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Imagine watching a 3D movie where you can look around a scene as it happens in front of you – Making View are working to make that happen.
Norway based Making View has been producing high resolution 360 degree content since 2005. As early backers of the Oculus Rift, the company sees great potential for the HMD, due for consumer release next year, to enable a whole new way of enjoying video content. They have already created a player for the Oculus but are now working on an enhancement that will bring a whole new meaning to the term 'interactive video', as revealed in this exclusive interview with Making View Chief Software Engineer Daniel Ervik.
In the above video, you can accompany Jokke and his friend Marius Lundeby to a rib inside the Trollfjord and share a uniqe ride with their speedrider down the wonderful mountains of this area. Click to view.
3D Focus: Is your Oculus viewer able to convert 360 degree footage into stereoscopic 3D?
Daniel Ervik: Our viewer is currently using our existing 360 degree content which is not shot stereoscopic. The viewer partially compensates by displacing the camera for each eye, thus giving an end result which people will find exciting.
Our current cameras used in production do not shoot stereoscopic 360 degree content, but after creating the VR viewer we saw the use for this, and have therefore begun experimenting with a new camera rig to explore and try to solve the challenges this presents.
3D Focus: What are your personal thoughts about the Oculus Rift and do you think the expected increase in resolution for the consumer model will make a large difference to the experience?
Daniel Ervik: I was personally one of the early backers of the Oculus system, which was the reason why I got it early and created the VR viewer. Ever since we first heard of it, both my fiance and I believed this would lead to a serious reboot in the world of VR, and I believe this is exactly what is going on now. It is important to keep in mind that the current device is meant for developers, which explains why many of the features are not what consumers would expect nowadays. Although the resolution is not as big of a problem as the motion blur issue on the current gen, I do believe a higher resolution of 2560 x 1600 would make sense, especially with an increased pixel size and density combined with reduced motion blurring. For the consumer this would mean the difference between buying or not buying the end device.
3D Focus: In theory, would it be possible to install one of your 360 degree cameras in one part of the world, remotely controlled and viewed by an Oculus Rift wearing person in another, so they could look around a live scene in real time?
Daniel Ervik: Yes, we have theories on how this should work, and we are currently working on this.
3D Focus: Do you expect increased business from theme park companies and experiential marketing agencies?
Daniel Ervik: Yes, these are exciting times! With the reboot of VR there are many new markets and uses we see for our content, and probably twice as many we don't even know of yet.
3D Focus: Would it be feasible to produce a short movie, specifically for the Oculus Rift? For example, using your camera technology, a person wearing the Oculus could watch a scene play out in front of them from any angle?
Daniel Ervik: Yes. This is basically what our current VR viewer enables, though we see much potential in expanding upon the current gen to add social features and more. We have barely scratched the surface. We work with any content our client wants, and we are intrigued by the thought of doing a short horror movies (zombies, Blair witch style, or maybe Slenderman in 360) or music videos.
3D Focus: The dev version of the Oculus Rift only has observational tracking but when linked to devices like the Kinect, positional tracking can be included already. In the future, do you think you could produce video content that could take advantage of positional tracking?
Daniel Ervik: In a current 360 degree spherical video this would maybe not be the most optimal thing to do as the FOV and image distortion could get wrong with positional tracking, but if we for instance build a 360° camera which captures depth and animates the surface of the sphere to give actual 3D depth, then this could be awesome.
3D Focus: Could Google StreetView be converted into stereoscopic 3D and made to work with a HMD like the Oculus?
Daniel Ervik: Yes, we have tested 360 degree images in our VR viewer, and it would not even be required to be stereoscopic for it to work, though it would be even better with stereoscopic 360 image cameras.
3D Focus: You film at incredibly high resolutions; is there a 360 degree cinema system that can support such high res yet?
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Daniel Ervik: I believe there are 360 degree cinemas in the works, but I am unsure as to what resolutions they will work with.
3D Focus: How do you generate revenue from the Making View viewer?
Daniel Ervik: We are now a full service company, and for each production the MakingViewer is a part of this, but the future could open up for us licensing out the software separately.
3D Focus: What do you offer that your competitors like YellowBird can’t?
Daniel Ervik: We have always been on the forefront of development, and with our camera we have filmed videos which could not physically be created with the competing systems (wingsuit flight, 300+ kph racing videos, airplanes, skiers etc.).
3D Focus: Is most of your content viewed online or in experiences?
Daniel Ervik: So far most of our content has been viewed online, but we are introducing multiple ways of enjoying our content this spring and summer with everything from the VR player to iOS and android apps. We are keen on supporting more systems, and our player has been integrated in other systems with for instance kinect-based gesture control. I have personally also pre-purchased both the Leap Motion and the MYO among other VR/AR control systems, so I will be experimenting with these in the future. VR systems really make our 360 content come to life and allows the users to immerse themselves like never before. Now it truly is like being there.
You can watch the Making View 360 degree video showreel on the Making View website.
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