Blueplanet VR‘s Eric Hanson was contracted in 2018 to create a unique panoramic film for the Asheville Museum of Science, formatted for The Elumenati‘s GeoDome Panoramic screen system. Told as the story of the evolution of life on Earth, the short film brings to life a classic USGS science illustration, the evolutionary spiral. Blueplanet VR is working to bring this wonderful design to realtime volumetric VR in the Traverse title. Thanks go to Charles Floyd, Ned Gardiner, and Alicia Albee.
Blueplanet VR’sEric Hanson and HyperAcuity’sGreg Downing returned to gigapixel shooting once again in May 2019, capturing a massive spherical panorama of Las Vegas for the Stratosphere casino. With the assistance of our longtime Portland-based colleague Gavin Farrell of PanoGS, three teams shot from exposed service platforms at the top of each 700′ tower leg with Clauss and Roundshot robotic heads, Sony A7Riii’s, and Canon 300mm L primes, with the final 88-Gigapixel 3000-shot spherical image completed at 300,000 pixels wide. To provide a lower cap for the image, the team shot straight down from the upper limit of the “Big Shot” ride gantry at another 100′ up. The final image is displayed on six 4k touchscreen panels arrayed around the observation level, allowing deep zooms on a variety of local historic and scenic attractions.
Thanks to Kevin Potts at Coherent Design.
30k interactive panorama, Stratosphere version is 10x higher resolution (dbl click for fullscreen):
Blueplanet VR and HyperAcuity have the great pleasure of working with the Dunhuang Foundation and Dunhuang Academy in capturing the remarkable Mogao Caves in China for creating rich volumetric VR experiences. The Mogao Caves are one of the world’s great cultural heritage and Asian art sites, dating back over 1000 years old. The site receives millions of visitors a year, and consists of several hundred excavated grottos in the Gobi desert, each containing remarkable displays of Buddhist artwork developed during the height and prosperity of the Silk Road. The Dunhuang Foundation is a US-based organization with the mission of preserving Mogao’s past and providing for its future with various initiatives, this being one. The Dunhuang Research Academy is a Chinese government-based organization tasked with managing, documenting, and preserving the site. Our collaboration with these two entities have allowed us to capture several of the caves in unprecedented 3D volumetric detail and accuracy with advanced photogrammetric techniques. The result is an interactive volumetric VR experience that provides context and understanding to the site, allowing virtual visitation and interpretation to these remarkable, fragile, and priceless environments. A public release of the experience on VR distribution portals is planned for late 2019, with plans to grow the collection of caves over time.
Extensive thanks go to Bill and Judy Bollinger, Mimi Gates, Jeff Xiong, Jerry Yang, Christian Hudak, and Julia Grimes.
All images are 3d photogrammetric models as seen in VR, click to enlarge.
The Onward Project, a Santa Monica-based non-profit organization created by Getty alum Elizabeth Kahn, is dedicated to assembling and sharing with the public the tremendous breadth of material associated with the last of the great explorations of the American Southwest during the 1930s– the Rainbow Bridge-Monument Valley Expedition. Via multiple US museum exhibitions, digital archives, educational resources—and utilizing the latest VR interactive technologies—The Onward Project gives voice to the people who were impacted by the expedition, the native communities culturally related to the land, and those from the prehistoric past. The project will serve as a model for future virtual presentations about fragile and/orsacred sites around the globe. Blueplanet VR is partnering with this unique project, and has photogrammetrically captured a remote 900 year-old Puebloan site in Northern Arizona in extremely high resolution, allowing virtual visitation of the highly sensitive site in original, intact archaeological condition but without destructive effects of physical visitation. Interactive interpretation while in VR is aided by virtual presence of key experts of the region, including Navajo Nation archaeologist Ron Maldonado, The Denetso, Littlesalt and Austin Families, Allison Hana Fischer-Olson, Ailish Ullman, and Project Director Elizabeth Kahn. Future capture of related sites are planned.
