Would I Be Willing To Undertake VR Commissions In The Future?

I am unsure whether I would be 100% willing to undertake VR commissions in the future. Only because I am not sure if it comes under photography or video/filming more?

To me a photographer takes images, still ones and could create photo films if they wanted. Yet I feel that VR is more of a video/footage style that a filter, director or videographer would create.

As the photography industry is adapting to be more technologically advanced .with VR, iPhones, cameras and editing software, photographers would want to adapt and change along with it. Therefore, people would commission a photographer who was up to date with the news tech and style of industry.

At the same time, some people like to stay ‘old school’ and traditional and would rather hire a photographer just for still image purposes.

I guess as a photographer, offering more of a range would give you more jobs/clients but I would want to focus on one style of capturing images, to develop and advance my skills in that one aspect. And I, as a photographer like to keep things old school with film and digital cameras.

I would be willing to learn about VR and how to create the content so I could work for a client who really wanted me to create VR content, but it wouldn’t be my first choice of media to promote my photography work with.

VR & Photography- Part Two

Some extra thought continuing on from the previous post about VR and photography…

  • VR and photography could work really well together when it comes to imagery for products, interior design and location/holiday booking imagery.

 

  • VR could be used so people can view the 360 view of a certain product they’d be interesting in buying.

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  • Interior design/home photographers could use VR content for estate agent websites… so if people are viewing images of a house online, they actually get to see what the house is like through VR footage. This would benefit people if they couldn’t make it to the house to view it on a certain day etc, they could quickly go online, select a house and have a full house tour through VR footage.

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  • It could even become part of booking a holiday online. Rather than looking at still images on a holiday booking website, viewers could get a full view/tour of the apartment, villa, hotel or holiday park they are looking at. They would get to see all aspects of the rooms, facilities and surroundings. Something like this could really benefit holiday companies as most websites these days forge the images they use to make somewhere look like they’re not.

 

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Will photographers be required to generate VR footage in the near future?

I think that photographers could be required or commissioned to create VR footage in the future as the modern tech world and creative industries are vastly evolving along side each other. With the photography world turning more mobile, and the VR world turning more complex and affordable, I think that the two could end up crossing paths at some point in the near future, if it hasn’t already.

Im not too sure how VR video footage would work with/for photographers but I think that VR 360 photography could become a bigger thing. If photographers offer 360 images as well as regular still images, it could boost their potential with more clients, as VR would be more upcoming and give people a niche to offer to clients.

360 images would work really well for landscape, event and product photographers. Being able to photograph someones wedding for example and sending them over 360 VR images of their big day, the venue, the family portraits etc would be amazing. It would be stunning to view landscape photography as a 360 degree image or VR footage, as you would be able to place yourself in that location, turning every image into an experience through seeing. For product photography it could work really well in terms of getting a closer look at products you would potentially be interested in buying.

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360 and VR footage could work for fashion photographers and designers. For example, if someone is releasing a new collection, you could view the new fashion collection through 360. You could almost be in the middle of a circle of models, who would be wearing the new clothes. And where you can view the models in 360, you would be able to turn around in the middle of that circle, getting a close look at the outfits, colours, materials and fitting. I think that would be quite cool! It would be cool for fashion students for example when they showcase their final collections. I think it would be really cool as well to view fashion and art installations through 360 VR images and video footage.

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I am still unsure of how well it would work for photographers though. I think VR footage could work better for people who are filmers, videographers, directors etc. And the 360 VR images would be something more for photographers. If photographers were to generate VR footage, they would be turning into filmers rather than photographers, and it would be a completely different take on their career.

As I previously mentioned, with the photography industry and modern tech world evolving rapidly together, they will definitely cross paths in the future, and are starting to already. It is exciting but daunting to see what the future of the photography industry holds.

 

 

Interview 3- VR User

The next and last interview I did was with a friend who is a photographer, I felt he would be good to ask questions as he has worked in the industry for a few years and could see it from a similar point of view to me, also being a photographer.

