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 A simple Virtual Reality media player project 
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One Eyed Hopeful

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:38 am
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Hi,

This is my first post on this forum but I have been following some of the discussions since the presentation of the Oculus Rift at the E3 with Palmer and Carmack.

I am currently working on an hobby project: a simple virtual reality media player supporting spherical 360x180 stereoscopic movies.

I am well aware about the technical challenges involved in the production of such movies but I think there are some practical solutions available at this point in time.
I am thinking about CGI movies, composition by layers using chroma keying, plenoptic cameras, structured light cameras, etc...

My project is now available at http://vrplayer.codeplex.com

Note that it's still an VERY early version but I decided to publish the code anyway to get feedback sooner in the process.
If you have any questions or constructive comments please do not hesitate!
Also, I would love to get advice from people with DIY Rifts because currently, I am testing with a Sony PS Move controller strapped to a Hasbro My3D which is far from being optimal.. :(

Thank you and I hope that my modest contribution will help to see VR movies in a near future.

Btw, to Palmer and the Oculus team: Thank you and keep up the good work!


Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:15 pm
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This is looking good! A good alternative to my virtual cinema.
But the example pattern you show at the bottom is pincushion distortion right?
Its not the barrel distortion?

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Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:21 pm
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This sounds interesting. Thanks.

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Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:40 pm
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Despite the technical challenges for spherical movies, I think that this is a great idea and could be a great visual experience. Keep us updated and welcome to the forums ;)


Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:53 am
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This is very nice :D I was just looking into cameras for this sort of video yesterday, and the second problem was the how to play the videos back, especially with headtracking :P Looking forward to see how this develops!

After yesterdays digging I even started wondering if a 360x180 video actually is formatted in an optimal way. It seems like what is in the center will get the least resolution, although also the least distortion... but I guess it's the most logical way to store it, especially for straight forward playback.

Probably another discussion, or not? To be able to play it back there is a standard for how it is formatted right? From what I have seen it's just like a rectangular panorama, with the top and bottom very stretched out as with a map, an unwrapped globe if you will. (sorry for a confusing post, I am at the same time sitting in on a conference, haha)


Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:37 am
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Great work. Looking at the screenshot it should be a barrel distort rather than a pincushion distort :)

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Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:39 am
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BOLL wrote:
After yesterdays digging I even started wondering if a 360x180 video actually is formatted in an optimal way.
Oh boy, that's a big can o' worms you've opened there! Sphere Unwrapping is a massive and arcane field. Just look at all the various methods of map projection, and that doesn't even take into account texture storage architectures!

The 'standard' method in gaming is called a Cube Map, storing 6 square perpendicular rectilinear projections. You still have some distortion where lines of lower resolution warp around the view, but you have the advantage of very efficient display, the ability to easily insert your images/video into existing engines, and the ability to use the huge library of existing cubemaps as test data (without having to go out and capture reference and calibration footage).


Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:41 am
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One Eyed Hopeful

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Namielus wrote:
But the example pattern you show at the bottom is pincushion distortion right?
Its not the barrel distortion?

Namielus, you are absolutely right, it is currently a pincushion distortion. :oops:
I updated the code with the right distortion naming.

druidsbane wrote:
Great work. Looking at the screenshot it should be a barrel distort rather than a pincushion distort

Like druidsbane mentioned, for the Oculus Rift, it should be a barrel distortion so I will try to add a new type of shader asap.

Thank you and good call! :D


Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:48 pm
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Hmm, after some thought. In the Doom BFG demo a head+neck model was used to displace camera positions, with the head rotating around the neck and the eyes being on the front of the face. This feels like a hard feature to do when watching recorded material. If you project the video on a sphere and move the cameras accordingly, the video will start to look distorted right?

But with no camera displacement how will that affect immersion? The camera would instead rotate around a single point which I'm imagining would feel a bit weird. Or will it be different as wrap-around video is not stereoscopic, if that at all matters? Hmm for sure.

A good way of thinking about the problem is like this. If you had a display mannequin and replaced the head with a 360x180 camera, you shouldn't be able to look straight down into the neck, but only down on your chest as your head tilts forward. Should this be done by placing the entire camera further forward, as video cannot be shifted in space? I think it's an interesting problem to solve, if possible.

