Creating Video Content for Oculus Rift
Scriptwriting for 360° interactive
Conference & Venue:
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Date & time:
September 29, 2015 from 13.30-17.30
After determining the main challenges and possibilities of producing video content for Oculus Rift, we will work towards developing concepts for settings and stories that would suit this particular medium.
While using Oculus Rift, the viewer has the sense of literally being in the centre of the scene. Because the footage has been recorded in 360°, the viewer has the strange sense of being present in the movie, almost as if he or she is playing a part in it, instead of watching from the outside. The perspective is actually more related to the position of a video game player than that of a movie watcher. After all, gamers are used to being able to look all around in the game world, in order to explore the surroundings and detect enemies or other game elements while the traditional movie audience is presented with the one frame that has been chosen by the director to present the story.
The 360° point of view implies several difficulties for the producer. Firstly, it is not possible to work with a traditional film set in which a scene may be recorded. As the camera records the world in 360°, everything around the system will be seen. This problem also applies for the floor of the set, and the ceiling. As these angles will also be available for the future viewer, both the floor and the ceiling of the set need to be fully presentable, which means for instance that it is not possible to make use of elaborate lighting systems (Vosmeer and Schouten, 2014). Another issue involves camera movement: while the viewer takes the point of view of the camera, and is able to look around in the scene, he or she is not able to move through the space in which the scene was filmed. The only possible movement is the one that was recorded when shooting the scene.
The camera position within a setup like this also has profound impact on the way that stories may be told. A scene that is written with the intention to be watched from 360°, may take different viewer perspectives into account. For instance, the story could be told in such a way that the camera is not part of the narrative, but just registers the scene like a fly on the wall. Another option however, would be to include the viewer position within the story, and have characters react towards the camera as if it is another character participating in the scene. Another interesting possiblity that this kind of media production offers, is the use of so called hot-spots: it is possible to insert interactive points in the video that can be activated by the user by focusing his or her gaze on it for several moments (this can be compared to clicking a link or touching a screen). These interactive points can be used to activate the next part of the story.
In this workshop, we will first present a short overview of our previous studies into content creation for Oculus Rift, and explain the challenges and possibilities that we came across. Secondly, we will discuss the attendants’ own earlier experiences with 360° video content, and invite them to reflect on the narrative aspects that they have encountered there. In the third part of the workshop, attendants will be asked to think of possible settings in which an Oculus Rift narrative could be placed, taking into account the productional boundaries that were discussed earlier. During the fourth and last part of the workshop, we will discuss the settings, think of story concepts that might be written for these particular settings, and consider whether using a voice over could add useful extra information to the scene.
During this workshop, we hope to develop new concepts for settings and stories that can be produced for Oculus Rift. After attending the workshop, the participants will have gained new insights into the productional challenges and narrative possibilities of producing 360° interactive stories.
Mirjam Vosmeer is coördinator of the Interaction & Games Lab at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She has a PhD in communication science and an academic background in game studies, psychology and media entertainment. Her further professional background includes television production, scriptwriting for soap opera and game concept development. She is project manager of Interactive Cinema, a collaboration between the Netherlands Film Academy and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. For this project, she has conducted several experiments into interactive storytelling for 360° video content.
Vosmeer, M. and Schouten, B. (2014). Interactive Cinema: Engagement and interaction. In proceedings of ICIDS 2014. Springer International Publishing, pp 140-147