Immersive VR

Hunger in Los Angeles is an immersive VR journalism project by journalist Nonny de la Peña. The project consists of the recreation of a real life event using real audio and environments modeled on real locations. The event featured is a scene at a Los Angeles food bank where delays in the distribution of food resulted in a series of unfortunate events. The project was exhibited as part of the New Frontier exhibition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival which showcases innovative forms of media that go beyond traditional cinema. John Brennan, CalArts motion capture consultant and workshop leader, provided art direction as well as motion capture acting for every character in the scene as well as editing of all motion capture data.


This hands on demo of the USC Project Holodeck gives a great overview of the technology and conceptual base of this is important initiative to take immersive VR out of the research lab. The project is a part of the USC Games program, a joint effort between the Interactive Media Division (IMD) at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) and the Department of Computer Science at the Viterbi School of Engineering.


In 1993, Brenda Laurel and Rachel Strickland created the virtual reality project, Placeholder, as part of the Art and Virtual Environments project at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Placeholder was a two-person fully interactive virtual-reality system, utilizing stereoscopic head-mounted displays, three-dimensional spatialized audio displays, and custom-designed manual input devices to allow two participants to explore and play in three connected virtual environments.

After the Banff Centre for the Arts successful Art and Virtual Environments project had run its course, Char Davies was able to leverage the talent and experience of the brilliant crew from Banff in the creation of two innovative virtual reality projects.

Osmose (1995) is an immersive interactive virtual-reality environment installation with 3D computer graphics and interactive 3D sound, a head-mounted display and real-time motion tracking based on breathing and balance. Osmose is a space for exploring the perceptual interplay between self and world, i.e., a place for facilitating awareness of one’s own self as consciousness embodied in enveloping space.

Ephémère (1998) is iconography evolved through Davies’ long-standing practice as a painter, and, as in Osmose, is grounded in ‘nature’ as metaphor: archetypal elements of root, rock, and stream etc. recur throughout. In Ephémère however, this iconographic repertoire is extended to include body organs, blood vessels and bones, suggesting a symbolic correspondence between the chthonic presences of the interior body and the subterranean earth.

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A few more examples of VR related material can be found on my Explorations in Stereoscopic Imaging course page  Viewpoint Dependent Imaging.

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….more to come