How To Record VR – A complete look

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VR has been in demand for some time now, and you must have been wondering how to record VR. Well, we are here to help you with just that, but you also need to have an understanding of how VR works and its mechanics.

What Is VR?

Virtual Reality is exactly what the name suggests. It is a user interface, completely different from the conventional one. The person gets to live the reality in a 3D environment. This is a milestone for the technology industry. 

How Does VR Work?

VR actually tricks the human brain into perceiving digital content as real. However, this was a problem at first as humans have peripheral vision and VR only provides a 180° vision. However, with recent advancements, 360° vision VR has been released.

It works on the simulation of two components- a content source and a user device. In short, software and hardware. For experiencing VR, one needs to have a set of gadgets like headsets, all-direction treadmills, special gloves, goggles. 

These devices usually require the following measurements to create virtual reality:

  1. Image Resolution
  2. Field of View
  3. Refresh Rate
  4. Motion Delay
  5. Pixel Persistence
  6. Audio/Video Synchronization

First, the headset is worn by the user, and through a cable (HDMI), transfer the image from the PC to the headset. It is not necessary to have a PC to experience VR. You can install the software on your phones too and connect it to the headset. If you are using a smartphone, you need to get Google Cardboard and GearVR. This acts as both VR content and an android phone. 

Sometimes, lenses are applied to flat images to make them three-dimensional. With VR devices, one can usually achieve up to a 100-110° field of sight. To make the virtual simulations look realistic, you have to have a frame rate of 60 fps, at least.

Recording VR

As you have now gone through the workings of the VR, it should be easier for you to understand how to record VR. There are certain computer softwares like Unity, Unreal, CryEngine, etc which will help you to record them. There are various methods to record these VR:

1. 360° Video Capture

As the name suggests, this video will give the user a full 360° VR experience. It is usually recorded with a special rig of cameras or a specific camera with multiple lenses. After recording the footage, it is edited as a single video with the help of software editing apps. These help to analyze common visuals and audio and then synchronise them. They also link the different camera feeds together. 

While making the video and editing it, you have to keep in mind that there are two types of 360° content. The first is Stereoscopic Content, which gives the user a 360° overview of the environment. The objects that the user sees near them, in the video, are also in 3D. Another one is Monoscopic Content, which does not have any 3D effect whatsoever. Monoscopic Content is easier to make and distribute than the Stereoscopic.

2. Light Field Capture

Light Field Capture allows you to have six degrees of motion freedom within the camera’s volume. This would allow the user to move around within the volume of the sphere and also lean in towards the objects in the simulation. This also has a vertical and horizontal parallax, giving it more depth and perspective than the other VRs. 

Light fields are a very simple concept. A light field is basically from where all the light will pass through in an area or volume. However, the implementation could be a bit hard to pull off. You can capture a light field by using an array of multiple cameras and a plenoptic device, which should have an array of microlenses across its sensor. The core principle of Light Field Capture is that the system needs to record the path of light rays coming from multiple viewpoints.

3. Volumetric 3D Capture

This mode of capturing VR is the closest to reality anyone can get. This allows you to see scenes with three-dimensional humans, which means that you can basically walk around them and watch them from any angle. 

Through this VR, the user usually shoots the whole scene from their own perspective. This has the capacity of taking the film industry’s technology to the next level. This is usually shot with the help of 360° cameras and involves a lot of technical aspects. 

4. Photogrammetry

Another commonly used  VR capturing mode. Photogrammetry has been used in a lot of fields, from architecture to meteorologists, and is a very widely used technology. This is also used in video games to create a realistic environment. This mode of VR does not require much effort in recording as most of it has to be edited. Hence, it is advisable to check out a few good VR editing apps and use them.

The principle on which photogrammetry works is triangulation. Photographs are taken from two locations at least, and then a line of sight is developed with each camera pointing to the object. These lines of sights are then intersected mathematically to produce 3-dimensional coordinates of the point of interest.  

Go Shoot!

Now that you have a bit of understanding about how to record VR and the different types, you can easily find your comfort zone. Recording a VR requires a lot of technical knowledge and a bit of practice. Make sure to do thorough research, be calculative, and most importantly, you should have all the necessary devices. VR is mostly based on the devices required to record and edit them. If the recording and editing are not exactly on point, the VR might not turn out to be so great.

Being a little careful and having a lot of patience will definitely pave you the way towards an amazing VR video. All the best!