'Gravity' and the handicapped: How VR helped both


Posted at Jun 04 2016 08:59 AM | Updated as of Sep 27 2016 12:54 PM

MANILA - Virtual reality (VR) is an up and coming technology with abounding possibilities to explore and it has certainly tickled the minds of many.

The hit movie, Gravity, is one of the recent movies to come out that was heavily computer-enhanced.

Duncan Ransom, a Fil-Aussie member of the visual effects team of the movie, shared that 90% of the film was actually done in computer graphics.

He said a scene that lasted two to three minutes on the reel actually took 300 people six to nine months to finish.

Actress Sandra Bullock was not one to miss the touch-ups done on her body movements in the film, but Ransom said she took it in stride.

"But she's a lovely person, but it was something she noticed—that her performance was created by a team of 50 animators," he recalled.

While VR has been used widely in the production of full-length films, it is also being used in creation of games, short videos and many other things and many other fields to induce interactivity.

"What everyone's realizing is what VR is: it's not trying to bring someone into the screen, but when you put the headset on, you're already in that experience," he said.

Ransom revealed the inspiration for his company, The Endless Collective, is to create a new imagined reality for those who cannot move due to injuries and take them to see the places they can't in real life, and provide them a "sense of escapement from the entrapment that they're feeling."

The rise of readily-available VR headsets has caused some to worry about the indulgence it can bring to its users, but Ransom believes the experience of VR itself can be therapeutic for some.

"What's most exciting about it is that it's a new frontier of artistic language and its closest cousin is our actual lives," he said.

Ransom, whose maternal family is from Pangasinan, expressed confidence that Filipino animators can be at par with all other global leaders.

"I think there's no reason, with our capacity to absorb information through the Internet or anywhere, there's no reason why the Philippines can't be a leader in these technologies as well," he said.