The concept for this project came together right before my eyes as I assessed my situation during the COVID-19 shutdown. I had just recently gained access to some of the tools I needed to create compelling, immersive content, especially content that has the potential to move beyond the creator and take on a life of it's own, and now I had the time to figure out what could be done.
So here's what I'm making available to anyone that wants to be a part of this project. Who knows what it can become. I'm just having fun with it and hope you will too.
>> Click Here to download the VR180 project files... for free!
Side by Side 3D 5760x2880 equirectangular MP4 video (multiple shots to choose from)
(Rendered format of the Vuze XR camera)
The acoustic guitar and vocal tracks were recorded with a Slate VMS ML-1 and the other tracks were created in Logic Pro X at 182 BMP.
(Full Logic folder with all files available upon request)
NOTE: I don't care what you do with this content as long as it's positive. Put yourself in the videos. Even record and share your own version of "Freedom is..." Get creative! Would love to see what you come up with.
If you're not interested in doing anything with my content, can I use yours?
>> Click Here to Access Google Drive Folder to upload your files
I am looking for anything that would look cool as the background for my greenscreen performance videos similar to the examples above (I have several other songs already recorded just like this). Any footage that I receive that is used in a video I will give you a credit in the description on YouTube and include a link to whatever you want to promote.
If I can get more than a few of these I would like to make a video collage of different people singing along to "Freedom is..." that I can edit together.
Really... I would appreciate any footage that fits those specs. I would love to try to think of a way to use it at some point. As long as I can use it for just giving you a credit and a link on the YouTube description or wherever I upload it.
After spending the first half of my professional business career a staunch PC user, I converted to MAC and have never turned back. I'm not going into the explanation of how I came to that conclusion, but a big reason was how macs handles large audio and video files.
At this point I edit video on a 2013 MAC with 16gb RAM and a Solid State HD. It works for most general HD A/V editing and processing, but when it comes to the VR 5760x2880 equirectangular it's not really cutting it.
Which brings me to my newest video capture device, the Vuze XR (related FB Group I Joined)
I was able to get this VR180/360 camera right before the shutdown started. So as I became homebound indefinitely, I had to figure out if I could create any compelling content with my new device under those circumstances.
First thing I found was I had to have better lighting. I posted a couple videos of me playing covers when the lighting was bad. Then I posted my version of "Bird on a Wire" and put crazy effects on it to cover the fact that the quality was basically unusable otherwise. I've done that a lot in the past and I actually think those look cool too, but just not "professional" supposedly. I definitely would rather have the high quality recordings to work with.
So I ordered a $50 lighting kit and it was going to be about a week before it arrived.
I decided to move back to working on recording unreleased songs I'd written years ago, and learn how to use Logic Pro X for audio production. During this time I realized that I probably could at least get my songs all the way to the mixing stage on my own. I just needed to record my guitar and vocals on a click track and learn how to use the AI drummer and MIDI.
Over that week I dug in, watching tutorials and getting all of my songs organized and testing things here and there with the VR video as well. I have an even older Mac Mini that was pretty much always processing video for tests.
Which brings me to the Oculus Quest VR headset (related FB Group I Joined)
After rendering the footage from the Vuze XR, I copied it to the Oculus Quest through my computer and watched it in the immersive VR environment. I was able to take short clips from numerous recordings and test recording angle strategies, lighting, effects, transitions, etc... by just using seconds at a time and then exporting 15-20 second clips where I learn 3-4 things each time, but take overnight to process.
After I received the lighting kit I realized that it was going to do what I needed video quality-wise, but I had to move my mattress into my kitchen/living room in order to have any chance at having a recording set.
As I tested the methods and requirements for getting even a usable greenscreen recording, I learned a few things. Like always start recording before moving into the shot so you can remove the background in post. Always be sure to wear solid colors (shoes too haha, you'll see in video). Don't be too close to the camera. And once set up to record a video and playing along to at least a scratch track on click of the song, run through it 3 full times without moving anything. That way there are choices to use through the whole song, with that same background available to remove it from video.
Once I had things lined up and set up the best way I had figured out, I started recording videos. I now have an EP of unreleased songs with video recorded this way that I am working on audio production for and plan to release in the coming months, but not right now.
When I got to the point of trying to edit the VR180 video beyond removing everything except for me playing the song and wanted to work on the background footage, I wasn't sure what to do.
The only scenic type footage I had in VR180 was of me playing Pickleball (which I made a cool video out of here). I used that as my reference for testing but now I needed something to actually use. So I went online to see if there was a public domain source. Or any source really for something to use, but did not find anything.
So the next time I had to make an essential trip to the grocery store (hadn't left the apartment for 7 days), I put the camera on a selfie stick and recorded while I drove. Also stopping a couple times to record a scene.
I then dropped clips of this footage behind the video I was working on for "Freedom is", then rendered a 15 second test that had to process overnight. Because my computer is so slow I can never actually see what anything looks like until it's processed and loaded on the Oculus. So there are moments where I'm finding out what hours of work looks like. Sometimes it's not that great, other times it is.
When I saw that test video with the background for the first time, the idea for this project came to me. I had thought about contacting Vuze XR users about footage they might have. But this was when I tied together all of the concepts of FREEDOM that everyone should be thinking about and how this song and the A/V content that I am making available to build from could be a fun and creative way to have a positive impact on others.
If you're looking for an artistics way to help with the awakening of the human race that is occuring before our eyes, then please share with the world what freedom is for you. Read a few more thoughts on the concept of what Freedom is...