Week 2: 360 Video
Dinner Party made great use of the format of 360 video, but was let down by the terrible hardware/software experience of actually watching it. The Meta Quest 3’s in the equipment lab were not set up for use, so I used the v2, which it was my first time using one. The headset made me both physically and mentally uncomfortable, and forbade me from ever trying to forget I was wearing it: constant dialogs interrupted my video every few seconds to let me know only one person can use YouTube at a time, looking around the video caused a “Recenter” button to cloud my vision (Meta doesn’t seem aware that 360 video has no center), I couldn’t figure out how to close the dock of apps, and poorly-drawn overlays made my hands visible on top of the movie. The resolution, meanwhile, was staggeringly low compared to the fidelity of the visual effects in the movie.
The use of the 360-degree footage felt great to explore. I enjoyed having the camera constantly moving in space, but it was subtle enough to not induce motion sickness. I always knew where they “wanted” me looking, but felt like I could pan around a bit too. Perhaps I did too much, because in combination with the distracting headset UI, I didn’t follow the story well.
Afterwards, I watched the BBC Total Solar Eclipse video. They direct attention at one point through onscreen arrows, and repeat the same text across the viewport so it’s never missed. I found the text disappearing effect distractingly flashy, but the calming music added to the majestic energy.
I hope to never wear a Meta Quest 2 again. It was physically and mentally painful in a way I was not expecting.
I worked with Ci Song to film my leaving IMA one night after staying late working on a project, going home alone. We wanted it to feel lonely and boring, so ensured the spaces were desolate and you only had one person to latch onto visually. I wanted to follow the technique outlined in the readings where each clip matches the alignment of the former, so the viewer does all the rotating to follow me but is never surprised by the cuts between scenes. We set up the camera to create strong symmetry/alignment against the architecture, aligned to stairway banisters or centered in hallways for strong lines that keep the stark, stoic energy going.