CMS.S60 / CMS.S96
Exploring Oculus and Immersive Media Production
MORE ABOUT THE COURSE
Mens et manus ... mind and hand ... Hacking VR will engage both. What better way to explore a new technology than to push it to its limits, to break it, to re-imagine it, and to rebuild it in unexpected ways?
Offered as part of a relationship between MIT's Comparative Media Studies / Writing Section and the Oculus NextGen Program, Hacking VR will enable students to experiment with VR technologies including Oculus Rift and touch controllers and explore new approaches to immersive storytelling. The course will survey historical developments and current innovation in virtual reality - gear, software, and storytelling techniques.
We will converse with leading makers, explore the fundamentals of VR creation, and with luck, develop new and innovative ways to build immersive experiences. Join us!
Register for 12 units. Meets Mondays 7-10pm
MORE ABOUT YOU
Pioneers, pirates and makers
Hacking VR is all about pushing the boundaries of immersive media production. We believe in fostering a creative and collaborative experience. Students from various disciplines are encouraged to enroll. We’re looking for a diversity of skills and backgrounds – coding, game design, programming experience but also storytelling and creative wildcards – to build complementary teams that will produce innovative and original VR experiences. Tell us more about yourself - fill in the questionnaire!
MEET THE INSTRUCTIONAL TEAM
William is Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT and Principal Investigator of the MIT Open Documentary Lab. He researches the history of old media when they were new ... and new media as they take form and grow old.
Sandra Rodriguez, PhD., is a creative director (interactive/film) and sociologist of new media technology. A Lecturer/Visiting Scholar at CMS (Fellow of MIT OpenDocLab) she also heads a Creative Reality Lab at EyeSteelFilm, and Emmy Awarded company based in Montreal, where she explores the future of immersive documentary.
TA / Student Advisor
Deniz Tortum is a filmmaker, researcher and a designer. He has been a research assistant and graduate student at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, where he studied interactive and immersive documentary. His recent work focuses on virtual reality and documentary film.
WHY VR? WHY NOW?
FEBRUARY 13, 2017
Introduction to course mechanics, definitions and the distinctions among various VR/AR/MR systems. This session will include a historical overview of immersive media; lessons learned from earlier media hypes; and an assessment of the current media ecosystem. We will get acquainted with the lab, including Oculus headsets and controllers, computers and schedules; explain assignments and the Kino method.
THE MECHANICS OF IMMERSION
FEBRUARY 21, 2017 (TUESDAY!!)
What constitutes 'good' VR? What are the fundamental perceptual mechanics (visual, acoustic, haptic) that allow or impede comfortable immersion? Topics will range from the “Swayze effect” to simulator sickness and other concerns when creating interactive and passive, 360 and real-time VR experiences.
STORYTELLING IN VR: TIME, SPACE... AND STORY
FEBRUARY 27, 2017
If immersion is a distinctive potential of VR as a medium, what defines it? This session will take up issues such as user attention, interaction, and transitions, as well as structures such as chronology, narration, and platform. We will look to magic, games, architecture, performance art, and film for insights, while also addressing such issues as empathy and accessibility.
FROM STORYBOARDING TO EXPERIENCE
MARCH 6, 2017
How does one construct a VR experience? THIS WEEK, we'll be learning from Vincent McCurley about photgrammetry, VR Storyboarding and more! Plus, we’ll walk through an award-winning project, Notes on Blindness, from ideation, conceptualization, and storyboarding, through production and post-production, and distribution, exploring both its approach to these topics and alternative approaches.
WORKSHOP 1: IMAGE CAPTURE, SOUND, STITCHING
MARCH 13, 2017
While the capture techniques of 360 video can be challenging, real time capture systems such as laser scanning (LIDAR), photogrammetry, and Kinekt offer far more significant complications … and possibilities. This is a hands-on session with examples of production and post-production methods.
WORKSHOP 2- INTERACTIVITY AND IMMERSION TO THE RESCUE - CONTROLLERS AND ASSETS
MARCH 20, 2017
Creating worlds with imagination, interactivity and coding. Hands-on session with examples of production and post-production methods.
Presentation of paper prototypes to the class.
HACKING VR - IS THERE EVEN A BOX?
APRIL 3, 2017
Rethinking the rules. What is VR? Is it video? Is it CGI? What about 3D printing, painting in VR, inventing new rigs, Immersive Theatre, and sound based immersion.
Follow up on team projects.
IMMERSIVE APPLICATIONS: GAMES AND DESIGN
APRIL 10, 2017
Game culture and game design have long focused on user experience, interaction and emergent narratives. How can games help create compelling VR projects? What does VR add to gameplay? How are VR games distributed? What are current developments in Social VR?
IMMERSIVE APPLICATIONS: VR IN NON-FICTION - 360 JOURNALISM AND EDUCATION
APRIL 24, 2017
What does it mean to be immersed in the “real”? What can the documentary art form tell us about real world, people and situations representations? How can we treat real-life issues and topics in VR? How do documentary and journalism ethics apply in VR? In-Class assignment: Critique and collaboration on projects
IMMERSIVE APPLICATIONS: VR IN HEALTH, VR IN SCIENCE AND NEUROSCIENCE OF VR
MAY 1, 2017
Is VR just a tool for entertainment? What does neuroscience teach us about virtual spaces and perception? And how could it be applied in health, in physics, in science? In-Class assignment: Critique and collaboration on projects
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT - ACCESSIBILITY, ETHICS AND THE POLITICS OF REPRESENTATION
MAY 8, 2017
New technologies always bring questions of access with them: who has equipment, knowledge, and power... and who doesn't? Who represents whom? And with what effect? What special ethical concerns - and responsibilities - do immersive technologies such as VR bring with them? And where is the technology, and with it, ideas of immersion, headed?
FINAL VR PRESENTATIONS AND CRITIQUES
MAY 15, 2017
Projects will be presented and discussed with a panel of special guests that includes MIT faculty and industry representatives.
A CRITICAL LOOK
reviews of various and sundry VR projects
In order to hack VR, one has to understand its emergent norms and variations. This section includes course participants' responses to the projects they have experienced