Research and Development for PLAY

I had a few ideas for play before I’d began researching. Immediately the idea of a video stood out to me, as that was the obvious digital interpretation of the word, as video’s are literally ‘played’ by the viewer. I decided to research possible uses for video using modern digital media techniques. I initially got some inspiration from ordering pizza, as pizzahut created an augmented reality image for their pizza boxes, which is shown here:

This got me thinking about augmented/virtual reality, as well as the accompanying lecture on the same subject. The concept of Google Glass and other such devices also inspired me to think about the possibilities and uses for virtual reality in the future. I’ve also come across virtual reality gaming in the past, with The Oculus Rift being the leading item in that particular field. However the image of someone wearing such an unwieldly device to play games is fairly humourous:

Where would this technology go, and how would it affect humanity? I did some research on the future of virtual reality, and came across a few videos that discussed the topic.

The videos comment on how the technology for virtual reality works, and how people inteact with this as well as where the technology may go in the future. One of the topics that struck me in the videos, was one that spoke of ‘Nanobots’ being inserted into the bloodstream to ‘help clean us out’. These Nanobots theoretically could control certain parts of our brain on command, such as the eyes and retinas, and project a completely different view into our brains. This got me thinking about the plot for my short film. What if someone was using this virtual reality technology, and became so integrated with the system that they could take it off and still see the world in a different way.

I then discovered the technique of rotoscoping, after being shown a clip from “A Scanner Darkly” in a lecture, I did some research and found some useful information on this technique, as well as how to create a rotoscoped video using Adobe After Effects. I found this clip from one of the Iron Man films, which used a similar technique to mask out certain areas of the set, and create a different virtual world

This concept really interested me, and so I practiced with the tools in After Effects and created a few short clips:

These clips didn’t excite me enough however, mainly because the quality was very poor. Also, the process took a lot longer than I had anticipated, and so I had to take into account the time constraints when creating my final piece. In order to make it simpler for me, I needed to create a video that was easy to edit in the time that I had.

I therefore planned to create a rotoscoped video, in which the main character uses a virtual reality headset to see a different version of the world. The character would then lose control of this device, and become permanently lost in this new world. This covers the excitement and fears of virtual reality software and devices, and is an interesting way to demonstrate digital media through rotoscoping. Because there’s only one character within one setting (the subjects house) it would be easy to edit, and would mean I could create a better looking video.

A link to the completed video can be found here:

I am very pleased with the way the video has turned out. I was worried about using the rotoscoping technique as it is very time-consuming. If I could improve this project I would spend more time rotoscoping, as to get the effect perfect I’d have needed a few days per clip to complete it. This is something I may look at after the module is finished, as it would be a good technique to have in my portfolio. I believe this is a good representation of the theme ‘Play’, and combines the excitement and fear around the advance of technology in a way that is unique to me.


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