EdZ wrote:
The 'standard' method in gaming is called a Cube Map, storing 6 square perpendicular rectilinear projections. You still have some distortion where lines of lower resolution warp around the view, but you have the advantage of very efficient display, the ability to easily insert your images/video into existing engines, and the ability to use the huge library of existing cubemaps as test data (without having to go out and capture reference and calibration footage).

I have actually rendered to cubemaps many years ago when I made Half-life maps, with custom skyboxes. Even that felt awesome, to have your own environment surround the level, cannot imagine what real VR will make it feel like.

But yes, cubemapping it all feels like a good way to do it, as you get six squares which fill a rectangular frame just fine. And the baked in distortion is not as extreme as rendering it as at the poles/zenith&nadir when rendering as a panorama. And when rendering it in the player you only have to use a cube with 12 triangles compared to a sphere which to avoid anomalies in the image should have as many triangles as possible. A sphere mode would probably be nice to have though, as I assume many existing 360x180 media is stored like that outside of game content.

I wonder how video-codecs would treat a feed with six squares with sharp contrast at the edges, hehe. To create media like that I imagine a camera that is a cube, with 90+ degree lenses, placed on a thin steel rod so the cube itself looks like it is balanced on one corner. Hmmm. Will make for a brain-mess to try to sync/stitch/align all that, haha. Oh, my head is spinning. Wish I worked in a vision laboratory.


Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:12 am
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One Eyed Hopeful

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EdZ wrote:
Oh boy, that's a big can o' worms you've opened there! Sphere Unwrapping is a massive and arcane field. Just look at all the various methods of map projection, and that doesn't even take into account texture storage architectures!

This is what I am starting to realize and I think this justify the plugin architecture I am aiming. This will allow users to experiment with different mapping schemes.

EdZ wrote:
The 'standard' method in gaming is called a Cube Map, storing 6 square perpendicular rectilinear projections. You still have some distortion where lines of lower resolution warp around the view, but you have the advantage of very efficient display, the ability to easily insert your images/video into existing engines, and the ability to use the huge library of existing cubemaps as test data (without having to go out and capture reference and calibration footage).


In the latetest version of VR Player, I have implemented a basic Cube Map. (See attachment for specs)

Do you have recommendations where I could find existing movies cube map data? Does stereo movie cube map data actually exists?

I was thinking about rendering an open source CGI movie like the "Big buck bunny" but it would take way too long for my computer and theoretically, there is nothing to see behind the camera.. I also thought about using an example in Steam FilmMaker but I don't know if it is possible to render in cube map or spherical 360x180..


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Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:04 pm
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StephaneLX wrote:
Does stereo movie cube map data actually exists?
I don't think such a thing is possible. Rotating one camera around itself is fine and allows you to view a texture plastered inside a cube, but with two cameras (i.e. two eyes) they need to rotate around a common centre, and this then becomes the centre of your projection surface (preferable resulting in no stereo effect, because the map should be displayed at effectively infinity to avoid the viewer getting the 'I'm in a big box' effect. This is usually implemented by simply having a single camera in the centra dn sending the same output to both eyes). If you used two separate cubemaps, one for each eye, then the cameras would be rotating around themselves only. In meatspace, this would be like turning your head and having your eyes stay fixed in space and rotating around themselves.

For proper stereo 360 views (or rather, any stereo view where head/viewpoint movement is acceptable) you cannot use a basic stereo pair: you need to dynamically move objects around, which means either a textured model of the scene, or a mono texture and a depth map (and hope any artefacts of this, like being unable to look behind objects, are unnoticeable).


Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:45 pm
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I think it can be done but it wont look 100% correct, maybe with more projections it will look more correct. Imagine having 8 huge 3D monitors around you in a cube. I think you can get some good ability to look around and get a good feeling for your environment, but the edges will look somewhat weird and might not match up correctly. What if you did 8 projection in a circle around you. It might feel like you are in a glass elevator and the edges of the glass distort your environment, but it still looks like you are in a real place. Or what the heck how about make each edge intentionally obfuscated, maybe covered up by a steel bar or something, so your brain doesn't try to mach up the sides perfectly.

The problem would be that if you rotate the 3d camera rig, it would feel as if your virtual "box" is rotating, so it might be a good idea to keep the camera facing one way, then let the users rotate around at will.

My two pennies.

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Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:53 pm
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Edz says what I'm thinking, that the best solutions probably are two cubemaps where one is a depthmap and use that for parallax shift. Or to just model a 3D scene.

