Behind the Scenes of UK’s ‘Amateur Hour’

The student-produced University of Kentucky sports news show called “Amateur Hour” shows off what students are able to do on camera. What viewers see, however, is only half of the action. There’s a whole other side to the camera as students work behind the scenes to make the show happen.

In this 360 video, UK students Caitlin Ferkile (director) and Thomas Story (audio technician) talk about their responsibilities on set, what they learned through producing the show and what future students should expect while behind-the-scenes shots give you a glimpse at the work in action.

Arizona State University Campus Tour 2D vs. 360


Hello everyone! As you can tell by the title I will be doing an analysis of the Phoenix campus at Arizona State University. Since I hope to go to grad school there I thought it would be a pretty cool idea to do a compare and contrast about the difference between a regular standard 2D video and a 360 video.

While 360 videos are gaining traction in the media world, it would make sense that universities are starting to offer a more realistic video of what their campuses look like. Personally, I think 360 videos of campuses are better because it puts potential students right in the middle of the fields of their campus. It’s more realistic, it’s lively and it helps those who may not be able to visit get a better understanding of the school.

Now that you’ve watched both videos, lets compare.

First off, two great videos that show the liveliness of the Phoenix campus. I think in the standard video, we saw some close-up, drone footage, interviews, statistics about the campus. We received a standard view of all campus tours are like. Those videos can be found for any campus. They give us a small inside look into where you could be. There is nothing wrong with a video about what life in college is life. We got to see some classrooms, building landscapes and even a little bit of the downtown area. The sound in the video was good, the clips were clear and easy to follow. It was a nice glimpse into what life is like. I think every time I watch this video, it makes me want to go to grad school here even more. Which is perfectly fine with me.

In this 360 video, we got to see a larger scale more in-depth view of the Phoenix campus. And we even got a walking buddy to go with it. It felt like a real-life tour of the campus. From walking into the student center to walking down the steps to walking across the street to the main classroom building. It felt so real. What I enjoy most about this 360 video is being able to look around at my surroundings. I think that’s what makes 360 videos so appealing is the ability to place people in these virtual reality places, without actually being there. The natural sound works perfectly for the video because they become more real and it feels like you’re walking with the tour guide. Another aspect of the video that I liked was the person. It was side by side, she pointed at things so we knew where to look and it didn’t seem weirdly placed.

Cons about the 2D video-

  1. Too many quick cuts. I understand that it wasn’t supposed to be like a serious tour but the cuts were too quick. Giving the audience some time to process what they are looking at is what makes a video great in my opinion. Keeps them engaged and enthuised.
  2. I would’ve liked the video to be a tad bit longer. Yes, it’s a small campus but it’s in a big city so more stuff in the video would be nice.
  3. It feels acted out. Now I know every college wants to make their campus look as amazing as possible but they don’t have to be over done. Videos like these sometimes can lose their appeal because of how

Cons about the 360 video-

  1. The title should’ve been there a tad bit longer. I would’ve actually liked to read it fully. I think the main point of the video was to “LOOK AROUND” so maybe the editor and producer didn’t want you to focus on the words so much.
  2. Sometimes the natural sound overpowered the tour guide speaking. I felt this clash of sound and it was very distracting.
  3. I think there could’ve been more of the standard 360 shots. For example, when she went into the UCENT building, we walked in but then it cut to just a 360 still video of us standing in the middle. That part was fine, but they should’ve done that for every part she went to because she did a quick glance of the video and then it was on to the next thing.

Both videos gave us a variety of how a campus video should look. I think a 360 toue guide is much better than those 360 still images you may see on some college websites. 2D standard videos are great to but then can never compare to what a 360 video can offer. Either way, both videos were engaging and have a lot of potential in showing students what their college offers. With the right clips, sounds and angles, any one can a great 2D and 360 video.

StoryUP and Our Conversation with Its CEO, Sarah Hill

On Wednesday, April 3, our VR class had the opportunity to Skype with Sarah Hill, former broadcast journalist and current CEO of a company called, “StoryUP,” a VR storytelling-based company. StoryUP is changing minds of VR doubters all across the world by simply taking advantage of this upcoming form of technology to share stories and experiences to those who need them the most.

Hill left her 20-year career in the broadcast journalism world to begin working with the Veterans United Network which lead her to the original mission of StoryUP, to bring Veterans to Washington D.C. to see the WWII Memorial through VR, when they reach the point in their lives where they could no longer physically travel.

“We found that these men and women were having to decline the opportunities to participate in physical honor flights and had to miss the precious opportunity to see the memorial before they passed away,” Hill said.

Hill explained that they used augmented reality through a device called “Google Glass” before they transitioned into using VR.

“We would walk around the WWII Memorial and be the arms and legs for these veterans and we would stream this footage back to veterans that were in nursing homes in their hometowns,” Hill explained.

After Google Glass was no longer being produced, Hill and her team at StoryUP moved their focus to VR journalism, and began their journey working their way into the medical field.

