Virtual-Reality Projects Get Hollywood Treatment

Added on by Tony de Waal.

Posted on the Wall Street Journal

Nearly a year ago I headed down to The Third Floors Los Angeles studio. One of the projects I was on was a proof of concept for Robert Stromberg creating a cinematic story orientated short for the Oculus Rift.

The piece was largely created at the TTF London office whom had some expertise creating long runtime shots(Gravity) and Unreal. However the Los Angeles studio had the, new at the time, Oculus HD prototype along with Robert being in town gearing up for the release of Maleficent.

Given I had a good amount of experience with Unreal 3 on the Mass Effect series, I needed to bridge the gap between the London team and Los Angeles. Quickly getting the basics of Unreal 4 and it's differences from Unreal 3, I worked to tune the experience to run well on the Rift learning a boat load about the "do's" and "don't" of cinematography in virtual reality.  Interfacing with Robert, gathering input and roughing in feedback for the team back in London was a small part of the job. The problem solving of standing up cinematics in a game engine was extremely handy for this project as many aspects are similar.

Where it gets tricky with VR is not being able to use the usual toolbox of tricks to deal with stuff off camera since the user can see everything all the time. A much more intense level of technical understanding was needed to deal with assets in a way that would respect the video card bottleneck, the key hardware aspect to a positive experience on the rift.

Its' great to see that this is where that project went, allowing TTF to partner up with some great directors to take this forward to the next stage.

Here's a pic of that HD prototype. :)

The HD Prototype