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Jim’s WebLetter for 11/7/15

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Hi-ya Friends and Neighbors!

This week, two words stood out on the Web … Virtual Reality. While the term is not new, the method of achieving it is. Defining Virtual Reality (VR), Wikipedia says it can be referred to as immersive multimedia or computer-simulated life, replicating an environment that simulates physical presence in places in the real world or imagined worlds and lets the user interact in that world. Virtual reality artificially creates sensory experiences, which can include sight, hearing, touch, and smell. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_reality

And companies working on VR, including Oculus, Samsung, Sony and Microsoft and its’ Hololens headset have provided some interesting uses including interactive games, travelogues and instructional programs.  

But to date, the cost for shooting and creating VR movies has been prohibitive unless you’re one of the major motion picture organizations or independently wealthy. Enter Google. Early this year, Google launched Jump, a platform for VR video at its developer conference along with a camera rig called Odyssey co-designed with GoPro cameras. When Jump is set to run, the software syncs all the cameras and stitches the video together along with any audio that was recorded during the event to create what can best be described as incredible. http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/28/8681855/google-jump-io-conference-virtual-reality-filmmaking

Google’s YouTube video storehouse now supports Virtual Reality videos. Known as YouTube VR 360, and offered to mobile devices, the VR experience is available wherever you are. To date, only smartphones can take advantage of the true VR experience, but the technology is being made to push to all video sources soon. http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/13/8203173/youtube-now-supports-360-degree-videos

Also this week, CNET reported that Google’s Cardboard, a View Master looking contraption made from cardboard (hence the name), allows you to put your phone into the device and hold it up to watch VR videos using a free app available from the App Store. While Google doesn’t actually sell it, you can find it online for about $25. Just Google it. http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/virtual-reality-gets-jolt-with-youtube-app-free-google-cardboard/  

One of the VR 360 movies to watch includes, Hamoa Beach https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m_QgCPBE1kY which kind of “breaks the ice” in video viewing. Notice how you can physically spin around and see the shore and the land mass while listening to the sound of the waves and birds in the nearby trees. Then scroll down and enjoy other videos on the VR 360 list.

A footnote to watching VR videos. They can throw off your equilibrium. Matter of fact, a friend of mine got motion sickness watching a video when he tilted his phone down and the video tilted with the action of his movement. Unexpectedly, his brain told him he was falling even though he was just standing in a room. That’s how real it felt. To watch one of the videos listed on YouTube, it’s best to be sitting down, at least until you get used to the video’s pan and tilt. https://m.youtube.com/results?q=vr%20360&sm=3
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Until next weekend, God bless you and keep you safe.

c-ya!

Jim

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