For my final project, I decided to record a Pagan ritual. The ceremony which fit best with the timing of this assignment was December's full moon ritual, as put on by SPIRAL, the Pagan group on campus. After clearing the idea with SPIRAL, I recorded the entire ritual from the center of the circle. The circular formation allowed for a unique perspective on an already taboo and often misinterpreted set of faith traditions.
To develop a greater sense of story, I split the ritual up into its different components in Adobe Premiere and then used Viar360 info blocks and intentional perspective placements to guide the viewer around the ring. The one scene that did not end up making the cut from the initial pitch was the shot of the materials (incense, some stones, and candles) sitting on the table. This is the only time in the shoot I did not use the Manager app, and I wish I would have; for some reason, the camera filmed out of only one lens for this shot, meaning when stitched, the image was greatly distorted. As a result, I ended up cutting this piece from the project.
Another small technical difficulty was with the meditation section. Although the Gear360 Manager app was overall a great tool
, it did crash once, causing the recording to stop. I was able to restart it quickly, so very little actual content was missed, however, it forced a break. However, in the end, I think I would've decided to split this section anyways. The meditation was the longest component, so splitting it up allowed for some chance in pace for viewers and more information (for example, with the second clip, more about the "whirlpool" is explained).
After shooting, I did end up doing a little more tweaking in Premiere (bit of color balancing, audio transitions, etc.) because even with the extra settings in Manager, there were some bits that were not as refined as I would have liked. There is also definitely room for improvement as far as clarity in the picture, but I believe the Gear360 did a decent job compared to other 360 video systems, especially considering its size and ease of use.
The last step was editing in Viar. Viar was a crucial step in this process as it allowed for much of the educational content to come through. All of the information in the captions were derived from interviews I had with members of SPIRAL, allowing users to go one step further into the experience, as they learn the meanings behind what they're watching. Viar also gives the user control of the experience, adding another level of depth.
This piece can stand alone, though I think this kind of content naturally lends itself to being supplementary to other content in different mediums. For example, this could easily accompany a story about paganism which is able to give more detail and relay more information about individual practitioners, interpretations of the energies, etc.. At the time of my pitch, I hoped viewers would have a better understanding of modern paganism. Despite a few glitches, I ultimately think the project was successful in this original goal.
The final project: https://app.viar360.com/media?leaf=7y2t6pWuP9ha
Raw files mp4s are on the Occulus computer.