VR Weeks 10-present: Aug 24

Originally published on August 24, 2016 at carolliufilms.tumblr.com.

Some recurrent health issues required that I postpone my VR updates. But I’m climbing out of my fog today. In fact, much happened behind the scenes while I was off the air. Let me try to recap.

The last two weeks in France, my technical producer and I raced to make maximum use of the hardware loan we had. After rapidly prototyping several scenarios we know we would like to eventually feature in our final piece, stitching them in-house and watching them in our GearVR headsets, it became abundantly clear to us that we wanted to create atmospheric experiences more so than intensely interactive ones while still promoting inclusive understanding.

1. Finding Compelling Visual Experiences:

@Ossigirl, you’ll be glad to know we were able to find a water channel to recreate the transitionary voyage I had initially envisioned as a part of our VR experience. The ride is smooth and quite breathtaking from our test. However, we’d need special effects to minimize the presence of the people and the boat. I have a few other post-production things to try with this batch of footage.

2. Being Talked Down to as a Woman:

This 3-part prototype was interesting to produce. We recorded the dialogue and then audio produced the monologue of each character (what they are thinking in their heads). We then shot in first person POV from both characters as well as in 3rd person. The effect of taking on the identity of a character is quite immersive and convincing. We developed this as a technical test for whether our content would be interesting in this format. We will continue designing the interactivity of how the three pieces intersect and will break this out in a more detailed upcoming blog post.

3. Field Interviews with Women in Tech

Following prototype 2 above, I spent a day with women working in tech to conduct field interviews about their personal and professional experiences in a corporate environment. This deserves its own full-length post. Briefly, I’ll say the takeaways I had with these brave souls who shared their most troubling experiences in the years they have worked in tech offices is that everything we have read about is absolutely true and absolutely deserves our continued attention. What is particularly interesting as the women tried to self-reflect on actionable insights:

Women-only conferences and mentorship programs are not helpful enough.
Corporate action requires training not just for those on the receiving end of discrimination, but those in the majority who must both understand and be part of the change.
It is not a women’s issue, but a human issue requiring both sides to get involved.

4. Transportive Locales:

Something we wanted to feature in our VR project was transportive locales that expressed the inner yearnings of our character and to visually take the viewer to those places when the character was otherwise physically impeded. To that end, we sought out a beautiful sunflower field. There is a person who appears in this scene on the left, if you look closely.

5. Constrictive Locales

What if a character were constrained to her room? This would allow the imaginative explorations to be further affecting on the viewer.

6. Post-Production and Interactivity

I still have a host of footage to process since my return. We’ll be bringing these seemingly disparate pieces together to feature in our full-blown VR experience. Stay tuned.