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Becoming a VR Master: Recording

The art of recording in 360, and using that footage to create your own Virtual Reality experience is a practice that any private, professional, or interested videographer is capable of. Period. Seizing the opportunity now to learn this straightforward process will expose you to this burgeoning community, give you familiarity with this new creative format that isn’t going away, and add another tool to your arsenal as a videographer. Don’t be the last videographer to jump on the VR bandwagon! If you are not offering your clients a VR video option, you are missing out on adding an attractive VR venture to your already established list of projects. Though thorough information on this practice is admittedly scarce, Foundry 45 can guide you to be a VR master.

Step 1: Get a camera and some footage!
The market for 360 cameras is a microcosm of the entire industry as you can find a range of high end cameras to rigs optimized for more practical means for most videographers. Foundry 45 has published an in-depth blog post which compares all of our rigs to one another in terms of capability, usability, performance, and cost. Obviously, broad recommendations don’t apply to every person who lays eyes on this post, but among our collection of cameras, we recommend the Kodak 360 PixPro for seasoned videographers who are getting their VR feet wet. At $900, these two cameras are capable of professional production without the technical headache induced by some more complicated rigs. Please feel free to comment with your specific circumstances if you would like a more in-depth recommendation!
hitchcock finalAfter getting a camera, knowing the difference between recording in 2D and 360 will definitely benefit you when it comes time to shoot. 360 shooting revolves much less around how one records, and more on where one records. In 360 videos, the filmmaker’s control over the viewer’s focus is significantly lessened as a result of the user’s ability to look around. This evolution in format takes away the filmmaker’s ability to isolate one key area in an environment, and, as a result, forces the filmmaker to a.) cleverly direct the user’s focus to the key area, b.) choose an environment that has multiple points of interest or c.) put the camera as close as possible to the key area (without getting too close to record!). Put your viewers in the middle of the action, and let them enjoy it in their own way! Also make sure to hide or camouflage yourself from the camera while recording. Seeing yourself in VR becomes way less cool when your realize you just ruined the immersion by being visible.

Scout GO Pro HidingThis video is going to be sweet.

As a side note that could probably go without saying: you still have to capture engaging moments. Yes, new VR technology is fascinating and has the ability to communicate so much more about a space than a 2D video; however, if you are transporting your viewer to boring place, they will absolutely lose interest. Just like shooting with regular cameras, you need to have your 360 camera ready to capture any and all special moments during production. For 360, you will be using the same creative muscle you use while shooting a 2D video, just flexing it in a different way.

stich lines 1

Stitch lines 2Understanding the impact that parallax will have on your footage is also pivotal to creating a solid VR experience. If you are using a 360 rig that involves more than one camera, you will become quite familiar with what are called “stitch lines.” More on this subject will be covered in the next section, but how well a filmmaker deals with these stitch lines can make or break the quality of an experience. The specific formation of stitch lines differs for every camera so becoming accustomed to your own camera’s arrangement is imperative if you want to avoid slicing a line through the most important person or thing in your scene. Though they can be maddening at points, stitch lines can usually be smoothed until they are invisible as long as all objects are at least 5 feet away from the camera. Due to parallax, any object too close to the camera will be sliced up irreparably. SO BACK UP! Above are some examples of stitch lines we’ve run into in our experience. Hopefully this first of five parts has helped you wrap your head around the process of recording in 360! Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date with the rest of our posts. Also feel free to contact Foundry 45 for any questions or inquiries based on our deep Virtual Reality expertise.

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com.

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How to Take Screenshots in Gear VR

What good is revolutionary technology if you can’t show it off to your friends? As kindergarten taught me, the more you share your new toy, the more fun you’ll have with it. So if you’ve recently purchased a cutting-edge Gear VR headset, you too may wish to share your experience by capturing screenshots to distribute digitally. You’ll also need screenshots to submit apps to the Oculus Store. We at Foundry 45 have uncovered many different methods of acquiring screenshots, each with their own strengths and limitations.