Yosemite Valley has always held fascination for Eric Hanson of Blueplanet VR and Greg Downing of HyperAcuity. Initially, they used Yosemite as a test-bed subject for developing our early gigapixel imaging and terrain integration VFX techniques of large landscapes. That early work led to the 2008 Yosemite Extreme Imaging Project, where they orchestrated 70 photographers to document the sixteen miles of valley walls for NPS Geologist Greg Stock, shooting 10,000 images in 45 minutes. The unprecedented resolution and freely accessible online publishing of that work provided useful reference for the climbing community, academic research, and Yosemite search and rescue (YOSAR).
In 2015, after integration of the gigapixel imaging with a large-scale laser scanning effort from Battista Matasci of the University of Lausanne, xRez Studio had the opportunity to contribute to the NY Times on a webGL interactive visualization of Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson’s free climbing ascent of the “Dawn Wall”. The Dawn Wall on Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan is considered the most difficult rock climb in the world. The NY Times interactive feature on it can be explored in full screen. In addition to the interactive piece the New York Times has had very good coverage of the historic event, you can read more on it here and here.
Yosemitebigwall.com‘s Erik Sloan, a longtime valley xRez collaborator, author, and holder of over one hundred El Cap climbs, has long utilized our images to lay routes over in his climbing guidebooks. In 2016, we hatched a plan to shoot El Cap in record-setting 228,000 pixel resolution using an 800mm Canon L prime with a robotic Rodeon head. Early one morning, we followed Erik and Roger Putnam , shooting 2,000 images of constant moves up the Nose route, with Erik and Roger finishing in 7 hours. The following day, we then shot the entire width of El Cap with 2,000 images to comprise the base image. A massive post-production stitching job then began with uber-intern Max Good, taking over 2 years of off-hours to finalize. Boulder, Colo Sender Films then utilized sections of the image to help describe the Dawn Wall routes in their film, “The Dawn Wall”. Meanwhile, Erik worked diligently tracing routes over the extremely high resolution image. Finally, the full image was completed, as shown interactively below, at only one third of the full resolution. 60″ wide display prints were then produced and are currently sold on Yosemitebigwall.com.
Dbl-click to view the panorama fullscreen (recommended):
Blueplanet VR’s Eric Hanson recently spent time in Guanajuato, Mexico (translation “hilly place of frogs”), visiting Ethan Summers‘ stunning homes and folk art collection there and doing a bit of drone, gigapixel, and photogrammetry work.
Blueplanet VR’s Eric Hanson recently participated in the American Film Showcase (AFS), a program managed by USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in partnership with the Department of State. With the intent of sharing the rich talent in our film industry with the rest of the world, the AFS looks to foster new international voices, providing lectures and workshops for emerging film industries. Eric was invited to tour 12 studios and schools across Indonesia, lecturing on animation, visual effects, and VR. A highlight at the conclusion was a special opportunity to photogrammetrically capture Borobudur and Prambanan temples, magnificent subjects.
Helping organize the 2017 Jackson Hole Film Festival VR entries and awards, Blueplanet VR‘s Eric Hanson took some time to capture some remarkable treasures of the southwest along the way. Having explored the grand yet intimate Bears Ears National Monument previously, Eric set out to volumetrically capture some iconic ancient sites in the park, in order to assist environmental efforts to overturn the recent defeat and reduction of the priceless monument. Concern and care for wilderness is built by experiencing it directly, and volumetric VR may be an effective substitute and tool for activism.
Conceptualized with PBS Frontline director Catherine Upin, Blueplanet VR’s Eric Hanson helped develop this innovative interactive documentary and realize a primary scene. Made with The Emblematic Group, Realtra, NOVA, and NASA, Greenland Melting is first of it’s kind, an 11 minute volumetric VR documentary experience allowing one to see firsthand the degradation of the glaciers in Greenland, and an unexpected discovery making matters worse. Blueplanet VR developed a key photogrammetric scene surrounding the Kangilerngata glacier, illustrating the effects of Atlantic current impact on calving of the glacier, the research accomplished from NASA’s important OMG project. A key contributor was our Icelandic colleague Olafur Haraldsson, who shot the aerial photogrammetry and ground based 360 video.