Quiet on Set: Our Intro to VR Production

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After three weeks of introductions, trying VR experiences, and learning from the experts, the class was ready to tackle our first project: a virtual reality tour of Wallis Annenberg Hall.

Professor Robert Hernandez presented us with the task of creating a VR tour of the new Wallis Annenberg Hall, led by Annenberg‘s leaders, to be shown at 2015 Online News Association conference in Los Angeles.

The outline of the tour was planned: Dean Ernest Wilson would intro the viewer to the Annenberg Building, Willow Bay, director of the School of Journalism, would give a tour of the Media Center and Director of the School of Communication, Sarah Banet-Weiser would talk about the classrooms and other features of the building programs.

The week before our main day of production, a few of us in the class got together with Hernandez and Journalism Master’s Programs Coordinator, Professor Vince Gonzales, to do a production test with our equipment.

This test was very helpful in allowing us to learn what we needed to do for the final production.

“We learned how many steps there were and what it actually takes to set up. This isn’t just like doing a regular broadcast piece, it’s a lot more complicated than that.” – Meghan Coyle

We were able to observe how quickly the cameras used battery life and develop a plan for how best to sync the video with our external audio.

Pressing record on all six cameras takes time and without a time marker, the editing the videos and syncing the audio would be challenging. To remedy this, we used sound and motion cues. At the start and end of each clip, we spun the camera and used a Slate clap.

Days before production began, students worked on the script to ensure the writing was tight and conversational. On production day, students took on their roles: controlling the camera, monitoring the audio, and supervising the script.

Louis Jebb and members of his team joined our class to speak with us and observe our production. Jebb is the founder of Immersivly, a virtual reality content studio, and producer of the VR experience Hong Kong Unrest. As a class, we were able to speak with him about the future of virtual reality and ask for advice on our production.

After setting up the cameras, testing the audio, and finalizing the schedule, we started filming the tour. This was the first project we worked on together. It was great being able to learn about each other’s strengths and working styles. We were all able to work cohesively, contribute ideas, and create a positive environment.

“I was very excited that I was able to work with the 360 camera. What I wanted to get most out the experience of this class was to be able to handle those kinds of cameras.” – Melody Jiang

This was only the beginning. In the coming days, we will continue to stitch and edit to the video for the ONA conference.

So far, our project looks promising and there is much more fun work coming up ahead.

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On September 25, 2015
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