Turning My Field Test Ideas into [Virtual] Reality

A big part of my field test is using photogrammetry to create 3D avatars and highly detailed fashion designs to scale.  While I believe that virtual dressings rooms could be a viable solution to the online shopping industry, I’m learning that designing this emerging technology is an ambitious project for someone who could barely import objects into a 3D landscape.

So far, I’ve managed to collect data in support of my hypothesis that there is a much higher rate of return from online purchases than in-store shopping—30% compared to 9% in 2015 (Invespcro).   I’ve also started developing a brief survey which I plan to distribute to my test subjects in this field test to determine their level of interest in utilizing the virtual dressing room technology and personal avatar that I plan to create—questions included are intended to measure whether or not an individual would invest in having a personal avatar created, how much time they might spend customizing their avatar and if they would trust results provided by their avatar when making online shopping decisions.

Sample Survey Questions:

  1. Would you spend time making your own custom avatar?
  2. Would you pay for a customized avatar of yourself?
  3. Would you use an avatar for online shopping?
  4. Would you trust an avatar dressing room?
  5. Would you expect retailers to begin offer this as a service?

All of the above steps in my field test seem to be the easy stuff—it’s actually using 3D landscapes and photogrammetry to recreate a representative likeness of individuals that I’m most nervous about as I continue on with my field test.  Through my research I’m learning that there are much more practical uses for VR than just gaming, but it’s certainly not easy.  Wish me luck!


Real or Reality Captured?

Reality capturing is an interesting concept that I could see having a place in television and film. Early in the term we looked at augmented realities where film studios were creating virtual sets that could cost a fraction of the standard location site shoot.  Now, learning more about reality captured 3D models, I speculate that one day we will see more talent being duplicated and integrated into TV and film.

Watching a 3D model of my professor do the choreography from Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, it made me think that by creating 3D models of television and film characters, there could be more complex stunts or group scenes that previously might have required a team of safety experts and even medical staff. Using realistic 3D models, there would be a huge cost and liability savings for many film studios as exampled in the below field test.

Hypothesis: On the set of an action film like ‘The Fast and the Furious’, creating 3D models of professional actors to replace stunt actors would save the studio time and money.

Measures: Stunt people are limited by what is physically possible, but there seem to be a limitless number of attributes and behaviors that can be applied to 3D models. With that said, a 3D models ability to go beyond what any stunt person could, opens more possibilities of what we could expect from TV and film.

On the downside, by allowing a 3D character to do things that are too far beyond what is humanly possible, will eliminate the realistic element that most studios are trying to achieve.

Conclusion: With all things considered, I believe reality captured figures could make cameos in TV and film, but when they do, I hope we won’t be able to spot them!

The Fifth Wall

Maintaining the illusion of the “fourth wall” has historically been a standard rule for theatre and film production—actors acknowledging or interacting with their audience during a show, after all, could of course be a huge distraction.  Recently however, breaking the fourth wall has become an increasingly popular trend resulting in enormous success for scripted series like Modern Family and The Office, where the actors often speak directly into the camera as if communicating with viewers.

As scripted and unscripted series continue to take more risks with production techniques, I believe network TV is the perfect place to experiment with 360 and 3D video. What once was very taboo to show anything but the primary focal point, ratings show that viewers want to feel like they are a part of the action and 360 videos can provide that experience especially when it comes to reality TV.  Allowing viewers to see how scenes in reality TV are often staged and cast members are coached, could add another layer that viewers might find incredibly provocative and engaging.  Shooting reality TV in 360 would give viewers a truly more immersive experience as exampled in the field test below.

Field Test: The Fifth Wall

Modeled after the Lifetime networks’ scripted drama, UnReal, which gives the audience a sneak peak into the a behind the scenes chaos on the production set of a popular television dating show, this field test will actually shoot reality TV in 360 3D, in what I like to refer to as breaking through the fifth wall.


UnReal on Lifetime. 

How It Works:

Each scene of an episode will be shot with 360 cameras, which will allow viewers to explore not only the primary subjects but capture the reactions of producers and other cast members in the same frame. No longer will cast members of reality shows be able to fall back on popular excuses like bad editing and viewers will experience their favorite shows big brother style, with eyes in every room.



Shot in 360, viewers can take a peek at the entire set of a reality shoot

There is so much to be seen beyond just what standard cameras will allow and with reality TV, some moments can’t be recreated, no matter how much staging is involved. 360 video could be an innovative way capture more dynamic stories and give viewers a richer overall experience.