What VR set do you use?
The only VR set I have used is the HTC Vive

 


What do you use it for?
I used it to play games and as an example of technological advances

 


How does it make you feel? Does it change your experiences in any way?
It’s definitely different to any other media… I don’t think personally it would replace a conventional method of gaming for me for a long while

 


Do you think VR should continue to improve and become a bigger part of modern technology?
What ever I think about VR it’ll continue to become more prominent as the technology gets better

 


Do you think VR footage could be crucial to photographers in the next few years?
I don’t think it’ll have any impact outside maybe a virtual photo gallery, I think photography and VR are completely different ball parks

 


If you were in the creative industry, would you be willing to undertake commissions that require you to generate VR? If yes, why?
I think it would be fun to generate VR content, if thats what people are willing to buy, there there could be good money in it

 


If you were to hire a photographer for an important event such as a wedding, or showcasing your new fashion collection, would you want the photographer to generate VR footage of the important day as well as images?…

For example, if I was to be photographing your wedding, or new fashion collection, would you want to view images through 360 degrees VR and create an experience rather than a still photograph? Or have both?

You would definitely need both… so you could accommodate a lot of different clients, not everyone can use VR because of epilepsy and motion sickness… and a lot of older people may not understand the technology and would want a more traditional preview… at this moment in time, it is still a novelty… but may well could become the standard in the next 10-20 years.

Interview 2- VR User

The second interview I carried out was with a family friend called Mapheon.

What VR set do you use?
Samsung VR2


What do you use it for?
I use it for watching movies on long journeys, escaping for an hour post work and meditation.


How does it make you feel? Does it change your experiences in any way?
The immersive nature of the headset allows me to truly forget my surroundings and dive into what ever experience it is. Whether it be watching a movie, playing a game or sitting on a beach in Cuba in the comfort of my own bed. I feel like I can relax and enjoy more with the headset than a standard monitor.


Do you think VR should continue to improve and become a bigger part of modern technology?
YES YES YES! But, like any new technology, it takes time for the masses to truly gain benefits from it. Once the tech becomes cheaper and the top headsets become widely accessible, I hope VR will take off. Inclusion of VR into modern day life would improve cinematic experiences, presentations and even have a place in education.


Do you think VR footage could be crucial to photographers in the next few years?
I’m not too sure on this one, I haven’t really looked at it from that point of view.


If you were to hire a photographer for an important event such as a wedding, would you want the photographer to generate VR footage of the important day as well as images?… For example, if I was to be photographing your wedding, would you want to view large family photos and clips of the day through VR rather than a still photograph? Or have both?
No, only because I personally wouldn’t want that. However, I can see a market for it. I would want to incorporate a VR of the venue maybe. But as I am old school with the moments of the day, I’d want still images.


Extra Comments:
I am a VR fan boy though and my biggest gripe is how at the moment it is still kind of in that transition stage from gimmick to functional tech. I have tested a few of the high end ones and the different between those and adorable is ridiculous.

Interview 1- VR User

The first interview I conducted was a friend’s husband named Rowan.

What VR set do you use?
I use Playstation VR


What do you use it for?
I use it for games and entertainment experiences like Youtube, 3D Blu-rays, VR Cinema and as a second screen for non- VR games.


How does using it make you feel? Does it change your experiences in any way?
VR has made me feel many different ways- happy, scared, relaxed, excited and occasionally nauseous! VR has the power to immerse you in an experience in a way that amplifies these feelings to a very high level. The way it changes an experience is very difficult to describe, it really only makes sense when you put the headset on.


Do you think VR should continue to improve and become a bigger part of modern technology?
I am supremely confident that as the tech improves, the price comes down and the barriers to entry are removed that VR will become a massive part of technology. It is already being used in other areas aside from entertainment (medicine/science, education etc). I think gaming is just the tip of the iceberg for what people will use VR for in the future.

I believe it will be an amazing educational tool that will be standard in classrooms at some point (example, visiting ancient Egypt in a history lesson. Rather than just looking at books and documentaries, students will be able to walk around together IN Egypt with their teacher pointing things out to them).


Do you think VR footage could become crucial to photographers in the next few years?
I’m not sure in which ways it would/could be incorporated by photographers beyond the 360 type photos that are already prevalent but I am sure there are people much smarter than me (such as yourself!) who could find many interesting ways to incorporate it into their work.


