Back from the UK

It's been a busy month so a lot of updates coming... I recently got back from shooting a secret project in the UK. I know, I know, "secret projects" are a ploy for attention, but I really would tell you if I could. This picture doesn't do the scope of the experience justice but it's the only one I can share right now. Needless to say, I'll be very excited to post when it's ready. It might be awhile though, there are over 100 camera setups... so yeahhhh.

ABC Digital Pilot Presentation

I just finished shooting an ABC Digital pilot presentation for a new horror series. Reactions have been great so far and it's currently fast tracked. I can't publish the presentation piece yet, but possibly down the line as things move forward. Very excited to see it move to the next level.


ASCAPE - "You Are Here"

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was directing a VR travel show pilot in SF. Well it's finally arrived! You can download the "Ascape" app on Android devices to experience it with positional sound.

You can also download the MP4 version of the show here --https://mega.nz/#!QddT0RaJ!HSkLwHpa_f6bzAC5F4PlWUwTaSP0ObSYw3iRgb_PY1w

On the show, Stuart Schuffman (from IFC's "BrokeAss Stuart") leads you through SF's lesser known attractions and gives you an insiders guide to the city that you'd never get from a postcard.

The show was accepted into the Kaleidoscope VR Festival, the first of it's kind. For dates and more information visit www.kvrff.com

PSA: Secure your VR camera on windy cliffs

I nearly lost an entire VR rig while shooting some tests for a VR travel show awhile ago.

We were up at Twin Peaks shooting a test when the wind suddenly gusted and nearly took down our entire rig. I don't have the fastest of reflexes but something came over me in the moment (thankfully). See below...

Moral of the story - We all want a small footprint with our VR camera support, but keep a ton of extra bags handy and spread those legs wide on a windy day. Better to have extra post work than seven broken GoPros :)

VR CAMERA - Available For Rent

After shooting with a many VR  rigs the past year I decided to build my very own custom setup that combines the best of all worlds. I'm currently using it for my own projects, but also renting it out to other productions.

If you have questions or interested in renting contact me at -- lexhalaby@gmail.com

So why is this camera system better than most rigs available to rent?

First off, it can shoot either 360 stereo or mono. It's totally up to you and how you use the rig. In fact you can shoot both at the same time and decide later if you want.

NO MINIMUM DISTANCE - It uses eight GoPros with modified ultra wide angle lenses, each with a field of view of 180+ degrees. This means there's virtually NO MINIMUM distance a subject can get to camera. I've put objects just inches away and they maintain perfect stereoscopy while viewing. This is a huge advantage over stock GoPro systems. You can get in very tight spaces and never have to worry that your footage is unusable.

TRUE OPTICAL STEREO - There's been a few camera systems that claim to be stereo, but are actually post-processed stereo. This is similar to going to see a 3D movie that's been converted to 3D rather than shot in 3D. This camera actually shoots true optical stereo by using left and right eyes, giving the final image much more depth and a truer sense of immersion.

NO BLIND SPOT - Because the lenses shoot 180+ degrees horizontally and vertically it means there's no "black circle" under the viewer. You can look straight up and straight down without ever breaking immersion.

NO HORIZONTAL STITCHES - Many other rigs configure GoPros in all directions, causing stitch lines to criss-cross through your subjects. Not with this camera. Because of the 180+ lenses your subject can walk from the horizon all the way up to inches from camera and never once walk through a stitch or seam. Plus with only four stereo pairs it means only four stitches in your post workflow. Which brings me to...

90 DEGREE STITCH OVERLAP - There's so much overlap between cameras the stitching process has plenty to work with. In fact you can literally move the stitch line along with your subject. If you render out multiple stitch positions you can jump cut the stitch across your subject so they NEVER WALK THROUGH A STITCH. Almost no other camera system can do this because they typically have small overlap and force you to set your stitches in one place.

ACCESSORIES, ACCESSORIES, ACCESSORIES - The camera rents with an extra GoPro with touchback LCD for live monitoring on set and choosing camera settings. In addition to the standard GoPro batteries it also comes with four Anker 10000mAh, each with dual USB inputs, allowing you to run and gun without worrying about battery charge. It also comes with a 10 port USB hub if you want to run wall power. I have a whole slew of adapters packed, including an 18 inch Ultralight arm with balljoints, babypin adapters, and light stand adapters. I even include a lightstand with low imprint and shot bag with every rental. However you need it mounted, it's packed in this case. Lastly, it comes with 8x 64GB cards and 8x 32GB cards, allowing over 3 hours of record time without downloading.

SHIPPING AVAILABLE - The whole rig is neatly packed in a Pelican case and can ship anywhere in the USA. It's fairly lightweight and works well for run and gun scenarios too.

