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Facebook Graphics Star Wars Prequels Entertainment

Facebook Finally Delivers On the VRML Dream With Immersive Star Wars Video 58

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook has launched its 360-degree video feature, with an eye to virtual reality and next year's release of the Oculus Rift. Among the showcase videos is a specially rendered 'fly-through' of a scene from new Star Wars movie 'The Force Awakens', allowing the viewer to pan laterally and horizontally as the movie progresses. This kind of immersive video was made possible with Apple's QuickTime VR in the 1990s, but was hampered by the same technological bottlenecks of the period as VRML.
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Facebook Finally Delivers On the VRML Dream With Immersive Star Wars Video

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  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @09:58AM (#50589009) Homepage

    Well, I know we've all been waiting with bated breath to have cat videos rendered in immersive VR.

    No, wait, the other one ... so, I can what, scroll around in the movie? I'm afraid I'm not getting the point of this. This sounds like one of those technologies which people want to create but nobody knows why they'd need it.

    Maybe I don't watch enough cat videos.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Do you really want to restrict the choice of camera angles to a decision made by a highly experienced professional artist? Surely I should be given the freedom to accidentally be looking the wrong way as a major plot point unfolds, because then I get an individualised experience of "what the hell is happening here?!?"

      Captcha: record.
      Which raises an interesting question -- if I'm out when the 360-degree film is broadcast, am I going to have to set the viewing angles for the DVR to avoid unnecessary hard-driv

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        Do you really want to restrict the choice of camera angles to a decision made by a highly experienced professional artist? Surely I should be given the freedom to accidentally be looking the wrong way as a major plot point unfolds, because then I get an individualised experience of "what the hell is happening here?!?"

        That would actually increase rewatchability for movies. Watch it once to get the story line, then rewatch it and look around scenes to see what you missed. Imagine doing this with a war movie or a space exploration movie. A good example would be Saving Private Ryan. Imagine watching the D-Day scene from the beach like normal, then watching it again from the vantage point of a German bunker. Hell, even deep sea or animal documentaries would be awesome with this type of technology. Of course, production

    • I watched a demo, using a Rift dev kit, where you have a virtual front row seat at a concert. It was amazing.

    • Well, I know we've all been waiting with bated breath to have cat videos rendered in immersive VR.

      No, wait, the other one ... so, I can what, scroll around in the movie? I'm afraid I'm not getting the point of this. This sounds like one of those technologies which people want to create but nobody knows why they'd need it.

      Maybe I don't watch enough cat videos.

      At the risk of stating the obvious, this will surely become popular if it makes porn better.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How about you fuck off?

    • I haven't had Flash installed for years and this video played just fine. How about you fuck off?
  • the real VRML dream: see rule 34

    • You mean we can finally look around at the living rooms of the houses they rent to film porn?

      I've always thought those were beautiful houses, and wish I could see more of the decor.

      Oh, baby, look at those curtains!! And that decorative urn!

      I'll be in my bunk!

      • No it means we can turn our head when the director decides the focus is on the man's ugly face 5 seconds before the money shot.

        err I mean I don't know anything about it. Porn is shot in houses? Really? Wouldn't know.

    • Doesn't look very 360 to me. The player seems to have a bit of control over the view, but Wikipedia lists it as a rail shooter.

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @10:15AM (#50589105)

    It's not a technological problem. The real issues with this kind of technology is that it removes direction from the movie. Directors use different angles, aspect ratios, focal lenghts, etc to direct and control the viewer's attention. How do that do that if the viewer is in control of the camera.

    They may partially try to do that and then you end up with the stupid situation like that scene in Avatar where the main character wakes from cryo. It was a classic change of focus from a water droplet to the main character, but in 3D it was distracting as heck as I was trying to focus on the water droplet but couldn't. This would not be helped if I could move the camera to not even look at the character in the first place.

    • but in 3D it was distracting as heck

      I have seen a 3D film exactly twice ... both of them Avatar.

      Both times I left with a massive headache which lasted several hours, and sore eyes which lasted a day or so.

      Just not interested.

      I know this is for things like VR goggles, but I'm suddenly thinking of the multi-angle feature of DVDs pretty much nobody ever used except porn.

      And on the few occasions I ever saw porn with multi angle in it (purely for scientific purposes I assure you), it seemed like an utterly point

      • >Both times I left with a massive headache which lasted several hours, and sore eyes which lasted a day or so.

        That has to do with your head, not Avatar, where the 3D was done very well. 3D is not for everyone.
      • Jeff is right, i watched Avatar in 3D twice (once myself, once with someone else because they wanted someone to see it with) and both times were great with no issues.
        I also watched probably 4-5 other movies in the new 3D glasses, with the same outcome. It might have to do with eyesight or perception.
        Either way, it's not the tech that is an issue, it's how humans aren't the same.

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      It's not a technological problem. The real issues with this kind of technology is that it removes direction from the movie. Directors use different angles, aspect ratios, focal lenghts, etc to direct and control the viewer's attention. How do that do that if the viewer is in control of the camera.

