12:33 PM, Monday, October 31st, 2022:
I'm realizing that this VR thing is a bit more complicated than I first considered. I don't WANT every video to be VR. In fact, I quite NEED flat footage for The Journey movies or any future documentaries...
...but I don't know how to let these annual moments pass WITHOUT doing them in VR because the feeling is so, freaking, different. Think of it from the perspective of 20 years from now, missing this period: would you rather watch a film? Or literally put on a headset and BE there. When Cam and Vienna walk up to the camera? It feels like real life to me. The kids are almost frozen in time and I cannot fathom how downright visceral that feeling will be when they no longer look like this.
So I'm pretty stuck. Yes - I have adapted all the VR footage into flat footage so you can indeed watch it normally on a flat TV... but it looks like complete ass in comparison to simply an iphone. It's running at 60fps (which I guess I could change later) and it's just... off. I mean it's a fisheye lens and even with morphing later it still isn't "right". It's so difficult to watch the moments I put in from years past in the background and they look SO MUCH BETTER than the stuff now. The framing is off as well, because the 3D lens and gimbal set-up is so heavy I'm just trying to point it in the general direction. Framing? I can't even see what I'm pointing at as the screen is cut in half and fisheyed. You ain't "framing" much... So it's a dilemma to be sure. Like looking ahead? Of course I'm gonna do getting the Christmas Tree in VR - ya know? Christmas day? Ya gotta! But I need that shit and 2D too and then of course you look ahead to The Journey Movie Volume 3 and, well - fuck. How do you handle what The Journey becomes post 2022? If Volume 3 covers 2020-2030? Does that mean the doc has to be in VR? Maybe? Ugggggh. This is a crossroads and I could very well be GIMPING the future by believing in a technology that no one else will. Like, uh, 3D movies didn't work. It was a fad. At least with 3D movies it was easy to go back to 2D by simply outputting it differently. 180 degrees is a different beast.
So I have a feeling there's gonna be a lot of saved iphone footage doubling up everything I shoot in 3D for the time being. And man, I don't want The Journey Volume 3 to be in VR. I really don't. VR is NOT for movies in my opinion, it's for experiences. Does that make sense? It's like Disneyland vs a Movie Theater. It's just a completely different thing and both can exist, but it begs the question: what is The Journey becoming? Considering I've done 5 of these in a row as "experiences" I just may have my answer, but I have to find a way to keep the "filmmaking" portion alive as that is as important to me as these "experiences". And this one is a doozy...

So before you jump in... oh and well, if you're reading this and clicking this here? You're not going to experience anything I'm explaining. Fuck this is annoying. Who am I even writing to? Maybe you're reading this knowing you will SOMEDAY put on a headset. LOL. So to you: this is testing the VR motion sickness issue pretty hardcore. A haunted maze you walk-through. I have a nice Ronin gimbal and it certainly stays steady, but I'm finding that moving left to right, no matter how steady, is a problem area. Forward is ok. But truly, if you've done any VR, all of this is gonna be OK to you. I had no problem watching this, Talya was a bit iffy. From this point on I'll try to edit around all left/right movements.
That being said? This is extremely cool and I can't wait to share it with other people at the school because WOW does it show off their work so, so well.
Seriously, even if you watched that flat... wasn't that amazing for a freaking elementary school maze? WHAAAT? We never did this before because A) COVID, and B) kids were way too goddamned young for that shit. Hell, Cam probably won't even do this in the headset NOW. But for everyone else: WOWOWOWOWOW. Maybe this is an LA thing? Like, it feels like most parents here are involved in showbiz and you can't tell me that shit doesn't make a difference. It was a very, very cool thing to be able to capture in VR.
Another note: I did all of this in 4k60 because I simply can't do this in a timely manner in 8k60 since I'm forced to shoot in RAW. The color grading (and constant crashing) is just not condusive at the moment. However, I still would've loved to have been able to have the time to spot color grade this footage and maybe someday. The shadow definition gets kind of eradicated because I needed to get the noise out of the sky. If I had the time, I could've gotten the noise out of the sky and KEPT the dynamic range below within the maze, but there's just no good way to do this and keep The Journey going. I mean, there's a reason the VR ride took 400 hours and an entire month. That shit ain't happenin' for Journey videos. I mean, it's math. It can't.
That being said, I'm feeling a bit more comfortable and switching to 4k60 really helps the workflow. For super special shit I'll do 8k60 and just put it away for a rainy day... ya know when I can get a 4090 card and shit a completely new computer because no one can even FIT those fucking cards in their rigs. Jesus christ the power necessary for all of this is insane.
OK, enough talking - Trick or Treat tonight!!! Very pumped. Getting a lot of use out of Rusty's Han Solo outfit (THANK YOU MAN!). More on that later...