As the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset grows in popularity ahead of its late 2014/early 2015 consumer release, it's already doing some pretty amazing things in beta. Though it's been designed primarily for 3D gaming VR, it can also do things like controlling aerial camera drones. Clearly in the near future there are going to be some passive film viewing applications for the Oculus -- Joe even posed the question here on No Film School earlier this year "will we watch movies like this in the future?" Well, if the company Jaunt VR has anything to say about it, the answer is YES. Jaunt has developed a unique 360 camera system specifically designed to capture footage for use with the Oculus Rift, and they are now in post-production on their own World War II short film The Mission by production company New Deal Studios.
The Jaunt VR is essentially a ring of cameras complimented by a binaural mic, set atop a base that can be attached to a mount. Jaunt is using a proprietary stitching algorithm to achieve the 3D video capture. The bad news is that it takes up to 15 seconds per one second of raw footage to process -- totally understandable given the amount of data moving through the pipes, but it's definitely a pretty severe lag compared to the live SD, CF, or SDD playback we "2D" filmmakers enjoy every day.
"Everything is different because everything is in the shot," Owen Remeika, a rep for Jaunt told Gizmodo on a recent overcast Sunday amid the cow pastures of Petaluma, California.
"Jaunt uses multiple lenses and sensors on their prototype camera to create immersive, stereographic, 360 degree VR video ("cinematic VR")," Jens Christensen, Jaunt VR CEO, told Gizmodo. "Unlike traditional 3D, there are no stereo pair cameras on the Jaunt camera. Instead, Jaunt's 3D is computed algorithmically."
You may be wondering how the director Matthew Gratzner monitored what was being captured on set, as the entire set has to be very clean of all crew and gear. According to this Reddit thread from Redditor clamch0wda (which appears to be commented on by several members of the crew), there is a single GoPro he could monitor with at the base of the camera. The pictures of Steadicam Operator A.J. Raitano back this up. I can only imagine the single wide front angle, combined with the exaggerated video lag time from the camera to process the footage on set, is excruciating for those at the video village who literally have to hide from set.
But hey -- maybe once you clear set, at least you know you can focus your attention on performance and not camera angling as much:
"What's exciting about it, I feel like we're in 1927 when sound was first being introduced," The Mission's director Matthew Gratzner told Gizmodo, "but what you have to realize is that you don't really have the ability to do coverage. In other words, you're looking 360 degrees so every time you're shooting something you have to be aware of someone or something you could see in the background [that shouldn't be there]. There is no 'behind the camera'."
In practice, I believe this speaks to the importance of a remarkably smooth DP/Steadicam Operator partnership. The director can always cut, but in a film like The Mission, every single take is a follow or lead, and a long take for that matter. I mean, can you imagine how much more difficult something like the famous True Detective's 6 minute long take would be with no hiding behind the camera? And for the immersive 3D experience, I can't imagine you'd want to be cutting forward in time too much. (Another fun aside: I find myself wanting to write with terms like "cutting around" -- but there really isn't any cutting "around", is there?)
Also of note, the Jaunt is on its second version -- V1 (pictured above) seems to resemble a bit of a camera pin cushion. Pretty amazing they've moved from that to a 360 ring of cams and two atop.
For more information about The Mission, be sure to check out New Deal Studios' The Mission VR Twitter feed.
So what do you think about the future vision here? We talk a lot about standard 2D camera tech, but as more Oculus Rift-friendly cameras such as the Jaunt VR are released and are refined, do you think a new type of 3D immersive filmmaking will become prevalent? Even overtaking 2D film? Or are we creating a new kind of immersive film altogether? Calling back to the post from earlier this year again -- will we be watching AND making films like this in the (near) future?
Congrats to New Deal Studios and Jaunt VR. Here's to hoping The Mission makes for an outstanding narrative experience in the Rift.
Link: On the Set of the Most Immersive WWII Movie Ever Made -- Gizmodo
[Photos 1 & 2 by Scott Broock, VP of Content, Jaunt VR]
[Photo 4 by Redditor clamch0dwa]
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This is an incredible undertaking. Traditionalists will probably bitch about it, but it's remarkable what someone is doing with this technology.
August 8, 2014 at 7:25PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Truly remarkable, isn't it? The notion that we'll one day soon be able to feel completely immersed in the world of the story rather than watching it, detached, on a relatively small rectangle is mesmerizing to me.
It's like watching people through a window having a picnic outside and then being given the opportunity to climb through the window and join the picnic rather than watching it.
August 9, 2014 at 6:21AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Let me just say, DREAM COME TRUE!
August 8, 2014 at 7:57PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I don't really get how that can be the future of filmmaking. Already 3D films are complicated to edit due to the fact that the eyes need more time to focus than in 2D shoots. IMO it's more a funny stuff than a tool i'd ever use even i had the opportunity. I'd rather stick to my 2D cams and Flat screen that i know everyone can enjoy.
August 8, 2014 at 10:41PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Traditionalists fear change. When the motion picture camera was first invented, stageplay directors scoffed at it and the notion of cinema as a legitimate art-form. Same goes for television, which was denigrated by movie studio heads that were sure that no one would want 'a stupid box in their house'. Paraphrasing their words.
All art is virtual reality, even your 2D media and now 3D immersive media where the viewer feels like they're actually IN the movie is the next inevitable step. There will be pioneers who will lead the way and those too afraid to blaze a trail in this new art-form will cling to what makes them feel safe.
August 9, 2014 at 6:16AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
This is one future of filmmaking - one that I am watching very closely and plan to embrace once the technology is out of its infancy. It is to filmmaking what the motion picture camera was to stage plays and I for one can't wait to get started...the format needs to grow, and storytelling will become more interactive, without doubt, but what I can't quite work out yet is exactly how much of the experience will be story and how much will be the viewer's free will. I have discussed it with some gamers I know and perhaps it is a different format we haven't experienced yet, but either way, it's something to be very, very excited about.
August 9, 2014 at 1:55AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
This development is very interesting indeed, it goes several steps beyond the limited 3D experience which current cinema and 3D TV offer. If successful, I do wonder about the future of the cinema theater. The 3D VR experience is very much a personal experience, for a single person with their personal VR set mounted on their head. Each person in their own world so to say.
PS: I have an Oculus Rift DK2: the resolution is still limited (things look way to pixelated) but the experience is amazing. Also check this: http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/14/5612674/sir-david-attenborough-is-worki...
August 9, 2014 at 1:58AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
The question at the end is odd "will we be watching AND making films like this in the (near) future?". NO! Because these guys are doing it already. NOW!
But if this was meant in the sense like: Is this how all/most movies will be made? Again, NO! Because it's limiting how and what kind of movies can be made. Anyone here believes that full metal jacket, clockwork Orange, fight club or seven could have been made as they were made with this technology or in stereo 3d, with the exact same psychological effect on the audience?
In case you answer with yes then you have no idea about film/story telling and should flip burgers instead.
August 9, 2014 at 2:00AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
All art forms have their rules. You can't make a play like a movie. You can't make a movie like a TV show. You can't make a video game like a play. Virtual reality filmmaking will establish its own rules just like its predecessors and will offer something that is exclusive to that art form.
August 9, 2014 at 6:18AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
This would be great for real estate walk-throughs.
Did I miss the part where it explains how the camera operator would not be visible?
August 9, 2014 at 7:14AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I've been banging on about this for a while now and really want to create a cinematic experience for Oculus one day! In my opinion, this really is the future of storytelling but please don't get that twisted... I don't think this will replace today's movies any more than movies replaced books or video games have replaced movies. I think they will co-exist as two completely different mediums with the Oculus being a hybrid of video games and movies and they will be completely different disciplines. I will still enjoy film making as it is right now or however it will evolve in the future but god DAMN I'm excited to start creating with this technology! I'm drooling at the possibilities :)
August 9, 2014 at 9:26AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Using the GoPro at the front seems like a perfect match seeing as how the Jaunt V1 was just a bunch of GoPro cameras mounted vertically around the ring...
