More immersion and less dizziness? EVR studio is here to give you tips in VR video production
There are many professional VR studios partnered with VeeR, and today we will introduce you to one of the most popular teams in China—Enlight EVR. With the high-quality VR videos it has made, Enlight EVR Studio has gained 2.5k followers and 1.3k Likes on VeeR. Their team is composed of adventurous 90s who grouped under shared enthusiasm for VR technology and passion for exploring the possibility of creating diverse VR videos.
In China, the establishment of professional VR teams such as EVR Studio is much ahead of the curve. “It would be too late if we didn’t start developing VR technology or content until the market matures”, said EVR Studio’s head Wang Xin. In fact, the Enlight Media Group, a key enterprise in the Chinese media industry, has had a comprehensive arrangement within cultural industry, being one of the earliest investors to have ventured into VR. Its subsidiaries, 7D Vision and Arc Video Tech company, have been global leaders in the field of VR hardware, software, and foundational video technology. Along with the maturity of consumer hardware technology, Enlight Media Group has regarded VR as an opportunity for content innovation.
Speaking of its own video-creating experience, EVR Studio said that the immersion and the brand-new interactive experience that VR brings are beyond the reach of traditional videos. Also, VR is characterized by the huge amount of information, abundant content and giving full rein to its viewers. “According to what the Enlight Media Group has done, there are so many types of videos suitable for VR representation, especially games, sightseeing, live shows, horror and sensual experience. “
“Though for now, VR drama, VR variety shows and VR news haven’t captured the attention of most users, it doesn’t mean that these areas are not cut out for VR.” Wang Xin added, “there are still many areas where no one has tried their hands in. While we are exploring the unknown, we also look forward to others’ accomplishment from the industry.”
EVR studio has created more than 60 well-produced original VR videos on various topics including original drama, horror suspense, freeze-frame animation, landscape, comedy, dance, documentary and so on. Its magnum opus includes the “Appearance of the Time” that first attempted at split-screen; “No Talking”, a VR music video with an envelope narrative and a four-episode suspense series “Hide and Seek”.
Hide and Seek
For the following Q&A section, Enlight EVR Studio has given us lots of detailed advice in respect to professional production and skills. We find it really enlightening, enjoy!
Part I: Professional production
VeeR: What are the commonly used live-action VR recording equipment? Can you give us some advice on affordable devices for beginners and professional devices for advanced creators respectively?
EVR: Our studio started with Insta360 All-in-one. It is simple to operate and portable so should suit starters.
- We are currently using GoPro most of the time. It is also called the “Dog Cage”. Quite a cost-effective one it is.
- The combination of Yi 4K+ and GoPro is worth trying as well. We haven’t had any post-produced videos in our studio currently, but the testing results seem stellar.
- With a decent budget, you can piece together your own SLR camera. It is financially consuming, but the process of camera debugging or simpler post-production stitching (fewer shots required).
VeeR: After live shooting, what are the commonly used softwares for stitching? Can you recommend some?
EVR: We are using the Autopano Video Pro (AVP) produced by KOLOR with Giga. This piece of software can basically cover every stitching demand that we have and is easy to use. Another that we use often is the Nuke CARA VR plug-in. The stitching operation of this one is more complicated but better stabilized.
VeeR: Will you add more visual effects to your videos? Or are you going to stick to shooting in physical sets?
EVR: All forms of special effects and shots serve the purpose of final presentation. Along that line, our studio will not go above and beyond with special effects. Usually visual effects production implies huge initial investment, while the output is not always satisfactory. Considering we expect the best of our productions, we’d prefer not to adulterate our work with slipshod special effects.
Part II: Skills
VeeR: How do you involve your audience into storytelling and guide their sight?
EVR: Our studio has tried many types of narrative methods, most commonly in the first person (subjective perspective) and the third person (bystander perspective). We have also explored how to properly direct lines of sight. Current solutions are leading line guidance, actor guidance, symbol props guidance, and voice guidance. For example, we can simply add arrows to the video to force the audience to look in a certain direction. The audience can also take hints from the actors’ looks, script lines and body movements (such as the tilt of a finger, body, etc.).
VeeR: How to create immersion, sometimes also termed “presence”?
EVR: VR technology itself is the biggest source of immersion. As soon as the viewers put their headsets on, they have already arrived at a naturally immersive virtual world. The creators’ mission is to increase or diminish the immersion depending on the content. In other words, the immersion is in the service of the content. The first and foremost is to increase the resolution and stability of the image which requires the support of VR hardware and software. As for content creation, to provide the audience with more immersive experience, creators can design interaction between actors and recording equipment, increasing viewer-led plot, and stimulate other senses than vision (surround sound, environment design, etc.).
VeeR: How to avoid or reduce dizziness?
EVR: In fact, dizziness varies on a case-by-case basis and it’s difficult to avoid completely. However, it can be reduced through hardware debugging and taking extra care during shooting. Upgrading their gear of the content producers and the hardware configuration for the viewers can also reduce the discomfort caused by image quality. Photographers can also stabilize by better control their camera and through post-production.
VeeR: Any hidden traps while shooting VR videos?
EVR: The biggest yet is that most of our directors changed their lane from traditional directing. This makes it difficult for them to adapt to VR, which eliminates the director’s presence. The second problem is video stitching. We first tried mobile shooting, but stitching of the majority of our material turned out horribly because of shaky motion. We now have come up with solutions such as slowing down in movements, installing stabilizers, maintaining a safe distance, and reduce stitching issues by keeping actors within the same shot. They’ve been working really well, but we need to keep exploring, and welcome other creators to share their tips.
VeeR: If you can give but one most important suggestion to new creators, what would it be?
EVR: Innovate, and don’t stick to the status quo.