New People, Places, and Play

New People, Places, and Play

posted in: A Video We Made, Announcements | 0

Announcements, new videos, VR in museums, and what you may have missed.

1. Welcome Evelyn!

The big news of the week is that Evelyn Eastmond is officially joining eleVR! As you may have noticed if you’re up to date on her recent posts, she has an astounding depth of thought on VR and its relationship to computation, communication, and humanity. We’re thrilled to have her working with us.

You can read Evelyn’s bio on the shiny new HARC website!

2. HARC updates

Back in May, eleVR joined the newly-formed Human Advancement Research Community. Now the new organization is up and running and we even have a shiny new website, as mentioned above:

Though we haven’t directly collaborated with other groups at HARC much yet, we love being within the general sphere of research activity and are positively influenced by being deep in the context other groups are working in.

We shot some spherical video of one of our latest visits to another HARC office, where we got to play with Chaim Gingold‘s “Paper Entertainment System”:

That kind of deep play, beyond what the system was intended for, is possible when you’ve all been working around each other for a while. Like bouncing dots in an edge detection system, it’s good to let ideas collide.

3. Fool’s Mate

Speaking of play, our latest spherical video features a chess game and a mix between live action and stop-motion animation:

This one was fun because I got to Foley some sounds, and I always love an excuse to add in some piano music. The Foleyed sound is especially important in this case in order to create a continuous feeling to the rather low frame rate of the stop motion parts.

4. Spherical Video in Museums

When I visited the Greensboro History Museum a few weeks ago, curator Jon Zachman was kind enough to allow me to put a spherical camera into one of Otto Zenke’s miniature rooms that the museum has on display, and tell me a little about the history:

It’s very compelling, the way the camera lets you experience a different scale. There’s no other way to get yourself inside of one of these miniature rooms. But beyond the awesomeness and naturalness for spherical video, it’s also an example of how VR can add to museums in a way that truly adds to the experience, rather than just a gimmicky use of new tech.

I was allowed to film inside the piece because the Greensboro museums and libraries people are already on board with the idea of virtual reality, they just don’t have the hardware or the technology expertise in house. But it was good to hear these conversations happening, and the willingness to dive in!

Rather than simply virtualizing and digitizing collections in a way that doesn’t provide a deeper experience than looking at an object through glass, VR can be used to let visitors into spaces they cannot access otherwise, or to manipulate digital versions of objects in ways they otherwise couldn’t.

There’s a lot more to be written on this topic, and more things to try!

5. Other recent happenings

Also while in Greensboro, I recorded a short video of the Janet Echelman piece “Where We Met” in LeBauer Park. In contrast with the museum potential discussed above, this video is definitely in the category of digitizing something that is much better experienced in person (and is possible to do so), rather than providing something above and beyond what someone could experience without the technology. But for those who are not near Greensboro, I hope it can communicate some of the wonder!

On another topic, while Andrea blogged about our new projects page, you may not know that there are now some pages for projects we hadn’t previously documented on the site. One of the biggest omissions over the past couple years was our work on hyperbolic VR, so that now has a hefty project page, as well as this video: