The irony of virtual reality is that, despite being a visual medium, it remains incredibly difficult to convey in a faithful manner. It’s not just about the visual impact of an experience but also the immersion factor.
I made a post a few months ago in which I filmed myself using the Oculus Rift at a desk. In that video, I cross-faded the perspectives of a bystander and user in an attempt to communicate how people can interact with a 3D environment using a headset.
Virtual Reality represents something of a growth industry right now but it will take time to convince people of its promise as a means for channelling emotional bandwidth. In the right hands, it could become a powerful educational tool. As always, the issues around how to establish best practice will take time to address and, because of this, it’s a great time for both experimentation and innovation.
In the video below, I’m using a green screen to chroma key the output of Oculus, thereby creating the effect of allowing people to see as I do during the session. This is far less complicated (and looks very 1980s) than the method used by Valve, which you can see here.
It does mean having to restrict movement in some ways, no facing the camera, not looking straight down etc… These tend to create confusing visual effects.
I’ll be posting more in the future as I continue to experiment with things. We’re at the beginning of something which promises to revolutionise the human computer interface and contribute to the human condition in ways we’ve yet to envisage.