As climate change, environmental protection and sustainability dominate media and political affairs, the demand for increased use of public transport instead of cars is obvious. Within the Application Center V/AR, Filmakademie’s R&D team realized the VR journey BEEING taking its users on a fantastic train ride. The developed prototype is aimed to raise awareness on nature preservation and at the same time provide an example for immersive entertainment in public transport.
Read on to watch the BEEING clip and learn more about the technical concept behind.
BEEING intends to address the strong impact of humans on the environment and its ecosystems. Therefore, the story is set in a macro world around a flower meadow, the habitat for endangered wildlife and insects.
Picked-up in the real world, i.e. in the real train, the users experience a ride that far exceeds the experience of a normal train ride: You find yourself on the back of an insect after the train disintegrates, which carries you along through a fantastic and ominously dissolving forest of ghosts. The ride ends in a flower meadow showing the beauty of nature. The aim is to convey that nature must be preserved so that it can continue to be experienced outside VR in the future.
The VR journey is not only entertaining its viewers with storytelling but also reflects the physical conditions of a train ride creating a real immersive experience. The entire story world and characters were created in Epics Unreal Engine while the final mobile player application is based on Unity technology. The biggest challenge the team had to overcome was, to match the motion of the virtual train as close as possible to the motion of the real train ride. This was essential for best quality VR immersion and also to avoid motion sickness for its users.
A pre-rendered 360° video served as the main medium. In order to match the speed of the video and the train and at the same time to avoid stuttering of the image, the video had to be adapted to the acceleration of the train before rendering. To collect the necessary data from the real train ride, a custom app was developed to record acceleration and GPS data of the respective track sections with a smartphone. Based on this data the camera was driven to render the stereoscopic 360° video. The final player application also allowed for additional fine-tuning to compensate slight speed deviations after rendering.
The prototype is suitable for smartphone VR devices such as the Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, making it accessible to a wide audience. Although it was designed for Stuttgart's short distance trains, the technology can be transferred to arbitrary trains and routes.
With BEEING, the R&D team of Filmakademie’s Animationsinstitut managed to a create not only a beautiful and inspiring VR journey but also developed an impressive prototype providing a variety of entertaining possibilities for the future of public transport.
The project BEEING was realized as part of the project Application Center V/AR at Animationsinstitut of Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, funded by the Ministry of Economics,Labour and Housing Baden-Württemberg.
Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, the Virtual Dimension Center (VDC) and Animationsinstitut of Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg are collaborating to ease access for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in SME businesses with the "Applikationszentren V/AR" project. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are on everyone's lips worldwide today. The state of Baden-Württemberg has been an excellent location for Virtual Reality in Germany since the 1990s. This applies to the research scene (Fraunhofer, University of Stuttgart) as well as to industrial applications and the state's competence centres (VDC Fellbach and St. Georgen).