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Participants Discuss What it was Like to Take Part in the VR Diversity Initiative

People from far and wide across the UK signed up for the first VR Diversity Initiative Kick-off of 2018, which took place at Hobs Studio, London. Initiated by VRFocus last year to help create a more inclusive community in new emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), it is now led by Nina Salomons. Several events are planned for 2018, to help give opportunities to under-represented groups to learn how to create and build VR projects. The VR Diversity Initiative focuses on practical skills such as learning 360 filming or building a VR experience in Unity

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The participants were separate into different groups. One group chose to specialise in 360 degree filmmaking, which was led by workshop leader Alex Ruhl. The introduction including learning about what 360° video entails, how you can view it, about perspective, when to move a camera or not, and the impact of their actions on the final product. The team used a GoPro Fusion during the day to film various scenes outside in the snow and learned the post-production workflow of working in 360°.

“Today I’ve experienced using a 360° camera for the first time. It was an amazing experience. I wasn’t sure if this was something I’d like to go into, but actually I would,” Linda Mason says.

Pierre Inkonnu is an event organiser and has decided that he now wants to incorporate 360° virtual reality (VR) filming into his events after learning how to film in 360°. He learned that 360° films don’t necessarily need an expensive camera, but can also be shot with little pro-consumer cameras for your smart phone. “I feel as though I gained a lot and I’m able to explain a lot of the leanings that I experienced today. On the other hand, I was in a group with some very prominent, active VR practitioners and they also learned something new so it caters a wide spectrum.”

Fernanda Dobal says that the VR Diversity Initiative was very enlightening, “I have some experience in regular filming things and editing and learning about 360 workflow just really helped me close down the barrier to entry so I’m going to get a 360 camera so I’m really excited about that, I feel like I learned a lot today.”

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Attendees learn to create worlds in videogame software Unity.

The other attendees learned how to create experiences in Unity, everything from a videogame, to immersive worlds to a simple climbing wall. This was done on both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets.

“I was introduced to a program that I had never even heard of and I managed to create an interactive world for VR” Said Charlotte Kemp, who worked together with another group member on Unity. “I learned so many things and I feel much more confident about entering this as a career.”

Rowena Bach used to work in HR and now wants to incorporate VR into working with young children. She now feels more confident about moving forward. “To come in like a day like today, I’ve just gone from no knowledge to a huge amount of information and can now talk to developers about what I want to build in a VR way for the young people that I help.”

Cecilie Fjellhoy says, “It’s been really amazing, meeting so many great women and talented people that have taught me Unity and so I know the basics that I can go back to my work and actually make some experiences myself.”

Joep Fernando is an occupational therapy student and was interested in seeing how VR can be used within the healthcare system and feels like he had a good grounding in how to apply and use the software behind VR. “I’ll definitely be considering it in my career path forward.”

Adeline Rozario created a simple videogame experience with her partner which required the player to throw coloured balls into the appropriate boxes. She says that, “It’s a really great idea the VR Diversity Initiative and thanks so much for this opportunity.”

To find out more watch the video below.