If you were in the creative industry, would you be willing to undertake commissions that require you to generate VR? If yes, why?
I would yes, mainly based on the fact that I’m such a believer in the technology. I would also love to be able to be involved in something with so much potential at its roots/beginnings.


If you were to hire a photographer for an important event, such as a wedding, would you want the photographer to generate VR footage of the important day as well as images?… For example, if I was to be photographing your wedding, would you want to view large family portraits and images/clips of the day thorough VR rather than a still image? Or have both?
I guess that would depend on how much extra it was going to cost but yes, I would personally have loved that at our wedding. It would have changed my experience looking back on the memories of the big day!

VR Users- Interviews

To expand my research and broaden my knowledge on the VR world, I decided it would be a good idea to interview some people who have VR sets and use them regularly.

I think that asking them questions will give me a good sight into their opinions on the VR world, why they use VR, what experiences they get from it, and their opinions on the future creative industries and VR working along side each other.

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How Successful Are These VR Videos/Clips?

NYTVR-

Out of the two apps, I feel that I got the better experience from NYTVR than I did Guardian VR. Although I had the headset to view both apps for the best quality experience, I personally preferred the content on this app than the Guardian VR app.

I think that these clips were very successful in terms of putting you into another place and triggering all of your senses. I really enjoyed the Marrakesh video and the meditation video I experienced. They really opened my eyes to what its like to be in a place I had never been in before, and having always wanted to go to Marrakesh, it has made me want to go even more.

The Fight For Fallujah video was successful in terms of giving the viewer a good first hand experience at what it would really be like to be there in that environment. The sounds and emotions triggered all of my senses at the same time, really improving the viewing of the footage.


Guardian VR-

I still enjoyed watching the Guardian VR content, but not as much as I did the NYTVR. If I wasn’t to have the headset and a pair of headphones then the videos would have been un-viewable, which limits their audience. Only because I had a headset and headphones, was I able to fully immerse myself into the virtual reality world.

Guardian VR- The Party- Review

This video called The Party was about experiencing the emotions and feelings of a teenage girl with autism at her mum’s surprise birthday party.

Putting on the headset and watching/experiencing this footage, took you into her world and showed in depth what she feels and how she copes with situations. It has made me view autism in a different way to what I did before.

The emotions you learn from what the girl feels while watching this visual reality is that she can’t cope with a lot of people in the room at once, she can sometimes be unsociable when it gets too much. When the surprise of the party happens, the girl freezes at that moment in time.

This clip really opened my eyes to what people with autism feel and experience compared to myself. I think that this style VR could in the future be used in education. Such as medical students or psychology students using it for studies on mental health, autism, and how people think etc.

Guardian VR- 6X9 Video- Review

The Guardian VR app only had VR footage that could be viewed through a cardboard headset, so I was glad that I had one so I could get the full experience from watching these VR videos. Without the VR set, the screen was split in two and it didn’t give the same experience watching it without the headset.

I was quite excited to experience this video as I have always had in interest in prisons and crimes. I have done previous projects and interviews with prisons and have always loved watching crime documentaries etc. The video takes you into a small confined prison cell for 9 minutes and gives you facts as the video goes along.

This video warns you at the start that it may make you feel uncomfortable and emotional, and it did. By the end of the video I felt confined and emotional just from watching/ experiencing the video. Hearing the other prisoners shout around me felt really real, as I had my headphones in, that was all I could hear and concentrate on.

As I immersed myself into the small prison cell for 9 minutes, it really made me feel like I was trapped there. Although it was slightly scary, I knew it wasn’t real and watched it until the end.  I couldn’t imagine really being stuck there for more than 9 minutes in real life.

NYTVR- Meditate By The Ocean- Review

The next video I watched out of choice as I thought it might actually help me at this particular time. I watched a meditation VR video through my headset.

It was a 5 minute long video where it took me to the the cliffs in Northern California. It put me in a peaceful atmosphere where I was enjoying the sunny weather and listening to the ocean waves. While taking in the breathtaking views of the cliff tops.

I chose to watch this video so I could have a peaceful five minutes to myself. As I was feeling a lot of stress, this video helped me to unwind and recollect my thoughts while watching through the headset.

