. None of them grew up wanting to be a UX designer. Their job descriptions are all over the place, and companies can’t decide what to do with them. (So, they end up doing a little bit of everything.) UAT alumnus Brady Vontran’s path to UX design has been pretty typical because it has been atypical.
When Brady arrived at UAT, he wanted to be a graphic designer. “It was a super vague goal, but at least I had a direction,” he said. He spent most of his time at UAT studying design thinking, making logos and collaborating with his peers whose passion for design inspired him.
“In college, the path seemed really clear: Do well in school, finish your degree and get a job. The path to achieve it was really well laid out with lots of people ready to help you on the journey,” Brady remembered. “But life after college is very open ended with endless paths and journeys to pursue,” he added.
During this time, Brady also volunteered as a web designer for the Chron’s & Colitis Foundation. Hiring managers are always looking for employees who give back to the community and keep their skills fresh.
Then Brady joined the UX team at GoDaddy. After cruising through the initial phone interview, Brady buckled down for a four-hour interview and design challenge.
Brady drew wire frames on the white board, identified several design tweaks that would provide immediate value to users and explained his thought process. “The most important outcome was not to create a ground-breaking redesign or reinvent the wheel. The most important thing was to show my thought process, describe multiple ways to look at a problem, provide different solutions and decide which solutions to execute,” Brady said.
Brady manages the hosting and WordPress pages on GoDaddy’s ecommerce team. He is currently working on new ideas for WordPress! Outside of dev and design work, Brady’s job requires “daily project management, working across teams, understanding business objectives and aligning those objectives with the design goals.”
"Nail down the basics. Work on your soft skills. Build your portfolio."
Curious about a career in UX design? Check out our digital media degree program.
Information is not difficult to find. Search engines utilize web databases, reviewers’ blogs and RSS feeds. Practicing research techniques that help you become adept at locating the information you need is easy. But how do you know if the information is accurate or relevant?
So, we need an understanding of the diversity of information sources, which are largely developed through varied beliefs and influenced by social interactions.
To simplify, the information sources must be evidence-based science, innovative technological facts, non-biased ethical standards, and stem from global mindfulness. Below is a list of 5 ways to determine if the information you are gathering is reliable and timely.
1. Examine Sources
2. Reliable Tech Innovation
3. Evidence-based Science
4. Original Ideas and Experience
The above five bullet points are tenets I apply in my own research and teaching. In fact, information gathering and assimilating has become a bit of “telephone tag.” To resolve this, be proactive in obtaining information from reliable sources and pass them on with credit to the originators.
Here are a few facts that might cause all of us to pause: “According to the poll, conducted by Don Bates of The George Washington University:
Is Bates’ information reliable? To find out, I would need to go directly to GWU and look for scholarly articles written or published by Bates. I did and it was. But this is only the first step because the second step would be to find other statistics on the same topic from other sources to compare.
In the end, the onus is on us to do our own due diligence and get the facts straight! Difficult? Not too much. It can be a fun challenge.
Recently UAT Digital Video students entered and won "Best Technical," at an Inter-college 48-Hour Film Challenge. We spoke with the director, Brett Chapman to find out where the idea behind Reality Check originated.
Read our Q&A with Brett below:
UAT: That was a pretty realistic school shooting. Where did you get the idea for Reality Check? Were you afraid people may get offended and think your film is too similar to a real school shooting?
Brett: School shootings are a horrifying reality of today’s world. Fellow UAT Digital Video students, Brandon Scott, Jordan Wippell, Chase Harper, Tina Hyland and myself came up with the idea on the drive back from the 48-hour event where we were assigned the genre of horror and the prop of a #2 pencil. The goal was to find a topic that we could use to play with people’s fear. Using the pencil, we quickly came up with the idea of using a school, which led to the school shooting idea. With all the current school shootings and terrorist attacks we knew it would bring up a lot of questions and concerns. Being a horror genre-based film, we wanted people to ride out the controversial experience. Jordan Wippell and Brandon Scott came up with the virtual reality twist idea. From there our writer, Chase Harper, formulated the rest of the story.
UAT: We like the virtual reality tie into this short. It changed the feel of the movie toward the end, was that your intention?
