Blend Blog

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Making Digital Souvenirs with VR

Ashley Blurton / 5 hours ago

Over the last couple of years, I've had the pleasure of giving over 50 people their first dose of Virtual Reality. Starting with the Oculus Development Kit 2 (DK2) and now the Oculus Rift , it's always been an exciting experience. After doing so many of these demos and introductions, it made me think about having some way to capture the moment where the user forgets they're in a headset and starts letting loose! Earlier this year we had a little “VR party” at Blend Media which was a fantastic opportunity for me to hone in on my GIF-making skills. It was a great occasion in which everyone tried out some different VR games; naturally I took a video camera with me (and a green screen). The results were spectacular.

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Creator Voices: Adam Ravetch

Edie Walwyn / 12 days ago

It would truly be an understatement to say that wildlife filmmaker Adam Ravetch has had an interesting career so far. We chatted to him about manta rays, shark hotels and the responsibility of filmmakers to inspire change.

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Al’s 360° Adventures: The Rebirth of Live

James King-Thompson / 12 days ago

One of Blend Media’s Thailand based creator’s, Al Caudullo, takes us on a 360° video live streaming journey from past to present. His multi award-winning career, spanning at least 30 years of video production excellence, has lead him to the realms of video 360°. He touches on some of his exciting hands-on experiences, including Blend Media and Facebook’s Weekend of Live 360°, as well as shedding some light on the Insta360 camera brand. Take it away Al... In many ways, 360° video livestreaming that Facebook has pioneered draws parallels to the early live TV broadcasts of the 1950’s. The difference is the evolution that the digital age has presented us with.

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Total Solar Eclipse 360° Livestream 2017

James King-Thompson / a month ago

Today Blend Media is excited to be involved in the 360° live streaming of the much anticipated total eclipse of 2017 where the Moon will be passing in front of the Sun. Blend Media has been working with NASA and Facebook to deliver these unique experiences. The total solar eclipse will first be seen at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 PDT (16:05 GMT; 17:05 BST), with totality beginning at 10:16 PDT (17:16 GMT; 18:16 BST). This is the first total solar eclipse to make landfall exclusively in the United States since 1776! The areas where you will be able to see the total eclipse, otherwise known as the ‘path of totality’, will be in: Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. This magical occurrence will last up to two minutes and 40 seconds.

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Helicopters, Beaches and Magic: Welcome to Blend Media and Facebook’s Weekend of Live 360°

James King-Thompson / a month ago

The team at Blend Media have recently been working very closely with our partners over at Facebook HQ to execute our Weekend of Live 360° which, after much anticipation and hard work, began on Friday 28th July and ended on Sunday 30th July. We hand-picked 15 creators from our network of 370+, we armed them each with appropriate cameras and asked them to live stream something unique from select corners of the globe. We had creators live 360° streaming from North America, South America, Europe and Asia. There were some fantastic creative ideas and levels of enthusiasm went through the roof.

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Creator Voices: Paulette Caletti Interview

Edie Walwyn / a month ago

Creator Voices is a blog series in which we will chat to talented individuals of the Blend Creator Network, about various topics and events in the 360°/VR space. We have interviewed Paulette Caletti about the state of the industry, what she’s up to and her dream Kubrick-esque immersive project.   How did you become involved in 360° video production? It was during the Power to the Pixel conference in 2015. I was interested in transmedia storytelling to support my feature film, The Cake Maker, and was looking for ways to expand the story-world. The IMAX had a VR/360° video exhibition, and I visited both days. I was in awe of how the experiences made me feel, and felt an instant connection to the medium. Initially I resisted getting involved, but opportunities began to open up for me so I took the plunge.   Are you working on anything exciting at the moment? Previously I completed a proof of concept for Guy’s Hospital called Dental 360, which is a project that will help patients overcome their fear of visiting the dentist. We’re now developing a compassionate care video to support training. We’re at the script stage and are looking for funding. This will be a narrative piece shot in 360° from two perspectives.    Is there a piece of content you’ve seen that you really like? If so, why did it have an impact? Against Blue Currents by Hiverlab, about people with disabilities scuba diving and their desire to try something new despite the challenges. The filming allowed you to appreciate the freedom and weightlessness they gained. I admired the range of shots, use of drones, underwater shooting and boldness of the shoot.   What are you most excited about for the future of 360°/VR (software, cameras, emerging talent)? To be able to move and navigate like you would in a game. For the software to make it more interactive.   If you had an endless budget for an immersive project, what would you do? I’d like to recreate the good and bad of a clubbing experience. Where you could wander around a venue and have interactive encounters in different rooms, with the mission to be reunited with your friends. A branching narrative where you control the outcome, but there would be a ticking clock and you would gain time and have a deeper experience depending on your choices. Kind of like Eyes Wide Shut, with a blurring of the real and surreal.   How do you think 360° videos differ from other types of media? I think you can build a stronger relationship with the audience, because you can bring together techniques from other media to suit your purposes. You can experiment and try new ways of storytelling. Yes, there are rules to avoid sickness but it’s an open field.   What can be done by both creators and companies such as Blend to diversify the industry? Networking is crucial, and building the community. Learn from each other and collaborate. I’m happy to admit when I don’t understand how something’s done, but then I look at my skillset and think what can I contribute to a process. You have to reach out to other industries and support those who want to learn more. Diversity needs to be present at the creative beginning of projects to prevent the industry suffering the limitations and exclusions of other media.   Do you have any advice for other videographers and cinematographers looking to create 360 videos? Just start and you’ll discover the stories you want to tell. It may feel like a big leap, but it’s a great opportunity to be at the forefront of a new creative frontier.

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Five Tips for your First Facebook Livestream

Alicja Wasilewska / a month ago

The team at Blend Media have recently been working very closely with our partners over at  Facebook to execute an exciting new project called, Weekend of Live 360° ! The project kicked off on Friday 28th July and ran right through to Sunday evening. Before we launched the Weekend of Live 360, we chose 15 talented creators from our global Network to test out the incredible new features and improvements Facebook’s Live 360 tool now boasts. After setting up a variety of live 360° streams over the weekend with our creators, we now have all the best tips and tricks you need to whip up your very own live 360° stream on Facebook. 1) Content Planning for the Perfect Stream We’re all for spontaneous live streaming, however spending time thinking through the experience before switching on the camera will result in a richer experience for your viewers. Think about the total 360˚ frame, are there points of interest all around you? Could there be times in the stream where not much is going on, how will you keep viewers engaged (see below for some ideas)? Also, check that you don’t need permission to livestream in a certain place and always be respectful of people’s privacy and personal space! Be mindful if you live stream from a concert or another music event - the music is often subject to copyright law which might result in the live stream being pulled down from Facebook. Facebook’s Help Center offers more insights on what types of content are protected but we recommend to be cautious and avoid any concerts for the livestream. Any violent or aggressive content can also cause your livestream to be removed from Facebook. To make us feel safe whilst using Facebook, the company has developed a set of Community Standards which can be reviewed here. 2) Get your Audience Involved Build anticipation and awareness for your livestream before the action begins - promote on your Facebook page and cross promote on your other social channels. During the livestream encourage your viewers to get involved in your stream by asking them questions. Some ideas include asking them where they are watching from, whether anyone has been to the location you are streaming from, or ask them a quiz question about your location. Your viewers can then answer in the comments section -  it makes for a fun experience for everyone! Encourage viewers to react to the live stream by sending likes or love - it’s satisfying to see all those hearts rolling across the video! Facebook interactions give you great insights into how well your content is being received, more so than just relying on view count alone.

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