AN ‘IMMERSIVE’ STORY IN THE MAKING – Startups Bend the Rule to Ride the New VR Matrix

VR is becoming a very integral part of sectors like travel & tourism, realty, events and gaming

Ankur Maheshwari, a senior vice-president at real estate firm Developer Group, wanted to try something new for the company’s upcoming project in Chennai. He did not want the usual animations. He then heard about SmartVizX, a Noida-based virtual reality startup. Within a month and a half, the project was delivered and all Maheshwari could say was “Wow! This is it!” Virtual reality (VR), where a viewer is the centre of the experience rather than just being a passive viewer, is soon becoming a very integral part of many sectors like travel and tourism, real estate, events and gaming. It is broadly divided into two areas -360-degree and digitally-created videos. But then, how exactly are these ‘immersive’ experiences created?
“Broadly speaking, it is the same as creating a film, the only difference is in VR, you are the actor. Which means, we have to shoot from your point of view,” said Kshitij Marwah, CEO of Tesseract. “In an actual film, the vantage point is the director, in this case, wherever you see, you move, that is where the story will happen.”

This ‘immersive’ experience comes with its own set of thumb rules. For shooting a 360-degree video, where the viewer can see all around him her at any given time, using a headgear like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, an extensive recce of the spot is the starting point.

“We first do a recce. Once we are done with the recce, we go to storyboarding,” said Sushant Baliga, CEO of SpectraVR. “First thing we keep in mind when we shoot is the placement of cameras. It has to be in close proximity to the action or the subject.” Once the position of the camera is determined, the next is to place it at the right height, so that the video seems natural.

The cameras required for such a shoot are very different. “We take about six GoPro’s and fit them onto a rig, which is a holder for multiple cameras at different angles, so that the 360-degree video is captured. Once we fit them on the rig we start recording,” said Parth Choksi, cofounder at Meraki. The number of cameras can range from four to 10 depending on the requirement for the shoot.

Once the footage is recorded, it then has to be ‘stitched together’ using VR-specific software. “We take the individual footage, export it and then use a software to stitch it together. While stitching we need to ensure that there are no glitches or lines or errors viewed. Once this is done, the normal film-making process takes over,” added Choksi.

If 360-degree videos are one part of the spectrum, the other is to actually design an ‘immersive’ experience using graphic artists, designers and programmers. This is where startups like SmartVizX come into the picture. “A show flat will cost a crore and six months to build and then showcase. With VR you can create it in 45 days, at almost one-tenth the cost,” said Tithi Tewari, co founder of SmartVizX.

The future of VR is clear -it aims to change viewing experience across sectors. “In the future, live streaming and live stitching will take place simultaneously. So, if you are not present at a concert and want to have an immersive experience -then this is how it will take place. People will pay to have a live-streaming experience,” said Shubham Mishra, CEO of Absentia.

Source : The Economic Times (Delhi)



Neeraj; an entrepreneur & a visionary in the field of Railway, Defense & Automobiles, is a graduate in commerce and a Harvard Business School Alumni. He’s an expert in govt. liasoning & contracting and has an exceptional network & connections at both local as well as global level. He’s an expert in Market Strategy & Planning and has served number of overseas companies as an advisor/consultant. He takes a profound interest in upcoming startups & is very receptive towards ground-breaking ideas & innovations. He likes to brainstorm those ideas and if the values & philosophies matches; he is even ready to invest his resources, serve as a mentor or act as an incubator to futuristic businesses.

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