The easiest solution is probably to not have stereo vision for playback material at all. The high field of view and head tracking should be more important. It will also make it a bit more realistic to create content, I doubt we'll see any 360 cameras with depth sensors anytime soon.

Again, with all the work it takes to get stereo 3D to work for video, if you are already rendering computer graphics it should probably be displayed in a game engine instead. Then you'd also get around the eye position problem I detailed in my earlier post. That one might be a bigger problem than 3D actually, I guess, to get immersive head tracking working.

In any case, it will be interesting to experience just looking at a panorama with an HMD... well... at the end of May :P


Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:25 pm
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I installed the latest version but couldn't get it to run. Any tips for making it run? I installed the .net and other libraries I think.

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Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:07 am
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@BOLL: I agree. The 2D case would be incredible enough.


Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:15 am
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One Eyed Hopeful

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Bretspot wrote:
I installed the latest version but couldn't get it to run. Any tips for making it run? I installed the .net and other libraries I think.

VR Player is a WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) application so here is an article about the minimum requirements:
http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/wpf/thread/f7dda29f-5a0e-4fdc-8ffb-bdd07d8ee779/

Maybe the problem is with DirectX or the hardware acceleration.

Please, let me know if you find a solution.


Last edited by StephaneLX on Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:44 am
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I'll try a reboot later and see if it helps. I'm trying to get a remote desktop viewer setup on my Kindle Fire so that I can sorta-kinda use it in realtime. :)

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Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:20 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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Hello,

This week I followed the discussion in this thread:
http://www.mtbs3d.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=140&t=15938

I decided to experiment with stereo fisheye movies like this one:



So I updated VR player to version 0.1.2 to support a Dome geometry (for mapping media to an hemisphere) and a effect for unwrapping the stereo fisheye movie.

It seems to work very well so I ordered 2x 6$ iphone fisheye lens on ebay to do more tests.

In the update, I also added depth map support. Currently it is only generating a stereo image base on the depth map and the IPD distance but I would like to improve the code to adjust the generation base on the tracking position. This should create an interesting parallax effect like this one:



Finally, I added alpha keying for future layer effects.

Thank you for your feed back!


Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:13 am
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Good to hear, StephaneLX. Looking forward to hearing more about your layering implementation.


Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:41 am
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Nice that you are trying this, what camera(s)/lenses did you use for that video ?

EDIT: nevermind, read to fast, I thought that it was your video...


Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:19 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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Look at this one, it looks like it had been made for the oculus!


Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:05 pm
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troffmo5 wrote:
Look at this one, it looks like it had been made for the oculus!

How odd! If I watch it in 360p it looks fine, if I change to 720p it goes stereo-stereo vision! Going back down makes no difference... odd indeed. Looks neat in 3D though, I wonder what kind of rig he used.


Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:26 pm
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troffmo5 wrote:
Look at this one, it looks like it had been made for the oculus!
It's barrel distorted, the Rift needs pincushion distortion.


Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:13 pm
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Fredz wrote:
troffmo5 wrote:
Look at this one, it looks like it had been made for the oculus!
It's barrel distorted, the Rift needs pincushion distortion.

No, that is the correct format for the Rift.

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Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:36 pm
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You're correct, my bad.


Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:17 pm
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BOLL wrote:
Looks neat in 3D though, I wonder what kind of rig he used.
I asked the author of the video on YouTube, he was using a Sony Bloggie 3D camera with Zykkor Super Wide Angle lenses which appears to be available for less than $25 on ebay : http://www.ebay.com/ctg/zykkor-0-42x-37 ... /112245734

Too bad the separation is so low on this camera (20mm), a beam splitter could be useful to get something more appropriate for the Rift.


Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:57 am
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The newest version of this (0.1.4) has 6DoF support for the Razer Hydra. Pretty cool, except maybe there needs to be some more smoothing - or some other problem is causing the movement to be jittery pretty often. Also, something I've noticed since the first alpha: in 360x180 mode, all videos are rendered backwards - pixels are displayed in the opposite order horizontally.


Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:25 am
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Thank you jf031 for your feedback!

jf031 wrote:
Also, something I've noticed since the first alpha: in 360x180 mode, all videos are rendered backwards - pixels are displayed in the opposite order horizontally.


