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VR: ‘American Cinematographer’ Checks Out the Latest Developments

American Cinematographer‘s European-based journalist Benjamin B. reports from Forza d’Agro in Sicily, where he was attending theTerre diCinemacinematography event.

Breaking his coverage down into 5 pieces, he covers several key VR issues. Samples below:

1. Headsets: “The genius of the Google Cardboard system lies in designing a cheap piece of cardboard with two plastic magnifying lenses that can be used with your existing smartphone to create a Virtual Reality viewing system. In my previous post I mentioned some inexpensive headsets: Google Cardboard version 1 (with left-hand magnets), Google Cardboard version 2 (with right-hand cardboard switch), and plastic goggle glasses (marketed by Fincloud and others).

2. The Cardboard app: “The Cardboard app’s home menu lets you choose a VR experience by turning your head. Below are screen shots from the Urban Hiker selection, which puts you into 3-D 360-degree still frames shot in major cities. You can follow arrows to see other views, or get to other cities by looking down at your feet. Depending on your headset model, the “click” can be done via the left-hand magnet or the right-hand cardboard button, or with a touch of the screen.”

3. Earth maps: “The main idea of equirectangular projection is to give each horizontal latitude the same length on the map. Therefore the greatest distortionoccurs near the North and South Poles, where very short latitude rings get stretched out to be as long as the equator.”

4. Blanca Li 360: “Blanca Li 360 is a pioneering 2-D VR dance video. Noted choreographer Blanca Li created a wonderful, zany piece in a huge, open office space, which starts as a tame working environment and transforms into a whirlwind performance with the troupe dancing on tables, stairs and chairs with pens, papers and folders.”

5. Camera issues: “The 2-camera scenario above can be seen as an elementary multi-camera system for creating 360-degree VR.

The 2-take shooting here is a special case, as most filmmakers would want 2 or more cameras to shoot simultaneous events. However, not shooting the 2 angles simultaneously allows the 2 camera sensors to occupy the same sphere-center position.