François Bouille is the founder of Experience 360.
Based in Paris, Experience 360 creates video content and apps dedicated to VR. With his team, he works for individuals and SMB (Small and Medium size Businesses) to develop the new needs in the field of Virtual Reality.
Tell us more about your latest release, « Nightmare 360 VR ».
« Nightmare » is a stereoscopic 3D 360 video made for Virtual Reality. GCI videos make it possible to obtain a better rendering and better quality, compared to apps, thanks to the use of more polygones and special effects such as particules. The video is stereoscopic i.e with relief. This is what led me to the choice which seemed obvious to me : horror film.
Why chose such a theme ? Why chose VR for such a theme ?
For horror sequences, you need the viewer to be immersed in the video. Having objects or characters approach the user when he isn’t expecting it accentuates the storyline, and the intented effect of fear. The theme is a dream-like story about ghosts and evil spirits. Making a video of a nightmare in VR strengthens the dreamlike impression of being in a parallele world.
The theme is not only a nightmare, it specifically relates to sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis affects people in their sleep, they suffer from hallucinations and feel harassed by demons, but their cannot react due to muscle paralysis. This strange affection makes difficult their daily lives because of the tiredness and psychological troubles due to lack of sleep. Dreams become a bridge between reality and a world of evil spirits.
Sleep paralysis is being immobilised in bed, being a spectator of the events without the possibility to interact or wake up. Once you put the VR headset on, you are immersed in exactly the same situation. This is why Virtual Reality seemed to me the best medium to express this theme.
Did you meet any difficulties/how were they overcome ?
The main issue was the length of time necessary for such a project to be done by a small team. Another complication was that of 360 sound head tracking. Ideally, the sound should adapt to head rotations, but this is not possible with a stereoscopic video, unless you have very sophisticated material. Particular attention was brought to stereophonic sound design in order to attract the user’s eye towards this or that action.
How long did it take to create such a video, how many persons on the job, with what equipment ?
We were a team of two on this project. French graphic designer Nicolas Alberny worked on the textures and 2D animations, while I did the 3D modelling, the 2D animation integration and the character animating. Animating the different characters was done using a kinect and reworked with a 3D creation software. As a result, all movements are quite realistic. It took three months to create the video, and a total of one month just for the rendering.
Have you produced other videos ?
Yes, this is my third 360 stereoscopic video.
The first one was a demo video in which the user travels through four different imaginary worlds ; the second was a VR version of the first level of the video game Super Mario Bros. All our videos are available online on French Touch Records’ video channel, under the category Experience 360.
What led you to VR ?
VR for me is a childhood dream. I have always been fascinated by Computer Generated Imagery, by the Imagina festival and I have been a great fan of all films related to VR. The first movie which made an impression on me was The Lawnmower Man. Nowadays, after working with 3D and web developping, I naturally went to purchase an Oculus Rift. Now I couldn’t live without it.
What are your expectations for the future, your personal projects ?
Experience 360 will keep on producing VR content: apps and videos in full CGI, but also 360 films. Right now we are working on the different possibilities to integrate special effects in 360 videos and we may have found a few solutions to overcome the technical difficulties. We will gladly share more info here, as soon as the first videos will be achieved. Experience 360 acts as a consultant for individuals or companies’ new needs. We are like a communication agency specialised in video, web and new technology contents, but with added expertise in VR and 360.
How do you imagine the future of VR ?
The future of Virtual Reality is firstly a rapid expansion of smartphone VR headsets, at the expense of computer connected headsets. Mainly because of the price of the latter and of the equipment needed to use them. Thus, content will have to adapt to the majority, to smartphones. We have to expect the main content to be short videos and simple apps. Once VR becomes mainstream, it will revolutionise the way we communicate and the way we « see » the world around us. Content creators, especially independant creators (like us) need maximum support from the public, the press, the industry. By researching and developing new solutions, we push the technology to a wider scale deployment, inventing the future of Virtual Reality. We hope to be back soon with many more videos, apps and surprises.
To be continued…
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