Virtual Sets Shaping VR Production

Sep 20, 2016 12:10 PM PST

LOS ANGELES — There’s a lot of buzz these days about virtual reality and how VR porn will revolutionize the adult industry, but one thing is often overlooked: the background.

Any artist will tell you that the right frame can make the picture, and this extends to the right backdrop, costume and scene — all are integral parts of the content being produced.

While many real estate fans prefer a room with a view, next generation VR content creators are just as interested in finding a view with a room. This isn’t a problem of new technology, but one of logistics, and one that the adult industry has long faced in its search for sets — after all, carnal creativity takes more than an old, stained couch, lit with a cheap quartz shop light.

From a friend’s apartment to rental villas and everything in between, top producers have always tried to find suitable shooting locations, with a variety of specialty brokerages able to help; but today’s all-digital VR producers have an intriguing option available in the form of virtual sets.

While virtual sets have long been the province of infomercials, movies and news programs, and popular among many home video aficionados, these sets have typically been composed of 2D or 3D graphics used in conjunction with a “green screen” — often to impose a feeling of fantasy, such as a performer fighting aliens on a remote space station, or for delivering the nightly weather report.

But imagine a new generation of virtual set, where precise, photo-realistic room renderings will enhance complex VR productions by replacing an open “video set” feeling with a “real-life” environment, and one that can be easily customizable, too.

Want to change the room wall’s paint color, or add some wallpaper? Maybe you’d like new artwork, furnishings, or staging — wherever your imagination can take you, a few mouse clicks could deliver — there could be infinite variations, and perhaps a commercial ecosystem of virtual furniture makers, etc., would evolve to provide virtual set enhancements using shared digital file formats.

These limitless possibilities have a wide-ranging appeal across a broad spectrum of market segments, which means that a robust array of solutions and tools will become available — and as with other fast-evolving consumer technologies, will become easier to use, less expensive, and more widely used.

That “easy to use” part will be increasingly important in order to make this technology accessible to non-technical users — such as real estate agents...

Enter Matterport, a comprehensive immersive media system designed to image rooms, which operates with push-button ease.

“If your industry uses, modifies, communicates about, or markets real-world places, Matterport is being used now,” says a company rep. “Our [$4,500] Pro Camera has one button: the ON button. Paired with the Matterport Capture App for iPad, the camera is push-button simple and easy to operate for anyone within minutes.”

The company notes that no special lighting or staging equipment is necessary; with a smart rotation feature automatically capturing interiors; and with no complicated controls, muddled menus, or tricky software to navigate; plus speedy performance that enables typical properties to be scanned in minutes.

“In real life, we experience things spatially. Our brains are constantly calculating distances, sizes, and volumes to understand the world around us. Where video falls flat, Matterport Spaces give users more than visuals — they provide the feeling of being in a physical location,” the rep added. “Real 3D data is the only way to give your audience a true sense of presence — the feeling of being in a place. That’s why Matterport Spaces are the most immersive way to experience a physical location online.”

The company’s website features an array of demos and inside looks at its technology that will prove interesting and valuable to VR content producers, and could lead to better, less expensive productions.

Regardless of the specific platform that powers it, virtual sets are coming to a VR production near you — including those targeting an “adults only” audience.

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