Video and Solution Brief[/caption]
The rapid growth of Virtual Reality creates an opportunity and a challenge for those of us in marketing and entertainment. How do we share the virtual reality experience in a compelling way for the flat screen world?
The answer has resoundingly been Mixed Reality – a way to show the in game action layered with real life video of the player. We’ve been working on a tutorial for a client about getting started in Mixed Reality. It’s still a bit of a Wild West experience, with a lot of trial and error and a few funky hacks to make it all work. In the process of putting together those first steps, we’ve also been incidentally compiling a lot of mixed reality tips and tricks to take it beyond basic.
The Learning Curve:
1. The Green Screen really needs to be a Green Room, with the Green Floor being a critical element.
Your VR player is going to move around. Depending on the game, she might move around a lot! If your camera is also on the move, you risk some background creep in your shot. Ideally, you’ll want to build yourself a nice, tight green cube for your player area.
2. Raise the wires.
We have no doubt wireless is the next step for VR freedom. For now, though, you don’t want your player to be tripping over the wires, you might try to find a way to lift the wire from the Head Mounted Display. Obviously, this is easier in a studio than it might be in a living room.
3. Dress for success.
This is theater, after all, you’re going to need a costume. If your game is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, don’t be afraid to get a little Mad Max with your outfit. It’ll just look better.
4. Slating saves time.
When you’re ready to film, keep in mind that you are eventually going to have to sync up footage from the real life camera and the controller. This is easier if you have a solid sync point. This can be as simple as having your player face the camera and make a few big moves with the controllers, then tap them together before she starts playing. Your compositor will thank you.
5. Your hardware matters; that’s just common sense.
The better your camera, the better your results are going to be. Please do NOT try to get by with a cheap webcam. Also, stabilization is critical. Camera wobbles will create big visual problems down the line. That means you’ll either need a stabilizing rig like this one by Movi, or you’ll want to shoot from a stationary position.
6. Frame rate fun.
One of the challenges we ran into stemmed from the different frame rates for the real life vs. game footage. Shooting at 60fps to match the game’s frame rate seems like an easy fix, but it actually creates more visual problems than it solves. For a more natural sense of movement in the final product, we’ve had the best luck playing with motion blur in post to smooth everything out.
We found a lot of helpful resources while we were researching for our own mixed reality videos. If you’re working in Mixed Reality, Kert Gartner has some great insights into the process.
And if you haven’t already gone through the incredibly painful process of syncing up your real life camera with your controller, we recommend using this wonderful tool by Tribal Instincts.
There you go! We hope that these mixed reality tips are helpful. Let us know if you have any specific questions we could answer.