I fixed this bug and released a version 0.1.4.1.

jf031 wrote:
The newest version of this (0.1.4) has 6DoF support for the Razer Hydra. Pretty cool, except maybe there needs to be some more smoothing - or some other problem is causing the movement to be jittery pretty often.


For the smoothing, did you try to change the Razer Hydra default configuration?
If it is caused by a lag, you can try to desactivate the 3D positional audio in "VrPlayer.exe.config".

I hope this will help and please let me know if you find a solution.


Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:03 pm
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On an other note,

I finally received my 2 fisheye lens for the iphone.

The idea was to try filming low budget stereoscopic movie clips like in this kickstarter project:
http://www.s3rig.com/

After, I wanted to project the result on a virtual dome in VR Player but unfortunately it won't be possible, at least, not with the iPhone.
This is because in the camera app, when switching from picture to movie mode, the camera seems to zoom which is ruining the fisheye effect.

I guess I'll have to use an other phone model or other lens :(


Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:32 pm
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Quick TiP: How to “zoom out” in iOS 5/iPhone 4S video camera :
http://www.todaysiphone.com/2011/11/qui ... eo-camera/

Which fish eye lenses did you buy by the way ? I've had good success with the Wide Angle Fish Eye Lens from DealExtreme on my HTC Evo 3D, even though the interaxial is quite small.


Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:40 pm
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StephaneLX wrote:
For the smoothing, did you try to change the Razer Hydra default configuration?
If it is caused by a lag, you can try to desactivate the 3D positional audio in "VrPlayer.exe.config".

I hope this will help and please let me know if you find a solution.

I wasn't even aware of the positional audio because I had a habit of putting the sound of VR Player to 0 via the Windows Mixer. After setting the positional audio to true in 0.1.4.1, I get clear audio for less than 1/2 a second, then it is a scrambled mess. That might be a buffering issue. I don't have any audio problems when positional audio is set to false.

As for the Razer Hydra issue, it looks like a problem with my Hydra (probably magnetic interference from whatever source[s]). Changing the "HydraPositionScaleFactor" doesn't affect the amount of "jitter" while moving the hydra.

If you are able to do so, I'd like a "HydraSmoothing" setting, which would smooth out the "jitter" at the cost of added lag. I notice a similar issue with my TrackIR 4 (in various games and in the setup application) - I need to set the smoothing to a certain point to remove "jitter."

I don't think that I'm confusing (all of) it with my own hand/head shakiness, because the nature of the "jitter" does not look like natural shakiness, but instead something like a gap in the motion or a repeat of the last position. I think that I'm moving past deadzones or something similar to the Hydra's base.

You don't have a Hydra, correct? I'd hope some other people here would try the VR player with their Hydras and report back. I want this VR Player to continue to improve! Thanks for your efforts and making this open source!


Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:33 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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Hello Fredz,

Fredz wrote:
Which fish eye lenses did you buy by the way ?


I bought these lens on ebay:
http://www.amazon.com/Detachable-180%C2 ... B005C3CSSM

Fredz wrote:
Quick TiP: How to “zoom out” in iOS 5/iPhone 4S video camera :
http://www.todaysiphone.com/2011/11/qui ... eo-camera/


I did not know that it was possible to zoom in or out, thank you for the tip but unfortunately the zoom factor is still not enough compare to the picture mode.

To demonstrate what I mean, I took 3 pictures at the exact same location. The first one is in picture mode, the second one in video mode zoomed in and the last one is in video mode zoomed out.


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Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:12 pm
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jf031 wrote:
After setting the positional audio to true in 0.1.4.1, I get clear audio for less than 1/2 a second, then it is a scrambled mess. That might be a buffering issue. I don't have any audio problems when positional audio is set to false.


It's possible that buffering is causing sync problems.. Are you playing a local file or streaming an url?
Do you know what is the audio codec of the video?

jf031 wrote:
I don't think that I'm confusing (all of) it with my own hand/head shakiness, because the nature of the "jitter" does not look like natural shakiness, but instead something like a gap in the motion or a repeat of the last position. I think that I'm moving past deadzones or something similar to the Hydra's base.


I got the same "jitter" effect when I am too far from the base station. I uploaded a video on youtube:



jf031 wrote:
You don't have a Hydra, correct?


