Sacred Heart Jumps Into a Virtual Reality

By Diana Lento

Staff Writer

Virtual reality (VR), has become an incredible improvement in technology, and it has even advanced here at Sacred Heart University.

Recently, a new class is being taught in the School of Communication and Media Arts. This class is based around virtual reality and the contribution it makes to society.

This production course is being taught by media Professor Shanshan Wang.

“In the class students are allowed to use the 360 degree camera. It has eight cameras and four microphones for surround sound, and they are able to put together a short film,” said Wang.

During the semester, students will be able to find a deeper meaning into what virtual reality is, and the work that goes into making a virtual reality or 360 degree film.

Students have the opportunity to rent out the new 360 cameras from the equipment room, located on the second floor of the Martire Business and Communications Center.

Professor Keith Zdrojowy described the intimacy of 360 degree film in terms of news and broadcasting, and how it can now be used to tell stories and spread information.

“You could take a 360 degree camera and bring it into an environment where it is a war zone, or in a poverty stricken area, and just let it sit there,” said Zdrojowy. “Potential viewers could see what living in that environment is like, and hopefully get a different perspective that you wouldn’t normally come to with a traditional camera lens.”

The whole idea of 360 video is to immerse viewers into a world or situation they would not otherwise encounter.

“It’s very easy when it’s on a TV screen to block things out, but when you put the glasses on and see the situation at hand, it has more of an impact on people compared to the traditional 2-dimensional screen,” said Zdrojowy.

With all of the benefits VR has, there are also many faults to it as well.

“With traditional TV you can hide a lot of stuff behind the camera, but with 360 video, there is no hiding. Everything is in the shot, so it presents a whole new set of challenges on how to present the material,” said Zdrowjowy.

Despite this minor issue in production, it has not stopped students from being incredibly intrigued by this form of media.

“I’m actually really enjoying this technique of filming. It’s something different, and it makes you think outside of the box when you’re placing the camera and deciding what to film,” said senior Alexa Bianchi. “VR definitely has its frustrations though. For example, it’s hard to figure out where to stand when you’re filming.”

The idea of virtual reality allows for more visual and audio capabilities, giving this newer medium of technology more importance.

“I do think this is the future of filming. Although it’s expensive, I think it offers a different and fun aspect for audiences,” said Bianchi.

Very few medias have been produced in virtual reality, so it is still a fairly new technology to be rightfully introduced into the world.

It is now offering many opportunities to a wide range of people and places.

“Universities are starting to use VR for tours around their campuses,” said Bianchi. “Artists are even making virtual reality experiences that place you into the middle of their music videos.”

As Sacred Heart advances their own use of virtual reality and 360 videos on campus, it will surely be used more often.

“I think it’s a trend that’s quickly catching on, and is bound to take off soon,” said Bianchi.

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