Friday, August 4, 2017

Final project: Campus tour for Public Diplomacy Summit 2018

VR Storytelling

After talking to one of the co-chairs of the Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars APDS, they mentioned they are having a Public Diplomacy Summit in 2018 in Washington DC. Since the summit is not on campus, they wanted a 360 video that would allow the participants to see the campus and experience what Public Diplomacy scholars go through on a daily basis.

Syracuse University campus is a very beautiful campus with various spots to film the 360 video. I started to brainstorm with the APDS on where they often go, which places are the key places. As the program is a dual program offered by Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, it is obvious to show the popular halls or rooms within the two schools. Furthermore, there are also other places around Syracuse University worth showing the charms such as the hilltop of Setnor School of Music, Carnegie Library and Promenade, all of which the students are all familiar and spend a lot of their time there.

There were a few difficulties during the shooting. First the weather, it was either rainy or cloudy, it's hard to find a good sunny day during the final weeks. When I checked out the Samsung360 camera on a sunny day, i was so happy to finally get a good view of the campus. However, i forgot to think about the shadow. The sunny element added the vibrant colors to the atmosphere but it also caused shadows of the tripod. In addition, while i was shooting the scene outside of Newhouse school at the lawn, i didn't realize there were flies flying around the camera as i leave the camera to shoot for a few minutes. The footage was unusable. Therefore i have to find another day of not too sunny and hopefully no flies flying around to reshoot.

Another difficulty i found with shooting 360 was to avoid putting myself in the scene. It was like playing hide and seek with the camera. With every spot that I was going to leave the camera and let it film, I had to either find a place i could stand behind (a tree or building) or disguise in some of the scenes.

Furthermore, to record my voiceover, I didn't realize how hard it is to find a completely quiet room on campus. There will either be some students walking outside the corridor, or a clock ticking in the room. I tried a few places, and some rooms gave me echo sound. At the end, I managed to find a classroom later at night with no clock, and no students around.

For post production, I searched youtube about the skybox 2d text to remind me the steps of applying the effects, and also how to move the text around and change the size. Because when I applied the effect, the text shrank and moved.

I think overall, timing and luck are also key points of creating the perfect shot. At one point in the video, i was saying about multinationals, and in the video insert the clip of 3 men of different races in discussion as they walked towards the camera. One of the men waved to the camera at the end and i thought it was the perfect transition to the next scene. Finally, i think with shooting the environment in 360, you have to be patient and let it film for a while, because you never know what kind of footage you will get. If i had leave the camera for 1 minute only, i would've missed the 3 men walking to the camera.

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