When I first heard Professor Stephenson explain this to us, I didn’t believe it. How could VR find a place within the medical field that’s full of medicine, vaccines, operations, doctors, nurses, etc.?

“In 2016, Dr. Jeff Tarrant and story technologist Sarah Hill started to study whether VR could be compounded to shift brainwave patterns and whether brainwaves could manipulate assets within a VR environment. Together Dr. Tarrant and Hill hold a provisional patent on VR therapy. StoryUP’s stories encompass a variety of forms from meditations to features using technologies including EEG, HRV, BCI, and neurofeedback.” (I’m sorry… what?)

We asked Hil what all of this meant, and if they were seeing any progress with this in 2019. She told us that they refer to the process at StoryUP as “Healium” and that they have massive amounts of scientific proof that this is working for many of its participants.

“Anyone going into journalism should be aware of this future market of creating these experiences that serve a therapeutic purpose,” Hill said. “It impacts their blood pressure, their heart rate, their breathing patterns. StoryUP and our product is a digital media-sudical that attempts to make people feel better.”

She explained that they have created a variety of experiences to help distract people while they’re giving blood, or other painful medical experiences, that is completely controlled by their feelings. This VR product is the world’s first brain computer interface product for mobile VR, and is powered by feeling of positivity, love, joy and appreciation.

She explained that they have created a variety of experiences to help distract people while they’re giving blood, or other painful medical experiences, that is completely controlled by their feelings. This VR product is the world’s first brain computer interface product for mobile VR, and is powered by feeling of positivity, love, joy and appreciation.

“You can put the headband on and are able to control your experience with the feeling of calmness and positivity,” Hill said. “We can put you in a magic snow globe, and as your feelings of positivity go up, the snow flurries start to fly around, and lights come on the screen.”

Hill also explained that users can see their brain’s EEG pattern in the lower part of the screen while participating in these experiences and as their calmness/positive feelings rise, the more they unlock during the experience.

More information supported by physical evidence can be found here.

Could this be just the beginning of VR’s existence within the medical field? As the years pass, I believe that VR will settle within this field nicely and eventually there will be VR headsets provided inside every medical facility for patience’s use.

“With these digital therapeutics you’re essentially giving people the sensation that their thoughts have power,” Hill said.

What do you think? Do you see VR being implemented more within the medical field within the next 5-10 years?

Jurassic World: Blue (Behind the Scenes)

In our first weeks in class, we watched the first Jurassic World experience using the Oculus Rift.  The experience was extremely immersive, and it made me wonder how it was done.  I wanted to explore what went into the decision making and the production for the project which led me to this video.  The video is a behind the scenes look as to what goes into the second Jurassic World VR experience, Jurassic World: Blue.

The video gives you a brief look into the motion capture process, which is quite entertaining.  You get to see the motion capture stage and how it is set up, the technology that is used and the props used to assist the team in creating a virtual experience. The image below shows the crew working to set up a shot on the motion capture stage providing a glimpse into how the set looks.

The crew works to set up for motion capture.

A part of the work I found very interesting is the fact there are actual humans doing the acting for the animated dinosaurs. In the video, you get to see the actor mimicking the actions of real dinosaurs, rolling and trotting around.  It is an interesting experience; however, you don’t get to hear any comments from the actor.  I would like to see another behind the scenes look following the actor and getting to know what process the actor goes through to get into character. Below is an image of the actor in action.

Co-director, Paul Raphael, works with actor to capture scene.

Although you do not hear from the actor, the video provides some explanation by the creative staff.  Felix Lajuenesse and Paul Raphael, directors of Felix & Paul Studios help to explain the thought process of the directorial staff.  They describe how they work together and how Felix governs most of the creative aspects of the shots while Paul focuses more so on the technological aspects of each shot.  They show the themselves talking to actors and how they take their visions give the visions direction and work towards a final product.

Sebastian Sylwan is also a part of the crew. He is the Visual Effects Supervisor for the team and Chief Technology Officer and he talks about working with ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) to ensure the experience is transformed from what Paul and Felix are trying to create into animation.  Glen McIntosh is the Animation Supervisor from ILM.  He talks briefly about how the team works to create an organic feeling.  He says the key for an immersive experience is never cutting giving insight as to how to create true immersive experiences in VR.

A look at the animation process.

The only problem with the behind the scenes video is the lack of detail.  I would have liked to have more detail into how the processes work. The information given was general rather than in-depth.  There were no step-by-step explanations or descriptions of the equipment used.  It seemed rather rushed and left me wanting more elaboration.

Other than the desire for more information, I felt the video was very interesting.  It is short and to the point, but provides a perspective viewers could not get from anywhere else.

Jurassic World: Blue is available for Oculus Go and Oculus Rift.  A link to the experience can be found below:

Farewell Grehan Building!

Farewell Grehan Building

The Grehan Journalism/Communications building has been the home to UK journalists since 1951. This building will go under renovations summer 2018. Occupants of this building will be relocating to Blazer August 2018. Students, faculty and staff will miss this building dearly. Farewell Grehan!