19 January 2018

VR Volumetric Photogrammetry

For consumers, VR generally means strapping on a head-mounted display (HMD), stepping into a new world and enjoying the experience. The enveloping nature of VR allows people to explore environments in 360 degrees, but for most, how these immersive worlds are created is a mystery. Though VR is still in its infancy, traditional methods of capturing and transforming footage have emerged. Typically, to shoot 360-degree VR content, a camera-person employs several cameras rigged in a spherical formation to capture the scene. Each camera is mounted at a specific angle so the camera’s field of view will overlap portions of the surrounding cameras’ field of view. With the overlap, editors should be able to get more seamless footage, without any gaps. Alternatively, professional 360-degree cameras can be purchased, but more or less look and function the same as hand-rigged apparatuses. Once filming is completed, editors stitch together the footage, creating a unified, continuous experience.

In addition to camera formation, camera placement also plays a major role in the end result of a particular piece of immersive content. Depending on what the content creator wants the consumer to experience, camera placement will vary. Though the creative direction will ultimately determine placement, it is important to note that even with several rigs placed throughout a set, this method creates a more static outcome. Volumetric photogrammetry could possibly hold the key to the future of VR. Unlike the method mentioned above, there are no takes or shots in volumetric VR that are later edited in post-production. This allows for a much more fluid experience, as the consumer frames the scene and chooses his or her own perspective. Using the volumetric capture method, footage of a real person is recorded from various viewpoints, after which software analyzes, compresses and recreates all the viewpoints of a fully volumetric 3D human. With volumetric VR explained, photogrammetry’s defining characteristic is the principle of triangulation.

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