Brett: The whole goal of filmmaking is to create something that makes people feel differently by the resolution. We wanted people to be afraid of the concept of being trapped in a classroom with an active shooter in the building. The end of course then leads into the far darker reality of the virtual reality twist. We blindsided the audience with the fear of the school shooting and then revealed the dark beginnings of an even more real killer.
UAT: A short film you directed, Reality Check, recently won "Best Technical" in the Fall 2015 Inter-College 48-Hour Film Challenge. Congratulations! Did you have the story in mind or did you write the film within the 48 hours?
Brett: The 48-Hour Film Challenge is intended to challenge students to completely produce a short story in 48 hours. The entire project was conceived and produced within the 48-hour time slot. Our short film, Up Route, which I wrote for last year’s 48-Hour Film Challenge gave us a little bit of an upper hand because we knew the challenge going in and we had worked with horror as a genre before.
UAT: Is this the first film you have directed? What do you think a good director should focus on?
Brett: This was the first big project that I have directed at UAT. As a director, I focus on blocking the actions out with the actors so that the cinematographer can get a clear picture of what needs to be captured. I also make sure that we get all the emotional beats and actions correct for continuity. I think it’s important as a director to be able to deal with problems on the set and to effectively portray my vision throughout.
UAT: It almost seems impossible to get everything accomplished in one weekend! Walk us through a 48-Hour Film Challenge. Where is it held? Where do you film? Do you have the cast pre-selected and on-call? What about camera equipment and props - what did you use and how did you have these items ready for the challenge? How long did you have for editing?
Brett: The 48-hour challenge started at the Grand Canyon University campus on Friday around 5 p.m. There we were assigned a prop, genre and a line to include. We were given horror, a #2 pencil and the line, “Let’s check it out.”
We came up with the plot in the car ride home and immediately started to write the script and formulate a call sheet when we got back to UAT. We tried to get as much pre-production done beforehand, but most of it took place within the 48. The main actor and possible shoot locations had been established earlier that week. The school just happened to work out perfect for our project as the shoot location and all the equipment and students were already at the school so we didn’t have to transport them to a separate location. The props and other actors were gathered while Chase was writing the script. We filmed all Friday night and rapped at about 5 a.m. on Saturday. For the shoot we used a variety of UAT’s equipment, including the Black Magic Cinema camera. Chase was on the main edit all day Saturday. We started filming again on Saturday night around 8 p.m. We filmed again all night and rapped early Sunday. That morning, we finished filming the virtual reality reveal and started work to finalizing the edit. We finished around 4 p.m. and headed over to GCU for the end of the event.
UAT: Wow, that takes some great time management skills! What other films in the 48-Hour Film Challenge did you think were inspiring or interesting and why?
Brett: The winner of the 48 was a charming Western that was about a cowboy being sent back in time and having to deal with the modern world. It was well written and followed a rhyming pattern. I found their use of the genre to be very unique and interesting.
UAT: What did you learn from this challenge? What would you have done differently? What did you find really worked well for your team during the challenge?
Brett: I found out a lot about film in the short 48 hours. Mainly, I discovered new insights into directing and managing things. I found a new appreciation for continuity with this 48. We had some minor issues with missing shots and camera angles. Overall, we were really prepared for the project and managed everything in a step-by-step process, which allowed everything to flow fairly smooth.
UAT: How many people worked on this film? What roles did they have in the film production process?
Brett: This project had a healthy sized team behind it. UAT produced the film and there were about 20 people working on the film. Brandon Scott was in charge of cinematography and producing. Jordon Wippell led lighting and sound. We had a variety of students in the DV101 class working as grips, actors and even on the final edit. Chase Harper led the edit. I directed and worked on the edit. We used Sapphire Tilmon, Paul Lopez, Chase Moudry, D.J. Carpenter, Patrick Keber, and Tony Bonanno as actors.
UAT: What plans do you have for entering Reality Check into film festivals?
Brett: We are currently working on final edits for the film as well as updating the title and credit sequences. Once it is complete we will put it on Filmfreeway.com and it will be submitted to festivals all around the world for one year.
UAT: Upon graduation from UAT, what would be your dream job in filmmaking?
Brett: My biggest dream is to become a big Hollywood director. If I could direct some of the new J.K Rowling films one day that would be my dream. I want to make films that I can be remembered for and that I could one day show my future children. One day I hope to write and direct my own full Hollywood feature.