VRFocus Diversity Initiative July 2018

VRFocus Diversity Initiative  July 2018 Event

VRFocus Diversity Initiative (VRDI) has the aim to make emerging XR technologies such as AR and VR more inclusive. This is done by offering participants from under-represented groups the opportunity to get hands on with high-end VR headsets, 360 cameras and VR ready laptops to create either a 360 film or VR experience.

The 2018 Events are held every 2 months and I was accepted to attend Event held Tuesday, 31st July 2018. This was hosted by Plexal: Technology Innovation Centre London. It was organised and facilitated by Nina Salomons, VRDI Lead & Media Content Producer.

Overview:
The workshop unleashed my creativity, because Course content and instruction was very well tailored. Most importantly Nina Salomons, the VRDI Lead & Facilitator, ensured good attendee interaction and focus on outcomes. The VR (immersion) demos on the day influenced me as well as my discussion with instructors and attendees to understand the opportunities in emerging XR technologies.  Having taken part in the this Initiative, I am now prepared to take on role of project manager/producer in the Media & Entertainment sector.

Review:
The workshop gave me insights into VR industry and also increased confidence in my abilities. It will serve as a platform to further build my skill-set. I would recommend VRDI to others who are keen to take their first steps towards a career in VR since it is a very well structured programme and the learning environment is open, flexible and well supported.

Ade VRDIVRDI Workshops:
There were 3 workshops available:
Attendees were enabled to choose the one workshop which suited:

1) 360 film. Learning the theory of film-making and practice how to shoot on a consumer 360 camera, stitch and create a 360/VR film. The objective was to make participants feel confident enough to take a 360 camera and create their own films. Also to experiment with perspective, size, scale and how the movement of camera effected viewers.

2) Unity 3d. Learning coding using project framework with VR capable Laptops provided. The objective was to teach participants how to create a virtual reality (VR) project in the video game software application Unity.

3) Web VR – Learning how to create VR for a browser. The objective was to show how this could be done using browsers on mobile phones and basic laptops. There were exercises to help with coding and choice of media tool kits.

Workshop Participation: Unity 3d
This workshop was led by Sam Perrin, Founder of Virtual Vault @DigitalPerrin. He broke down the unity 3d scenes using  VR_Toolkit to build VR prototype. Participants learnt how to create a rough virtual reality (VR) prototype for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on VR ready laptops. We were taught the basic skills on how to get started in VR and project was on using film workflows [from 360 film] to create an interactive Unity project.

Workshop Demonstrations:
Alongside the practical workshops, demos were given by VR Experts for case studies:

1) Chris Long @vreducation provided headset and hardware that provided VR immersion with scenario of RAF Lancaster bomber sorties in WW2.

2) Richard Johnston, CEO @Geve3d [based at Plexal] shared a video which showed the use of gaming technology to provide immersive 3D environments and cutting-edge interactive mapping for large-scale civil engineering projects.

Support:
After taking part in the event, attendees were added to a Facebook Group of past VRDI participants to progress ideas and projects and look for other people eager to work on VR projects and connect.

Acknowledgement:
Additional supporters of the VR Diversity Initiative include HTC Vive, Innovate UK , Oculus, Barclays Eagle Labs ,BlueHire and the Realities Centre.

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