This video would not have been the same if I was just to be watching it on my phone or laptop screen. Using the VR headset really allowed me to fully concentrate on being there and calming myself down. I enjoyed listening to the waves and relaxing. It really was a calming experience.

NYTVR- 52 Places To Go: Marrakesh- Review

After we had watched the NYTVR videos from the brief, we then had the free choice to watch some more videos of our choice. While looking through the app to find a VR video of interest to me, I came across a playlist of videos called 52 Places To Go. I went onto this playlist and selected to watch the Marrakesh video. I chose this particular video because I have always wanted to go to Marrakesh and I am really fascinated by all of the colours in their architecture.

Watching this video in the VR headset was really interested to me and I wish it was longer than 1 minute 10 seconds. I felt like I was actually in Marrakesh for a slight minute. Looking around the preserved gardens through the headset made me want to visit Marrakesh even more than before.

The colours, architecture and people really came alive in this short clip and I felt part of the atmosphere.

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NYTVR- The March For Our Lives Protest- Review

After ‘The Fight For Fallujah’, I watched a video called ‘The March For Our Lives Protest’. This was a visual reality video showing Americans coming together and having a mass protest on gun violence. This topic is constantly all over the news and is a very sad situation to hear about. Seeing people come together and try to do something about it is a very emotional and empowering thing to watch as it affects a whole country deeply.

No images on the news or social media would ever do this protest justice. However, watching it through the VR headset really highlighted how many people were there and how big the protest was. I put my phone in my VR headset and watched the protest take place in front of my own eyes.

Being able to rotate my head around the room and see the amount of people surrounding me during this protest was amazing. It really showed the extent of the event. The size and numbers of this protest really goes to show that shootings and gun violence needs to come to a stop immediately.

NYTVR- The Fight For Fallujah- Review

The Fight For Fallujah is a virtual reality video generated to give the viewer an immersive experience into the world of the Iran soldiers invading Fallujah to stop the ISIS soldiers.

Creating this video using VR footage really changed the video/short film as a whole. Rather than just watching the video on a flat screen, you were able to be involved in the experience through visuals and sound effects and able to view everything that was going on at all angles. You could see what was going on in front of you, next to you and behind you, while all standing in one spot and not actually being there.

The impact of the situation highlighted in this video was heightened by creating it as a visual reality, it really changed the experience and made me feel many more emotions when watching this.

Seeing the state of the country and what war has done to it, how it has affected family lives and children lives made me feel really emotional as I was watching and experiencing it so closely through my VR headset. Events such as this are always on the news, in newspapers or being covered online, but being able to watch it and ‘be there in a sense’, really gave me a personal experience.

Watching this VR video was a lot better through the headset than watching it with the 360 degree view. Having everything blocked out in terms of light and noise and being able to put my full concentration into watching it on the headset was a lot better than just sitting there with my phone and turning it around the room.

My Own VR Headset

To view the videos on the NYTVR and Guardian VR apps, I used my own VR cardboard headset to view the footage. Using the cardboard headset will give me the full experience and allow me to fully immerse myself into the world I am watching. I will also view the videos without the headset and use the 360 degree viewing mode so I can give myself an experience with using both viewing methods. The phone slots in the back and when you play the video it blocks out light from the top and sides using the large flaps you use to close it.

My cardboard VR headset-

 

What is VR?

  • VR= Virtual/ Visual Reality-
    Virtual reality is an interactive computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment, that incorporates auditory, visual, haptic, and other types of sensory feedback 

 

  • Different Types Of VR-

What Is VR?- Video-

 

The Project/ Brief

The second part of our editorial project brief was to generate some research and visuals to do with VR footage and images. VR stands for Visual Reality.

To conduct our research we are required to download The Guardian and New York Times VR apps and watch some videos, and then review them. We then have to conduct research and find answers to some questions on the brief. We have to see whether VR footage would be successful for photographers and whether we would undertake commissions for a future VR job.

I am going to carry out this research brief by creating a series of mood boards, watching VR videos/footage, looking into how VR and photography could work side by side and I would like to try and carry out some interviews with people who use VR sets and get their opinions on the topic.

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