August 9, 2014 at 4:28PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I don't seeing this being the method of the creation of the movies. I'm guessing likely it will be more cleverly done in a green room and have cameras setup up in a more traditional way and allow for post processing stitching and set 3D decoration process. This Multi-camera rig is more like a test run of an immersive technology - not the solutions to the creation of it.
August 9, 2014 at 11:57PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I'll just leave this here...
August 10, 2014 at 4:18AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I literally just the other day started laying out an idea to shoot something like this - gutted I didn't get there first but these guys have pulled it off with superb execution. It was the whole video versions of "panoramic planets" vibe that I was going to go for but they have have pulled that off brilliantly :) Nice share dude!
August 10, 2014 at 8:48AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
In fact - DAMN I'm behind the times. This is pretty neat too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPtvqouhfos
August 10, 2014 at 8:50AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
I honestly don't understand exactly how it could be enjoyable to have something happening in a scene and want to be able to see a part of the action that's meaningless. When you watch The Godfather, shots and dialog are where they are for a reason. How does the experience improve because I can turn my head around?
Maybe it's the new IMAX in it's ability to be immersive or give you that cinemascope feeling but IMAX isn't a new art form or medium or an influence upon narrative. This is not as revolutionary as people think.
Am I wrong and being a backwards Luddite, resistant to change? I want to be apart of the future but I feel like John Wayne at the end of The Searchers, as if I'm not ready for it because it's remarkably perplexing.
August 14, 2014 at 5:38PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
It's not about being able to see behind the actors, it's the stereoscopic 3D (completely different from the usual 3D you see in movie theaters or tvs) that gives you a natural sense of depth and as a result the sense of presence. I don't know if you ever tried the Oculus Rift devkit 2 but in some of the demos available you feel like you are INSIDE the virtual space. It's hard to explain, you just have to try it and if you can have the same kind of experience in a movie, then it'll be awesome.
August 19, 2014 at 5:15AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
No it's not the future of film making but it is another tool that will have applications in many forms of media of which movies will play a part. I have a couple of ideas how to use it like maybe footage for an indie scale front projection setup as used for Oblivion.
August 14, 2014 at 7:03PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Having used the Occulus Rift, I'm confident it will be a game changer in a big way unless something crazy happens.
I'm very anti-3D in it's current implementation, but I see a lot of potential with the Rift and 3D cinema. I don't think it's going to over take, and/ or destroy, traditional cinema but there are definitely some amazing possible applications.
I still see the Rift as being primarily a gaming revolution, but I like the potential of it, combined with the Jaunt system for things like games of movies for full immersion, or for more realistic tours of far off places you might not be able to go- basically Circle Vision I guess...
August 15, 2014 at 11:14AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Blew my socks off!!! This is a life like version of the 1983 movie Brainstorm. A brave new cinema frontier, but not one for the faint hearted... it's application in combination with the sensor feeds from the devices like the Oculus Rift will ring in a new era of entertainment. It stitches it all together bringing virtual reality, 3D Cinema and Gaming to life. The use of headsets makes for a full immersion experience without the need for a panoramic theater. The next obvious step is to create affordable capsules that let your body experience what your eyes are seeing. Chairs mounted on multi-axis gimbals, sensitive to the viewers movements and hurling the viewer's body through the movements of the visual esperience. Cold and hot air, bass woofers, vibrations, water mists, canned scent packs, Shall we call it Surreal Simulation (C) - If Tom Edison were caught wind of these bubble cameras it would give him a woody!
August 25, 2014 at 5:38PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM