Tallis & Tech: A Virtual Reality Choral Experience

On April 7th, 2018, the 21c Museum in Louisville, Kentucky held the Tallis & Tech: A Virtual Reality Choral Experience event. This event was free and open to the public.

WUOL, Louisville’s classical radio station, collaborated with the 21c Museum to create this event. I went to the event and filmed everything.

Filmed and edited by: Sierra McLean

 

Disney and VR?

Disney is known for doing exceptional things, especially in their parks. Personally, I think the next step for Disney would be to do stuff with Virtual Reality. This made me wonder if Disney had done anything with VR because I hadn’t heard anything about it. After researching, I found that Disney has been trying out VR and the possibilities look endless.

Disney Research has recently started messing around with VR. They have discovered this program called Cardinal. By using Cardinal, Disney Research has figured out a way to convert movie scripts into real-time VR experiences.

According to Sasha Schriber, Disney Research digital platforms group lead, the process could eventually be used for traditional filmmaking. Schriber said, “It goes from script to storyboard to animation in real-time.”

Image Credit: Janko Roettgers

The purpose of Project Cardinal is to speed up the process of making scripts into storyboards and eventually into animation. With Cardinal, it would all be automatic. Not only does the software take scripts and turn them into simple animations, but it also allows creators to put voice recordings in on the spot and preview the scenes in VR.

Characters can be moved from within the headset and Disney Research hopes to add more advanced editing skills that creators can do within the headsets. If the creators can edit more things within the headset, it will make the process of making a movie go a lot quicker.

Disney Research is currently testing Cardinal with a number of filmmakers. Schriber admitted that there was still work to be done and Cardinal is not perfect. Schriber said, “Each scriptwriter writes in his or her own way.” This complicates the process since Cardinal only has a simple language for scripts that it takes in. Since all writers write differently, Cardinal will not work for all scripts.

Disney Research has encouraged scriptwriters to make their writing simple. Disney Research also encouraged scriptwriters to stick to the present tense, since that is what Cardinal is used to. If scriptwriters are able to make their writing simpler, then their scripts will come to life a lot quicker. Instead of waiting almost two years, scriptwriter could be waiting only a handful of months to see their works come to life.

Another cool thing that Disney has done is a drawing of a Disney character in VR. Disney animator Glen Keane went on The Late Late Show to draw his favorite Disney character, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, in VR. Keane used the app Tilt Brush VR app to complete this drawing.

It is amazing to watch how Keane does this. Watch the video below and hopefully, you are just as amazed as I was! The way that the strokes are made in VR is mesmerizing and I found myself not being able to look away!

I am hoping that Disney continues to explore the possibilities of VR. There are so many things that Disney could do with VR. Maybe one day, Disney will be able to do a VR Disney movie! Like I said before, the possibilities are endless.

 

Hibachi in 360

Sit back and enjoy watching the chefs at BDS Mongolian Grill in Lexington, Kentucky! This 360 tour is a fun way for people to experience the amazing talents of the chefs at BDS Mongolian Grill!

Video shot by Karlil Wilson. Video edited by Sierra McLean.

The Oculus Rift: Is it worth the money?

The Oculus Rift was released on March 28th, 2016 by Oculus VR, which is a division of Facebook, Inc.  Virtual Reality is the biggest craze in the technology world as of right now. People are going crazy for these VR headsets, so I thought that I would review the popular Oculus Rift.

Pros

The Oculus Rift has 360-degree spatial audio, which provides users with the idea that they are immersed fully into an experience. Since the Oculus Rift released, the price has dropped from $599 to $399, which is a much better price, but still pretty expensive.

The Oculus Rift is also a fun way to play your favorite games in an immersive way. I tried three games on the Oculus Rift: Minecraft, BBC Home and Face Your Fears. Out of all of those, my favorite game was definitely Minecraft.

Cons

Even though the price dropped, the Oculus Rift is still expensive at $399. Not only will you have to buy the Oculus Rift, you will also have a compatible computer. These can get pretty expensive.

On the Oculus website, the suggested computers to use with the Oculus Rift can be anywhere between $799 and $2099.

Another con was that, after awhile, the Oculus Rift gave me a headache and made me sort of nauseous. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it will give everyone these same issues.

Software

As I said before, the three games that I tried were Minecraft, BBC Home and Face Your Fears. Out of all of those games, Minecraft was my favorite to play.

In Minecraft, you had two different ways that you could play the game. In one perspective, I was sitting in a living room that was created with blocks from Minecraft. In the living room, I was sitting on a Minecraft couch and looking at a Minecraft-style TV. 

In another perspective, I was completely immersed inside of the game. It was a little disorienting when I was in full immersive mode. I could move my head to look around or I could use the joystick on the controller to move my head around. When I used the joystick, it was a very jarring movement.

The next game I tried was BBC Home.  In this game, I was an astronaut on the International Space Station who had to fix something that was damaged. I was forced to move around space to get to the damaged part of the International Space Station.

This game made me super dizzy. After a while, I had to sit down and even then, I still felt dizzy. Overall though, the game had amazing graphics. It was fully immersive and felt like I was actually in space. The game also had two modes: easy mode and astronaut (or hard) mode.

The last game I tried was more of an experience than a game. The experience is called Face Your Fears. This experience wasn’t interactive; all I did was sit in a bed while things happened around me.

Even though Face Your Fears wasn’t interactive, I enjoyed every second of it. It got my heart racing and I never knew what was going to happen next.

Overall, I feel like the Oculus Rift is definitely worth the money. Even though you would have to buy a compatible computer, I feel like the experience that the Oculus Rift gives is definitely worth the extra money.

360 Tour of William T. Young Library

Welcome to the William T. Young Library on the University of Kentucky’s campus! This 360 tour is meant for prospective students who want to view the William T. Young Library in a whole new way!

Come and learn interesting facts about the University of Kentucky’s main library!

Video shot and edited by Sierra McLean and Karlil Wilson.