For my final project, I decided to use a 360 virtual space to tell a story, and did this by integrating new platforms with programs that I am more comfortable using, forgoing Unity. My desire is to apply this project in a practical setting, versus an artistic one, specifically at an awareness event this fall in NYC. I co-authored a piece of legislation with my husband, to act as a preventative mechanism for the issues plaguing the Veteran community, namely unemployment, homelessness and suicide. I can see the power in using virtual platforms as a means to more aptly capture and vividly share the stories of Veterans, while generating stronger empathy among those who wish to help.

To ease my audience into the use of their Google cardboard goggles, I started my presentation with a quick projection. Using After Effects and a script I purchased on Videohive, I shared various statistics which wrote themselves on the screen in calligraphy style, much like the Declaration of Independence in its original form. The golden paper on the wall was representative of a scroll. At the end of the projection, I encouraged viewers to explore further by using their VR goggles.

I laid the foundation for my 360 experience in Premiere Pro, in which I layered a high speed, multi-dimensional After Effects video I created on top of a 360 video captured with a Theta. The 360 background video was shot on my patio in the dark, with only a Veteran and an American flag illuminated. You can see the flag waving, while the Veteran sits still in repose.

Additionally, I layered two video galleries (made via separate Premiere Pro files) to the right, showcasing Devin Mitchell’s Veteran Vision Project. This photo series portrays Veterans as civilians staring at their reflections in the mirror, reflecting back as their former selves, active-duty servicemembers in military gear. Some of the images are more profound than others, revealing the internal struggles many face with PTSD, alcoholism, prescription drugs, and suicide.

Finally, I added actual content from the Loya-Sears Bill on the far left, for individuals to read. At the bottom, I added a button with call to action and website URL. The entire project is a sort of collage that one can explore at their own pace. It encourages viewers to delve further into the facts introduced in the initial projection, witness snapshots of the lives of real Veterans, and review the actual bill that can help our heroes as they transition back into the civilian sector.

I plan to keep revising this project so that I have a quick and dirty version. I want to also expand it into multiple virtual spaces, similar to what I saw on 360cities.net, which allows you to view a landscape in 360, then click on internal arrows and cues to hyper jump to another 360 space. This would allow me to separate the Veteran issues (unemployment, homelessness and suicide). The video could remain standalone, and then viewers can explore other “rooms” that focus on the issues separately. Corresponding photos and testimony can be incorporated into these 360 virtual presentations. The final room can allow a viewer to more intricately explore the bill, not just the basic tenets.

This class has enabled me to explore ways to take my legislative work to the next level, beyond pen and paper and dry powerpoint presentations. It also allows interested parties to explore this virtual space with or without VR goggles, and whether at an event, or in the comfort of their home or office. I am thankful for the opportunity to take this class and learn about these invaluable tools.

READ UP ON MY OTHER PROJECTS:

Storytelling In The Digital Age

Video Mapping with Mad Mapper

3D Scanning & Unity

Virtual Reality + BUNKER

Final Project

Ready Player One