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Virtual Reality Shoots Demand a New Set of Tricks

This story first appeared in the April 25, 2017 issue of Variety. Also available online here, just a few bullet points below.

For example, some years ago, when digital cameras came to dominate filmmaking, cinematographers began hiring digital-imaging technicians, or DITs, to handle image-quality control and color correction directly on the set.

And now, with the arrival of virtual-reality entertainment, a new job category has emerged — VR operator — to help manage camera systems on such productions.

The challenges of transitioning from traditional film and TV to VR are obvious. A single camera is enough to capture images for a movie or show, but VR content aims to replicate a realistic 360-degree environment. And the movements of a headset-wearing viewer control the point of view from which that environment is seen.....

Many 360-degree shoots use as many as five camera rigs, compounding the file-management challenges. On the VRLA panel Shooting VR for Post, cinematographer Eve Cohen said that, to her, the various VR camera rigs are akin to the different lenses she uses on a traditional production, “and I’m not going to show up on a shoot with one kind of lens.”

VR operators manage these systems. “To me, it’s like having somebody in charge of that camera — not necessarily from a creative standpoint, but with a technical understanding,” Cohen said.....

The technology is tricky, to be sure. But it’s clear that it takes a VR operator to help figure it out.



Interviewed in late fall 2016, Eve's episode aired April 2017, one of 10 in B&H Photo's series "Women of Influence."  Each episode is available on the B&H website here. The other incredible women photographers and cinematographers Cristina Mittermeier, Barbara Davidson, Brooke Shaden, Elsa Garrison, Kirsten Johnson, Sandy Puc, Vivienne Gucwa, Katrin Eismann, and Polly Morgan. 

This series is an inspirational look at the talent, drive, and perseverance that forged some remarkable photographic and filmmaking careers.

Ten leading women explore their works, the stories of how each built careers, overcame challenges, and developed signature styles.

This series is brought to you by B&H, with the generous support of Canon and Sony.



VRLA 2017

Guest speaker part of the International Cinematographers Guild panel at VRLA 2017 "Shooting VR for Post"  ICG Co-panelists:  Dane Brehm, Andrew Shulkind, Evan Pesses and Andrew Cochrane. Moderated by Michael Chambliss.

Shooting VR for Post [Association with International Cinematographers Guild (ICG)]

In live VR production, “fixing it in post” takes on a whole new dimension, impacting both the creative and technical decisions made on set. How does the cinematographer collaborate with the director to design shots and block action with the strengths and drawbacks of stitching algorithms in mind? How does the cinematographer develop the look and manage color (with the DIT) in the absence of established color pipelines? What are some of the tips and tricks for shooting live action that will blend as easily as possible with 360-degree CG? What is the most effective way to design VR workflows from set to post? Hear from leading VR filmmakers about how they combine innovation and years of experience to shoot the highest quality live action VR footage possible with today’s technology.



APRIL 25, 2016.  ART AND TECH.

STUDIO 360:  The Pioneers Who Are Making The First Virtual Reality Narratives.  By Andrew Marantz.