Over the past decade or so, there has been the emergence of three worlds that people can exist in.
- The real world, the unreal (virtual) world & the mixed-reality world. The real world involves people using all their senses and having a well-rounded sensory existence.
- The virtual / mixed-reality world has, since its inception, tried to get people as close an experience to reality as possible and in some cases, give them an experience beyond reality.
While virtuality has reached a stage where it is able to successfully transport an individual into its own world, it has not been able to give them the exact well-rounded sensory experience of the real world yet.
The method of how the integration of the real world & the virtual world is undertaken has, over the past decade, given rise to the two phenomenon, both of which are realities that are 'alternate' to the real world - Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR).
So, what are Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) and how does one, as an educator of film &media professionals treat the education of these?
- The one-line answer is that VR makes the user feel like they're in a different world while AR introduces virtual content into the real world.
AR adds layers to the real world; VR blocks it out entirely. AR is designed to be used in public, VR in private. AR can be social; VR is looking to create new social interactions in virtual spaces. AR is a mechanism that takes digitally created content / user experience and overlays it on top of the real world (existing reality) in order to enhance the user's reality.
VR is an artificial, digitally-generated recreation of a real life environment or situation with additional enhancements. VR's goal is to immerse the user by primarily stimulating senses of sight&sound and in some cases - senses of touch & smell as well.
Both AR &VR use similar techniques and technologies that serve your senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch) to make you feel like you are in a different environment from your current reality.
There are multiple techniques in use:
By blocking part / the entire field of view of the user in some manner and filling up of that field of vision with digitally created content.
Sensors detect the head and (in some cases) the pupil position, so the digital content is served to the user with the proper perspective.
Where the user is experiencing & interacting with digital content being projected onto the real world and sensors make this combined real-world+software surface interactive.
You look through transparent wearable optics to see the real world as you normally would but the virtual content is also rendered on the wearable optics and not on the real world, but the interactivity still exists.
Where the user is using his / her senses in their normal capacity but is experiencing an enhanced content consumption / entertainment / reality through content prepared specifically for that purpose &served in analog or digital mode.
Examples of AR:
- 3D stereoscopic content
- Solid 360deg surround sound
- Solid 360deg video
- Holographic content
- Google Glass
- Microsoft Hololens
- Sony Smart Eyeglass
- Magic Leap
- Recon Jet
Examples of VR:
- Oculus Rift
- Samsung Gear VR
- Google Cardboard
- HTC Vive
- Sony Project Morpheus
Content Creation for AR / VR is the next step and all institutions that are engaged in the training & education of content creators need to be aware of these areas and start working with the leading industry players in these areas to explore how the teaching / education of content creators for these verticals needs to be developed.
What Whistling Woods International has undertaken:
- Partnered with Sony in 2010 to set up the Sony Media Technology Centre (SMTC) at Whistling Woods' Mumbai campus, to focus on 3D stereoscopic filmmaking. Since 2010, all Whistling Woods students are trained to shoot 3D stereoscopic content and undergo special training / workshops in the same, delivered by a Sony-trained DoP who is always present at the SMTC
- Partnered with Dolby digital surround in 2007 to set up a dolby-certified digital surround sound mixing facility meant for students education & training
- Have partnered with Auro 3D 11.1 surround sound to set up India's first Auro3D surround sound auditorium and mixing room.
- Have partnered with Google to set up the YouTube Space Mumbai and the YouTube educator lab, under which we have started test-shooting 360degree video for digital platform(s)
- In conversations with Google, Microsoft and Sony to build out teaching methodologies for content creation for Google Glass & Cardboard, Microsoft Hololens& Sony Smart Eyeglass & Project Morpheus. Cannot reveal more at this moment.