Method 1: Bluetooth Keyboard Option

The most optimal option is quite self-explanatory. Connecting your phone to any Bluetooth Keyboard and pressing the Print Screen Key (or Function + Print Screen in our case) while the phone is in the VR headset will snap a screenshot. Pictures will be placed in your phone’s gallery and accessible via USB. At Foundry 45, we recently purchased this Bluetooth keyboard from Amazon, and have discovered this to be the most user-friendly method available for obtaining screenshots. The high resolution pictured quality combined with the ease of the process dignify this method over any other current solution. We officially give this option the Foundry 45 Seal of Approval.

keyboard

Limitations:

After buying a Gear VR headset and a VR compatible phone, you might not want to rush to purchase another gadget. Especially when the same quality screenshots can be captured through free, albeit more difficult methods.  If you do buy one, make sure that the keyboard you purchase has a Print Screen button! If it doesn’t, you might end up hating your keyboard more than this guy.

keyboard gifVideo Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BugexqConq8

(Note: You may be able to use a regular keyboard with a USB adapter. Though we have not tested this method, we did come across this tweet that details the process. Looks like this method requires a cable with a male USB end and a female USB end.)

Method 2: Native Video Recording / Screenshot function.

Oculus responded to their users’ communal requests by launching an update to all Android 5.0 phones which enables them to record and screenshot within the Gear VR headset.
In order take screenshots using this method:

1. While viewing inside the headset, hold the back button to bring up the Universal Menu.

2. Select Utilities from the Menu (seen below)

mhm

3. Select the Screenshot option.

4. You will return to whatever application or menu you previously using.

5. You are given 5 seconds to set up the shot. A small red dot on the screen indicates when the picture will be taken.

screen7 edited

6. After you channel your inner photographer, you should hear a shutter flash. The screenshot will be stored in your phone’s gallery and the Oculus folder in your phone’s internal storage.

Final Product

com.oculus.home-20160607-143826Sooooo prrrreeeeeettttyy

Limitations
The screenshots from this method are unfortunately low resolution (1024x1024px). Also, while this method works great for snapping pictures of apps run through the Gear VR Menu, some VR experiences don’t accommodate this function as the Universal Menu is not accessible while the app is running.

On the video side of things, there are also a few hindrances that keep the process from being entirely intuitive.

  • This function only records video, not audio!
  • Unlike the red dot from the screenshot option, there is no recording indicator when capturing video in this method.
  • Video recording will stop any time an app is exited, opened, or when the Universal Menu is opened.
  • Any streaming service like Netflix will completely negate any recording function from the VR headset. Pirates be warned!

painty vr lolARGH!

Method 3: Android SDK tools/ Adb route.
Despite its moderate learning curve, this process has proven to be the most effective way for us to capture screenshots from the phone within the Gear VR headset without the purchase of additional hardware. If you’re not afraid of the command prompt, prepare to have your mind blown.

vertigo finalVideo source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WAxDlUOw-w

Step 1) Download the Android SDK Toolkit on your PC/Mac
https://developer.android.com/studio/index.html

Install using these instructions!

Step 2) Enable USB Debugging on your Android
a.) Select the Settings Cog from the top swipe-down menu

b.) Select About Device

c.) Tap “Build Number” 7 times to enable Developer Mode

d.) Go back to the previous menu

e.) Select Developer Options

f.) Enable USB Debugging

Step 3) Connect to your Android through Wifi
a.) Connect Android to PC via USB

b.) Open Command Prompt on the PC

c.) Ensure Device is connected by typing: adb devices

d.) Should see Phone serial listed

e.) Turn on Phone Wifi

f.) Find Out Phone IP address by typing in PC: adb shell ip addr show wlan0

g.) Among all the information, locate the IP address.

h.) Should be in format: 192.168.1.111

i.) Type in: adb tcpip 5555

j). Disconnect the USB cable

k.) Type in this sequence with your IP address: adb connect 192.168.1.111

l.) Ensure Device is connected by typing: adb device

Step 4) Snap Some Shots Baby!

Dancing Wedding Photographer | Foundry 45

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiccRcnjPtE

a.) Place the Phone in the VR Headset and run any app you want.

b.) Record your first screenshot by typing and entering in the PC: adb shell screencap /sdcard/screen1.png

c.) Record your second screenshot by typing and entering in the PC: adb shell screencap /sdcard/screen2.png

d.) Continue this process until your heart’s content.

e.) To access these files, simply reconnect your Phone to Computer via USB! They’ll be in DCIM/Screenshots

f.) To disconnect Phone from Wifi, type: adb disconnect

Limitations:
Obviously, technical expertise will benefit you while accomplishing this task, but if you stick closely to this guide, you can complete every step without any prior knowledge. Though being user friendly isn’t this method’s strong suit, learning something never hurt anyone (Except maybe Oedipus). Be conscious of how your headset is tilted while you enter the screenshot function because it will affect the picture. Because this process isn’t optimized for VR quite yet, screenshots will be doubled (like below) as this is what the actual phone screen is displaying. The same is the case for the Bluetooth Keyboard method, but simply cropping the image can solve this problem!

screen1
Feel free to come to us for all questions and needs related to this cool Virtual Reality tech!