I have the hydra but I did not have a lot of time to tweak the settings. I am usually testing pretty close from the base. An other forum member told me it was possible to copy a text file in the VRPlayer folder "force_filter.txt" to ajust the hydra settings but I did not test yet.
More info at: http://sixense.com/forum/vbulletin/showthread.php?3035-Lower-your-Hydras-latency-Custom-force_filter-txt

jf031 wrote:
I want this VR Player to continue to improve! Thanks for your efforts and making this open source!


Thank you!


Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:45 pm
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And even more specific details here (and no login registration needed):
http://razerhydra.wikia.com/wiki/Pointer_filter

Details are provided at that link for both Razer Hydra Configurator and for Motion Creator 2.

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Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:58 pm
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I skipped a page here, but has anyone here ever been to a Omni Max Theater? I would think that kind of setup would be very plausable for use with the Oculus Rift. Not sure about the motion sickness. I do remember when I went and watched the "Fires of ..." cant remember.. anywho i got motion sick when the helicopters were flying around the oil rigs and wells that were on fire. Wasn't 3d however, but still it was rather immersive.


Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:40 pm
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gravity360 wrote:
I skipped a page here, but has anyone here ever been to a Omni Max Theater? I would think that kind of setup would be very plausable for use with the Oculus Rift. Not sure about the motion sickness.


I did not have the chance to see an IMAX movie in Omni Max but here in Montreal, we have an installation called the Satosphere for multimedia projections on a giant dome. Some people also complain about the motion sickness but it's a pretty neat setup! Adapting this high quality content for the rift would be great!



Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:11 pm
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gravity360 wrote:
I skipped a page here, but has anyone here ever been to a Omni Max Theater?
There is something even better than Omnimax in this regard : Omnimax 3D aka IMAX Solido aka IMAX Dome 3D.

It's basically the same thing than Omnimax projection (180°x123°), but stereoscopic with a 70mm separation. There have not been much movies filmed for this setup (only 6, I posted a list here), but I've had a chance to watch one in the only installation still available in the world (Futuroscope) and it was really great.

I also think that would be a perfect candidate for a Rift implementation. There is also the "IMAX 3D Dynamique" which is identical for the projection part but with added ride effects (mobile chairs and wind). Only 2 movies have been filmed in this format, one of them being currently projected at the Futuroscope (Arthur, the 4D Adventure).

Basically I'd like to try to film 3D movies in a similar format, you may have a look at the Rift stereo lenses thread for a discussion about this.

gravity360 wrote:
Not sure about the motion sickness.
I didn't experience motion sickness while watching the Solido movie, even though there were some fast movements in a cellular environment (the movie was "Echoes of the Sun"). I felt some weird feelings in my stomach on an Omnimax movie (can't remember the name, it was about planes in snowy mountains), but I think I would have felt the same way if I'd been there live.


Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:48 pm
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Yeah I wish I could have seen a stereoscopic version, I bet it would be amazing! But yeah overall, I'd think that building a virtual "OmniMax" type setup for videos would be a great solution. Granted the content is rather low but none the less, they make for great experiences.


Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:53 pm
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Namielus wrote:
This is looking good! A good alternative to my virtual cinema.
But the example pattern you show at the bottom is pincushion distortion right?
Its not the barrel distortion?


Seen your clip on youtube, really impressive. Love the concept and the idea of a virtual theater. Won't have to fight for a seat or feel my shoes stick to the soda on the floor.


Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:08 am
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I'm wondering if some of these ideas can be combined to allow for full head control (like the theater idea) AND being inside the action (like the cube map), but without having to deal with the complexities of “filming” in 360x180 3D.

Obviously there would need to be some tradeoffs, but what about something like this:

    1. You take the static 3D cube map of the environment.
    2. If you lock yourself in the middle, you get free range head tracking in this static environment.
    3. In the exact same environment, you take wide angle, 3D video from a locked off camera position.
    4. The 3D video gets overlaid onto one of the cube surfaces and warped along with it.
      a) If your environment map is much higher resolution than your video, the video file could be masked to only show the important pieces from the video (such as an actor, moving shadows, etc)
      b) As long as certain boundaries were well identified and planned for, you could add a layer of motion to the other walls as well, though they probably wouldn’t be the main focus. (i.e. environmental loops: water flowing, space station spinning, etc)

Also – in terms of file packaging, this is a cube map image and one (or more) video files / channels, instead of a new and complex interleaving of 3D spatial and temporal information.

Again: not the "Be all, End all" solution, but given the known restrictions, would this be a step forward?


Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:22 pm
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