TECH - The camera can rent with or without a tech. If you have experience in 360 production, the camera setup is easy enough to manage and relatively fool proof. If you aren't familiar with 360 production or don't know much about GoPro settings then I suggest you have a Tech with you on set. I can recommend people or come out myself if available.

RATE - Email me to discuss rate. I'm very flexible and know a lot of people are just getting into the game and may not have the big budgets yet. I'm confident we can find a rate much less than the standard rental houses are charging for inferior rigs.

I look forward to hearing from you - lexhalaby@gmail.com

 

Comic Con 2015 - Camera Test

I built a small portable stereographic 180 VR camera from two GoPros with modified wide angle lenses and took it down to Comic Con for some tests. It holds up really well with run and gun, keeps pace in interior/exterior changes, and maintained sync well too.

I cut together some shots to give you a flavor of Comic Con, but it's mostly meant to be test footage and proof of concept for the rig design. You can download the stereoscopic 180 MP4 video here. As always I recommend LiveViewRift for viewing on DK2--

https://mega.co.nz/#!ZNNHXboQ!aNgeBssR_Xp6Ms7D7MygZ4tqyRQ5XC1JHkg6Fes8AjE


VR Travel Show Pilot

I teamed up with an SF based tech company to direct and produce a VR travel pilot last month. We're in post production on the show but it's coming along nicely. Lots of 'firsts' in this one! It was made easier by the companies choice to shoot mono instead of stereo.

It stars Stuart Schuffman (http://brokeassstuart.com), a SF writer and blogger, who is currently running for mayor of SF. Here we are rowing around Stow Lake and praying the cameras don't tip over...


The VR Report @ SVVR

I recently got back from Silicon Valley where I produced and directed the first ever VR talk show "The VR Report". I worked with David Oh from Leap Motion (pictured) and Kevin Chang to interview ten of the industries most fascinating luminaries. The set is being build in stereoscopic 3D so the viewer feels like they're sitting right at the table and part of the conversation.  I hope to make this into an ongoing series that keeps viewers up to date on everything VR.

We are currently in post, but look for updates in the coming weeks.

KCRW & Death Cab For Cutie

I recently built an eight camera 3D 360x180 rig for KCRW to use for a special Death Cab For Cutie performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic. The rig was based on a design I had been developing and testing with modified GoPros to take wide angle lenses (I did open heart surgery on eight GoPros with only one dying on me, not bad for an amateur surgeon).

Using AutoCAD I designed the layers of the rig and laser cut them out of acrylic. When assembled the rig mounts and unmounts very easily, allowing you to have access to all camera functions without depending on an app. It's very lightweight and attaches to nearly any piece of camera support.

It was incredibly freeing to shoot with a 360 3D camera. I prepped thoroughly and shot an insane amount of tests with a two week turnaround. The shoot went amazingly and the 3D looks awesome no matter where you look.  Very happy with this one and can't wait to share when it's released.

I'll post a link to download the app and experience as soon as it's available. In the meantime below are some process pics --

VR STRIP GIRLZ - Comedy Prank Video

A lot of my friends come over and demo virtual reality content on my DK2. I show them games, movies, and leap motion integration. Minds are always blown, but invariably the question comes up... Are they making porn for this thing?

The answer is yes. Like VHS and the Internet, new technologies are immediately adopted and driven by the porn industry. With such a high demand and so little content available, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and make a "VR viral video".

VR STRIP GIRLZ is a 3D Virtual Reality video. Shot on a cobbled together homemade VR, the video features a beautiful girl stripping for you. The catch? Just when you think she's going to remove the final piece of clothing she transforms into a large man. To your horror he continues the strip tease and gives you a lapdance.

I made it to play a prank on my friends when they ask about VR porn. I tell them "Yeah, check this out" and then watch (and shoot) their reaction when she transforms. Maybe one day I'll post the reaction videos :)

VR STRIP GIRLZ was posted to various internet forums and websites under the guise of a "Brand New VR Porn Company" with a "Free Demo Video". Hungry for content, downloads streamed in.

You can download the video and prank your friends too --https://mega.nz/#!xR0iGCjT!C4yI8msgPr5FE2xmyZf_DVS0-GlMoT3BHLeE7xHGt4o

Alternate Download Link --https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByHbLodU0R4bdE5KZEUtcjBfcDQ/view?usp=sharing

If you're viewing on GearVR, you can sideload onto your Samsung phone and view in SamsungVR. You'll need to tap the projection settings a few times until you find the right one for 3D 180 side by side. You'll need to rename the file name to end with "_180x180_squished_3dh.mp4" to get it to play with the automatic player settings on GearVR.

UPDATE: LiveViewRift is no longer available for CV1 or Vive. I suggest using something simple like Deo Player or Whirligig.

For more questions about this project or possible collaborations please email me -- lexhalaby@gmail.com

Enjoy!