Oracle Pictures   You can call us the Ora-cool

If you’re interested in creating your own Virtual Reality application for your trade show or recruiting efforts, be sure to contact Foundry 45 for premiere content!

Article Sources + Related Reading
https://twitter.com/AndrewDickerson/status/618842069734305792

http://uploadvr.com/take-screenshot-gear-vr/

http://www.sammobile.com/2016/01/06/samsung-gear-vr-screenshot/

http://www.roadtovr.com/natively-record-video-take-screenshots-gear-vr/

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com

Follow Us!

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Trade Show VR Best Practices

So it looks like you’ve made the right decision to use a Virtual Reality Experience to enhance your upcoming trade show event. Prepare to be the talk of the town! By taking on this new storytelling format, you’ve effectively swallowed the red pill, and through this rabbit hole, you will discover several amazing opportunities not available through other means. But be wary, you may want some help navigating this new virtual world. This post shall be your guiding light.

Swallowed the red pill | Foundry 45

Equipment checklist:

  • 2 phones per Gear VR headset
  • Swivel chair(s)
  • Fast chargers for phones
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Lens cloths
  • Headphones
  • Stickers with your brand to put on headset

Step 1: Do a Dry Run Before the Show

This will work out any unexpected issues, both with the equipment and process. Be sure to tell guests to turn their heads to look all around!

Step 2: Prepare to Teach VR Newbies

Considering the cutting edge nature of the technology you are using, you are almost guaranteed to expose someone to their first VR experience. Hardwire a short instructional bit into your presentation, and be eager to answer any questions you encounter!

dana_putting_on_gearvrBooth Visitor: So I’m gonna be able to see really far away when I look into it, right?

Step 3: During the Show

Nothing will damper your amazing virtual reality experience like a dead phone battery or constant extraneous notifications. Take several measures beforehand to ensure your visitors maximize their immersion.

  • Fully charge all phone batteries prior to the event
  • Put all phones in airplane mode and deactivate Wifi
  • Every time you start app and put in GearVR, turn the volume back up (buttons on side). The volume resets every time the phone is removed.
  • Swap out phones in the headsets to cool down and recharge every hour
  • Remove phones from headset to charge and do not charge via the port on the newer GearVR units (this will allow them to cool off)
  • Make sure the app is at the start screen for new guests. If the previous person did not finish, just point the headset straight up for 5s to reset.

Step 4: Create a safe Virtual Reality zone

Just like The Matrix, when people are “jacked in” to a virtual world, their actual body can still be subject to harm.

Swivel chairs are your friend and your most trusted companion in order to avoid hilarious incidents like that one. You need to have a swivel chair for every VR headset you are running. Also to increase immersion, be generous in granting your visitors enough space for them to turn around freely. Consider roping off the area near each chair.

roped vr

Step 5: Concentration on Sanitation

If your event goes according to plan, your VR headset will come into contact with hundreds of people’s faces. Taking proper measures to guarantee that your equipment is functionally clean between every use is imperative in order to garner a positive response.

lol

We recommend wiping down the face pads with alcohol wipes and the lens with lint-free cloths in between guests.

Step 6: Help out your Marketing Team

Taking pictures and recording videos of people enjoying a VR experience will undoubtedly help your publicity efforts. Showing people that your event was a success rather than telling them will help with online posts and articles concerning your trade show experience. Record quotes from people who really engaged with your VR content, and try to obtain an honest opinion of their experience. Keeping record of these positive interactions increases the likelihood that your company will invest in future virtual reality endeavors.

Step 7: Cardboard Headsets!

Branded cardboard is a great giveaway that will keep your brand top of mind, and also provide access to hundreds of other Cardboard enabled apps in the app stores. If you’ve developed a custom cardboard app, we recommend helping people find and download the app from the store. This can require WiFi depending on your app.

ll See how happy they make people!

Now that you have been fully trained in the art of hosting a Virtual Reality trade show booth, you are ready to reap the rewards of all your hard work and preparation. Following these steps are all you need to do to guarantee that your event will run smoothly. People will receive a solid impression of your product and mission statement through your effective use of a Virtual Reality Experience. By learning all these helpful tips, tricks, and preparatory steps before your trade show event, one could say you have dodged a bullet.

If you’re interested in utilizing VR at your next trade show event, be sure to contact Foundry 45 for VR premiere content!

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com

Follow Us!

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