      They may partially try to do that and then you end up with the stupid situation like that scene in Avatar where the main character wakes from cryo. It was a classic change of focus from a water droplet to the main character, but in 3D it was distracting as heck as I was trying to focus on the water droplet but couldn't. This would not be helped if I could move the camera to not even look at the character in the first place.

      Not just direction, but camerawork and editing skills also. In some movies, the camera is "handheld" (or at least edited later to have a "handheld" motion) and this motion is sometimes exploited to show different things in the scene. I noticed this in Blue is the Warmest Color, especially in many of the dialogue scenes. The camera will pan just a very small amount, seemingly randomly, as if it were handheld. But often there is something that was just out of view that is relevant to the current Dialogue.

      F

    • The focus issue has little to do with VR; it's something inherent to 3D (and hard to solve)

      VR won't remove direction from the movie; the director will still have to take decisions about camera setup and directing the viewer's attention, but he'll have to go about it differently. For instance the director will have to make decisions about where the action takes place. In front of the viewer is a safe default; you end up with a regular movie in which you can look around to ejoy the scenery. But the dire
      • just as he proved with Avatar that 3D can work wonders for immersion

        Well, he may have proved it to you.

        What he proved to me is I can't stand movies in 3D, and will never see another again. I'm not paying extra for something which gives me a headache.

        • Not everyone gets headaches from 3D, but it's a good point actually... 3D movies still "work" in 2D, but is that the case for VR movies with the 3D removed as well? What does non-stereoscopic VR look like?
          • I assume you can't have that ... me, I leave the VR to anybody who actually cares.

            I strongly suspect immersive VR would make me vomit. I just don't see myself ever caring enough to find out.

      • The focus issue has little to do with VR; it's something inherent to 3D (and hard to solve)

        I know. I used it as an example where a change of technology has resulted in a very VERY jarring effect that completely destroyed the scene due to the way the director applied some classic techniques. VR applies in the same way. The more control you give the user to immerse themselves in the scene the harder it is to control their eyes, a skill that directors have been perfecting since the days of black and white silent films.

        Avatar was a technical marvel and looked incredible. But it doesn't get a free pas

      • VR won't remove direction from the movie; the director will still have to take decisions about camera setup and directing the viewer's attention, but he'll have to go about it differently.

        True enough.

        For example, in a stage play, the Director can't force the audience to place their attention to a certain part of the (usually pretty large) stage; but he can use visual and audible cues, motion and lighting to essentially lead the audience around by the nose.

        And anyone who has seen a well-done stage production will likely attest to the effectiveness of these techniques.

  • by RogueWarrior65 ( 678876 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @10:23AM (#50589137)

    Sure, you can look around all you want but you can't move anywhere you want.

    • by idji ( 984038 )
      that's ok. Myst was a great game in the 1990's where you couldn't move around in a 360 degree view. Today's games render from any location. In another 20 years we will have real time rendering from any location. What we have now with this movie is the personal VR experience of being on that ship flying across the desert.
  • llowing the viewer to pan laterally and horizontally

    And there's me thinking they were the same thing.

    For even greater pedantry, "panning" in photography usually only refers to horizontal* rotation. The vertical version is "tilt".

    *by which I mean rotation about a vertical axis, just in case anyone even more pedantic than me wanted to pipe up.

    • llowing the viewer to pan laterally and horizontally

      And there's me thinking they were the same thing.

      I thought you only got both with the deluxe version.

    • And there's me thinking they were the same thing.

      Think of it like a first person shooter ... there's pivoting so you're actually turning the camera lens ... there's also the one in which the lens points in the same direction but the whole camera moves side to side.

      So, I suspect there is the ability to spin around a point, or move the lens left and right without changing the direction the lens points.

    • I think they mean that when viewers ultimately review the movie negatively (ie, 'pan' it), those viewers will be able to do so from either a recumbant or standing position.

  • YouTube's been doing this for a while now... example [youtube.com]
  • A free-roaming viewport with live action video overlaid on rendered 3D.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • The "dream" of VRML was to have a standard file format for virtual rendered environments. A 360 video does not deliver that at all.
  • ...from about 1995. I thought it was going to be the coolest thing ever. Fast forward 20 years, and I hear about it for the second time. Sounds like progress!

  • Wasn't SecondLife based on VRML? I remember reading about the promise of VRML; virtual shopping malls, real estate, massive multiplayer games, etc... I never played around in SL but I thought that it was all VRML.
  • Tip O'Neil's 3D House of Representatives [vimeo.com], FTW!

    Oh, how I miss that show.
  • No need to click, it's not VRML. It's just a pannable animation in Javascript. You can't move around or interact with anything.

    From the equally awful article:

    [VRML was] ultimately superseded by WebGL.

    No. VRML (and its XML variant, X3D) is a scene description language. It's not procedural but (scriptable) markup, like HTML. WebGL is a procedural low-level 3D API for Javascript. Not comparable at all. You can do X3D on top of WebGL: X3DOM [x3dom.org]

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