Although the car is the star in a digital consumer experience, it's the environment that it's placed within that really brings it to life. Because of the importance of the environment to the overall customer experience, our team of artists and technologists set out to demonstrate how we can take this to the next level in the production and use of volumetric video scenes.
Moving Beyond 360 Video
While 360 video has been a mainstay of VR and digital experiences for years, consumer expectation and technology capability have moved beyond this limited form of content. Since a standard 360 video can only be seen from one location even if the user moves position within the scene, the feeling of immersion is easily broken. And, when the visual display doesn't match physical movement, this is when users can start to feel sick and disorientated.
By contrast, volumetric video combines the benefits of a dynamic, video-based environment with the flexibility to move around freely within the scene. This higher level of immersion and visual impact for the customer is the key reason why we embarked on a Labs projects to deliver our first volumetric video environment.
Innovative Production Techniques
ZeroLight's volumetric video environments are made possible by a pipeline of innovative production techniques and processes, broadly broken down into three stages for our team:
- Video Capture - Using a custom-made camera rig together with custom-programmed camera setups, high resolution 360 video is captured and stored
- Stitching and post production - Post production specialists finalise the video sequence including elements like video stitching, grading and looping
- Environment production - The environment production team integrate the video sequence into a 3D modelled real-time scene, iterating and undergoing QA to achieve the final, delivered asset
The Beach Demo
A beach scene provided an ideal showcase for the capabilities and benefits of our first volumetric video environment. We selected Bamburgh Beach, an iconic location not far from ZeroLight's UK Headquarters.
The Bamburgh Beach demo places the user on the sand, with rolling waves on one side and a dramatic view of the castle on the other. The car drives on from the other end of the beach, leaving tyre marks in the sand and stopping by the user. As the user walks around the scene to explore the car they leave footprints in the sand and 360 degree sound means the noise of the moving waves always comes from the right direction. Inspecting the car reveals that the movement of the waves is reflected in the car, a detail that adds to the level of immersion.
The volumetric video beach environment has received widespread critical and industry acclaim following its first uses with Audi at Vision Summit and IAA 2017. Common feedback is that users feel completely immersed in the environment, underlining the capability of high quality volumetric video to enhance both customer engagement and brand connection.