Dive into Research with Virtual Reality

Overview 

As some research takes place in a foreign country or high security environments, what you experienced during your research holds importance as much as the conclusion to your thesis. Through Virtual Reality [VR], viewers can transplant their visual and auditory senses to the places you’ve researched as you present your thesis. VR is defined as experiencing an artificial environment through sensory stimuli generated by a computer and one’s actions can partially determine what happens in the environment (Webster Online Dictionary). On this page, you will find the advantages of incorporating VR into your research presentation and how to get started with resources and tutorials.  

Benefits of a VR Experience 

VR allows viewers to transport themselves from the conference poster session  to your lab or field location. Changing up the poster experience can generate genuine interest in your research by making it stand out. The technology can also explain sensory details in an alternative way that is not relying on verbal descriptors. Providing alternative methods not only represents information in an experiential way, but also helps create context for visual or auditory learners. VR is not limited to computer generated or 3D modeled spaces, it can be presented in the form of pictures more commonly known as 360° photos. 

Examples of a VR Experience

Wix Tutorial: 360° Virtual Reality Image (video) 

College of Wooster’s Virtual Tour for Prospective Students ( Web Platform  Experience) 

Paris Apartment Oculus Rift DK2 Photo Realistic VR – GamerMuscle VirtualReality (video) 

How Virtual Reality is Opening Up Some of the World’s Most Inaccessible Archaeological Sites (article) 

Getting Started

Making VR Content with Your Smartphone (For Beginners)

Your smartphone has capabilities to capture pictures and transform them into 360 photos. If you’re interested in capturing 360 video, you need to use a 360 camera and refer here for editing afterwards. Some 360 cameras can save videos and photos to your phone directly.  

Google Street View gives smartphones in  iOS and Android the ability to create photospheres (complete 360-degree photos) to upload to other sites for editing and hosting.  

Facebook 360 guides you through taking 360 photos and lets you save them to your device to share on other websites or directly to Facebook through the Facebook app. 

*NOTE: Some apps allow panoramic photos to be transformed into 180-degree views. Check with the editing app and website host you plan on using before shooting your VR/360 footage. If panoramic pictures suffice for your project, you can use panorama mode on your smartphone. The downside of using your phone camera’s panorama feature is the inability to capture images top to bottom; pictures can only be taken left to right.

Editing

VR photos or videos taken by your smartphone don’t require much post production work depending on your desired results. 

VeeR Editor offers editing features on 360 photos and videos on their app supported by iOS and Android devices. Take account the device requirements as older model smartphones may not handle the app well or even operate at all. None of the VeeR applications support panoramic photos. 

V360 is a simple app that allows for 360 video editing. Users can connect multiple clips together, trim the clips, add audio, and share online. The interface has instructions and is easy for beginners to navigate the app. This saves time importing your videos to a computer, editing in complex software, and sharing online. 

Collect 360 is another app for simple video edits like connecting video clips together or reorienting the start position on your video to focus the viewer on the subject of the footage. This is the best option for directly uploading to social media sites or other apps on your smartphone. I recommend only Android users for this app since  iOS users are required to sign up to gain access to the app (for testing purposes).  

Theta+ is an editing app created by Theta360, a company with a product line of spherical cameras that can be remote controlled through your smartphone. They support various 360 formats (mirror ball, little planet, equirectangular, and rectilinear). Theta+ is for 360 photos with color editing capabilities and the addition of stickers and text.  

Making VR Content with a 360 Camera and Computer (For Advanced Users) 

A 360 camera is available to borrow through IT on the 4th floor of Morgan. For more information on borrowing equipment, check out the Checking Out Equipment page on the IT’s wiki page.  

Editing 

The Adobe Creative Suite and Final Cut Pro are available on computers in the Andrews Library near the CoRE and in the Digital Studio. 

For 360 Photo editing: 

Adobe Photoshop 

For 360 Video editing: 

Adobe Premiere Pro 

Final Cut Pro X 

Adobe After Effects 

Hosting VR Content Online 

Your VR content needs to be uploaded to a website with WebVR capabilities. WebVR allows users to use their smartphones to view VR content without a headset, use lens like Google Cardboard, or use a VR headset that is not officially supported by the application. Supported VR headsets can access content easily through the website app.  Below are free options recommended for ease of use and accessibility through our available equipment.  

YouTube

YouTube allows channels to upload 360 videos from the YouTube app on mobile devices or on the desktop site on computers. 360 videos viewed on the app can use the phones gyroscope to locate itself within the video; this means the video screen will move with you as if you are in the space. To get a more VR experience, videos can go into Cardboard mode to view through a portable VR goggles (like Google Cardboard or Pocket 360).

Facebook 360  

The Facebook app can take panoramas and upload to your page. This is the most direct way to shoot and upload a photo. Videos and photos uploaded to Facebook can be seen through the Facebook 360 app on various VR headsets or directly on a smartphone through the Facebook app.  

Google Photos 

If privacy is a priority for your content, Google Photos allows viewing for panorama and spherical photos on the Daydream VR headset. Although the most secure and private, the application doesn’t allow for access on any other headset. Unlike the other sites, photos can’t be altered in the app to add text, images, videos, or additional popups.  

VeeR 

VeeR can host videos and photos on its site with the ability to view in a variety of VR headsets and both iOS and Android devices. The site allows users to create interactive experiences with their uploaded content to generate stories, diaries, or further explanations on their surroundings for others to enjoy.  None of the VeeR applications support panoramic photos. 

RoundMe 

RoundMe can host photos with the ability to see content through its desktop site or the RoundMe app for iOS and Android. Uploaded images can be geotagged by the user. Multiple panoramas can be connected to create a tour with directional sounds, additional text or images, YouTube videos, and websites.  

Additional Resources and Tutorials 

YouTube

Google Street View 

Google Photos 

VeeR 

Round Me 

Recording VR content in Modeling and Game Engines 

For further questions or inquiries, feel free to visit the Educational Technology STAs at the Digital Media Bar in Andrews Library Sun- Thursday 1pm-10pm and Friday-1pm-5pm.  

Professional staff can be reached by email.

Jon Breitenbucher, Director: jbreitenbucher@wooster.edu

Emily Armour, Educational Technologist: earmour@wooster.edu

Megan Smeznik, Educational Technology Associate: msmeznik@wooster.edu

Maira Senoo, Educational Technology Associate: msenoo@wooster.edu