Our first open sessions hosted at The Watershed's Pervasive Media Studio were a success! And, according to the workshop attendees, they were a lot of fun too. (Not to mention relaxing.)
" Relaxed and friendly! "
" Really enjoyed how equally relaxing and productive the sessions were. They were facilitated really well, made the whole process of creating 360 video much less intimidating - very accessible and easily understandable! "
" Very welcoming, relaxed and paced according to attendees' skills/interests. " The workshops spanned June to August, taking place mostly on Friday evenings to try and accommodate all session-goers. Our workshops aim to encourage newcomers to the medium, sparking an interest with anyone and everyone who is interested in learning something new. The majority of our attendees have not worked in VR or 360, and have only a curiosity, often working in adjacent fields such as tech, film, music, or games. The sessions are developed to be accessible and inclusive to underrepresented artists and storytellers, specifically - women, non binary people and POC. Our talks often highlight that as the industry is up-and-coming, and everyone is able to stake their claim and become an VR pioneer!
Speakers and co-founders of the collaborative, Tessa and Fi, were joined by Limina Immersive's Emma Hughes; a Creative Producer with the lowdown on the wider VR industry.
The first page of our presentation. Hello!
Our workshops start with an introduction, and an open invitation to ask questions during and after our talk. We want to encourage critical discussion of VR and we aim to demistify all the technical jargon that excludes newcomers - so questions are welcomed! In this session we defined what we mean when we say 360/VR, and critically looked into examples of content being made now. Our talks are informative, but also pose questions to get attendees thinking about how they might produce their own work. How does 360 work differ to traditional filmmaking? Can we critically analyse immersive works without being distracted by the tekky gimmicks? Our excellent location The Pervasive Media Studio is host to Oculus Rifts, and several Samsung Gear headsets, so after speaking on content, we could also experience them. Wrapping one's head around VR is a lot easier when you have seen it! Watching a lineup of films meant the group could have an informed and in depth discussion.
This particular series of workshops' topic was filming in 360 at Live Events. Different to planned shoot, live events can mean no clapperboard, limited planning, and a lot of running around - depending on your crew size. They also make use of one of the best elements of VR, its ability to make you feel like you are really there. After watching a variation of different non-fiction and live event content, we spoke on interviewing subjects in different styles, and unique 360 techniques. And finally, we explained the cameras capabilities and how to shoot.
Shooting St Pauls Carnival
Our workshops culminated in a full shoot day of Bristol's 50th Anniversary of St Pauls Carnival, a celebration of Afro-Caribbean culture. This day was spotted with fun events happening all over the St Pauls area of the city, so the shoot posed some real 'live event' challenges. Filming St Pauls was an important decision. Not only is this a fun event to join in with virtually, but an important historical moment. The carnival, previously out of action for three years, had concerns from the community that it would be cancelled permanently. The St Pauls Carnival Community Interest Company (CIC) was formed in February 2017 to help create a stable and sustainable future for the iconic event, and due to this, held high expectations for it's return. On top of this it was the 70th Anniversary of the Windrush, and therefore a monumental occasion to the celebration of Afro-Caribbean culture in the UK. Capturing the carnival in all it's glory wasn't just for fun, but critically important to document a major milestone in Bristol's history. The attendees of the workshops became camera operators for the day, following the procession, and searching out unique moments to capture.
Working in scorching heat and still smiling!
The footage was then organized into a shareable hard drive, and those there at the editing session could take home the footage to own. A basic How-To of stitching, importing, and finding the horizon for 360 footage took place, and then a brief explanation on the editing process. Attendees made short cuts and exported them to view in headsets.
Attendees found themselves accustomed to techniques specific to VR, even if they did not attend all workshops. With these sessions, we found new ways of sharing and exchanging knowledge. Attendees received digital feedback forms, and returned them with some fantastic notes and helpful suggestions on our next sessions. Watch our finished film HERE!