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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

PHORIA: Changing the way of telling stories with Mistika VR

With a team of master storytellers, creatives and innovators, PHORIA is on a mission to build a better society and help communities around the world amplify their voices by embracing cutting-edge immersive technologies.

“The world is always changing and so is technology. For us, it’s about using technology to foster a strong connection to nature, build a more empathetic society, and inspire people to embrace a positive way of living, thinking and feeling” shared Eneasi T Teaupa, Immersive Post Production Specialist at PHORIA.

The release of high-resolution VR headsets like the Meta Quest Pro and advancements in software and hardware, have allowed PHORIA to elevate their immersive content to new heights. The team is constantly evolving and adapts to industry trends, making Stereo 3D workflows a standard part of their video production pipeline.

Exploring uncharted territory with ZCAM K2 and Mistika VR

Embarking on a new project can be challenging and filming a nature documentary series in high-definition VR 180º presented unique obstacles. “When we started pre-production for our VR series ‘ecosphere’, I had never worked with a VR 180º camera or even any footage. I turned to online resources and found some helpful tutorials and guides from SGO for Mistika VR,” said Eneasi.

As the project progressed, the team faced additional challenges as they worked with a ZCAM K2 camera prototype consisting of two high-end, mini-cinema cameras joined side by side. In addition, filming in new environments – from the in the air to underwater – presented further hurdles. The team worked tirelessly to establish a groundbreaking new workflow and test footage from the cameras themselves, all while navigating uncharted territory. Despite these challenges, their dedication and commitment to delivering exceptional content shone through.

‘ecosphere’: Environmental conservation and cinematic 360º VR

‘ecosphere’ is a cinematic 360º VR series, highlighting the community-led sustainability and conservation methods used in Kenya, Indonesia and Malaysia. “It continues to be one of my favourite projects because we were able to connect with different communities. The stories were filmed and directed by our co-founder and Experiential Director, Joseph Purdam. He was able to capture some of the craziest content I have ever worked on,” emphasised Eneasi.

The entire post-production process was done in Mistika VR allowing them to deliver engaging and captivating stories.

“There are many adjustments and parameters to play with in Mistika VR’s toolset and it has become an intrinsic part of the work I do at PHORIA. For this project, we experienced nature as never before, filming with wild Elephants and Lions and also diving with large Manta Rays. The optical flow and edge points workflow allowed us to generate one of our best-looking videos.”

Key features: Mistika’s Anaglyph View and Alignment Tool

During post-production, the team had the opportunity to work with renowned filmmaker and VR technical specialist James Donald. “With James’ expertise, we were able to create nice looking camera presets in Mistika using footage from the new cameras. Later on, Eric Cheng from Meta joined us in our studio in Australia and together we designed an efficient workflow using Mistika VR.”

Eneasi and team identified two key Mistika VR features that proved essential in establishing their pipeline.

“The Anaglyph View and Alignment Tool are everything an editor will need to create comfortable 3D VR 180º content and for this project they were extremely helpful. Mistika’s extensive toolset allowed us to fine-tune every parameter and ensure our videos looked and felt great,” added Eneasi.

Breaking down the barriers with Mistika VR

Creating seamless immersive content can be a time-consuming process, especially when dealing with 360º media. Precise stitching and alignment of each lens are crucial to ensure a smooth 3D effect and a cohesive scene.

Fortunately, Eneasi and the team were able to overcome these barriers with the help of the Autocalibrate tool and Mistika VR Connect add-on feature for Meta Quest 2 headset.

“The Autocalibrate tool simplifies the stitch and fine-tuning process with just one click, improving overall image quality and changing the way I work for the better,” said Eneasi. “Additionally, with Mistika VR Connect, I can now enter directly into my sequence in the 360º sphere and work on my content from there, which is impressive.”

PHORIA’s vision for future content creation and the versatility of VR formats

PHORIA is taking its content creation to the next level with a fresh purpose for future projects. “As storytellers, we love meeting new people from all over this incredible planet and discovering what they have to share with the world. We’re currently working on several exciting new VR projects and can’t wait to share them with you,” said Eneasi.

With the potential for unique experiences in both 360º and 180º formats, PHORIA is exploring the endless possibilities of VR storytelling. “VR 180º serves a different purpose than 360º, and it’s up to content creators to determine which format best suits the project. The evolution of technology continues to amaze us, opening doors to new possibilities beyond our imagination,” concluded Eneasi. “The next horizon for us is to combine the power of VR 180º and 360º with other types of 2D and 3D media, which we call ‘transmedia’ storytelling. We’re excited to see how we can tell stories in an even more immersive and impactful way.”


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