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Lucas Wilson on Scratch’s new end-to-end VR workflow

With NAB looming, and chatter pointing to virtual reality being ubiquitous on the show floor, Assimilate has launched its new Scratch VR Suite, an end-to-end virtual reality workflow with an all-inclusive realtime toolset for working within a 360 environment. The Scratch VR Suite includes features from Scratch V8.4 (soon to be Scratch 8.5). Scratch VR also includes Scratch Web and creative tools that are specific to the VR Suite. Scratch Web enables realtime, online collaboration and review via Google Cardboard and Samsung GearVR headsets.

We reached out to Lucas Wilson, VR producer at Assimilate to find out more about the product and workflow.

Lucas Wilson on set.

Lucas Wilson on set.

Can you walk us through the workflow of someone shooting VR content and using Scratch VR from on-set to post?
In many ways, Assimilate has kind of just removed “VR” as an issue in a lot of post production, bringing it back to “just production.” Scratch does not do any stitching. So, once material is stitched you take these steps…

1) Publish to Scratch Web and generate review links for clients. 2) Review links can be opened up and played in either “Magic Window” or VR-Cardboard mode, allowing for an effective, real, headset-based review workflow for dailies. 3) VR goes through to editorial. 4) Conform to Scratch 5) Scratch can then grade in a true VR mode — with 360 viewer options on the desktop, to an external monitor, or live to an Oculus Rift DK2. mono or stereo. 6) In addition, grading “respects” 360 mode. Shapes will wrap around in 360 mode, respecting the edges in a lat/long frame, etc. It is real grading and finishing in 360/VR. 7) Publish to YouTube 360 with correctly inserted metadata, or as a normal equi-rectangular video for publishing elsewhere.

What are some common areas of focus that people who are just jumping into VR need to know from the outset?
Best advice I can give is to think through your workflow carefully from the beginning. Planning and pre-production is so important in any VR project, and that can get you into trouble more quickly than with many traditional projects.

You’ve been out on the road shooting VR in real-world situations. What has surprised you the most about this process, and can you talk about some of the tools that were built into the VR suite based on your input?
The biggest surprise was two-fold: the necessity of dealing quickly and effectively with stitching, and then the complete lack of good review and finish tools in VR. Getting anything reviewed by a client was a painful process before Scratch Web. My real-world experience (I think) had a big influence on the VR suite, because in that sense I was kind of a “customer with an inside track.” I was able to feed back my pain quickly and easily to the team, and they listened. Using Scratch and Scratch Web, I can review, conform, color, finish and deliver in VR.

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Assimilate and Wilson will be at NAB offering demos


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