Color Blind: A 360 Experience
I saw a reaction video on Facebook about a year ago, of people with a specific type of color deficiency putting on glasses which correct that to normal vision.
The reactions were incredible, powerful, tear-filled moments for the people involved, and it got me thinking about what it would be like to live with color deficiency.
Of course you can never really know what it's like to see through someone else's eyes, or maybe that's not true any more. V.R. has opened a Pandora's box of experiential content, so why shouldn't we see through someone else's eyes, and really feel what it's like to be them.
As I advanced in the class this semester, I really loved Unity, and I was tempted to do a project with it, but this idea just wouldn't get out of my head, it stuck around and eventually I knew 360 would be the way to go.
I wanted to present an every-day situation, which color-deficiency would make incredibly different, so I settled on doing a simple scene from multiple positions: playing boardgames at a coffee table. The subtle variations in color might prove challenging for someone with color deficiency, but the scene would appear quotidian to a person with normal vision.
I knew VIAR would be a good option to allow switching between the various view points/types of color deficiency, as it would allow me to map out a story.
What I was unsure about, was how I would change the image to reflect color blindness accurately.
I started doing some research on how each color deficiency presented, and soon I realized that I needed to brush up my color-grading skills. I took a 5 hour Linda class (my experience working through that is written in a separate post), and prayed it would be enough to help me affect this correctly.
The actual 360 video workflow has become so streamlined thanks to the Gear 360 camera, it almost felt like cheating. That was a good thing though, as it allowed me to focus my energy on the creative end, as opposed to ironing out technical difficulties.
Ultimately, I found that there were not a lot of good resources describing color blindness in a real world setting. This left me in a sort of murky area, where I knew exactly what color ranges to effect, but I was unsure whether my interpretation was too extreme or too subtle. I feel that collaborating with an expert in color deficiency would have really elevated this project.
In absence of an expert, I went by the resources I could find, and used best judgement. I'm unsure whether the finished product is a completely accurate representation of the conditions, but I feel it at least represents a solid proof of concept, and is a good conversation starter for another type of experiential content in V.R.
I'm happy with the content I created, and I see great potential in the medium for further experiences like this in the future.