Your Life in Virtual Reality / Derek Zan

I had a dream, that I was recording a grandmother and her granddaughter having a heartfelt conversation while I was holding a little black box. I didn’t really know what to make of it, that is, until the Vuze camera was released. I recognized the box! I don’t believe in coincidence, I do believe in making people happy, and I realized the potential we now held in our hands for good. I set out to make a video inspired by the dream, told my story, and within five minutes of writing it received a phone call. Care to guess who it was? A granddaughter, wanting to interview her grandmother, to have that conversation so that future generations could watch it when they grew up, and truly know the woman who reared her. I know I had a hand in making it happen, but I can with full confidence say, that the Vuze camera and the wonderful team at Humaneyes, literally helped make a dream come true.

Introduction to YourLifeVR

Creating VR in a noisy setting

Shooting in noisy places has its own set of challenges without throwing spatial audio into the mix, so I left out the ambisonics when I shot the video “A heartfelt talk with grandma”. I instead opted for stereo, with mic x pointed at one participant, and mic y pointed at the other. In the video “RGV Bandidas” I used ambisonic sound, but the audio was slightly behind the skaters. It’s not something you’d notice, unless you were looking for it, but it’s there. I’ve learned quite a bit and have a way to go, but here’s at least 5 tips that can make your audio life, a little easier…

  • Buy at least an H1n Microphone and a lapel mic. Better than that though… an H2n (The one I use) if you want ambisonc audio! The H2n is the only one that can do it, not the model above or below. You can import the audio files directly into Premiere Pro, and it will give you the ambisonics option on export with a few choice settings. This guy has the best tutorial I’ve seen for this mic.
  • If you are using the H2n in spatial audio mode, point the back of the mic (side without screen) in the same direction as the front of the Vuze camera (Side without SD card) and the audio will line up without having to adjust using mathematical formulas and other complicated stuff.
  • Set your gain at mid to low when recording. You can adjust the gain in post using Premiere Pro, or adjust further in Audition CC. (Though if set correctly you won’t need to.) I usually shoot between 6 and 8.
  • Try to use people you know as buffers to keep strangers farther away from equipment. For example, on the “A heartfelt talk with grandma” video, we took up the entire center table to eliminate the risk of “noisy neighbors”.
  • Loud room = low gain. Quiet room = high gain. Keep it simple.

A heartfelt talk with grandma - 3D 360 VR video

About the Creator: Derek Zan / YourLifeVR

Hello from YourLifeVR! “Our mission is to bring VR to the forefront of entertainment through immersion, and give you the power to relive your most cherished moments again and again.” That is a small piece of our mission statement, but I have to say, it is an understatement. VR has been around for quite some time, but it has been silently growing in the background, and now is emerging as a power player in the technological world. Having this tech now be affordable and more user friendly than ever has opened the floodgates of creativity and let loose a world of imagination never before thought possible. I have personally used VR for a wide variety of things, from a boxing gym promo to real estate, from rollerderby matches to church, from a live musical performance, to a heartfelt talk with grandma. Let us never forget, while rushing to capture every idea that comes to mind in VR, that some things are better in VR than others. I could easily put out a video a day, of nonsensical whimsy, or of stock buildings and fields, but I’d much rather tell a story. That little camera we use to create magic can’t do all the work, so it’s up to us to bring the heart, to paint a picture, and to remember that human connection. Check out some of our content, please subscribe, and above all, have fun out there!

My full name is Derek Zaniel Rangel, but I am more commonly known by Derek Zan. I was born in a small town in Arizona, and moved to an only slightly larger town in South Texas when I was very young due to my father being an agent in the Border Patrol. To put that in perspective, I was amazed by streetlights. Heh. I have of course traveled extensively since then and have spent the majority of my life connecting with people. I’ve studied computer programming, networking, psychology, business management, attended medical school and did a whole slew of other random things in my lifetime. Ultimately the only things I value are the things that truly bring us joy! More on that later. My brother and I started a computer company back in 2001 called A-Tech Computer Services, and we still run it today. Keeping machines and various devices up and running, building pc’s, running cable, keeping businesses on schedule, and making sure networks are in working order are all a part of what we do, but our technical ability is greatly varied. My first computer was a Commodore64, and I was the type of kid that just had to know what made it tick. My curiosity and the absolute need to learn DOS just to play video games translated into a lot of independent study time. Our unofficial motto is, “If you can plug it in, we can fix it” My father was also a photographer in his youth, so he taught me the basics of film and video. I later went on to further instruction by joining the small film production group at my local high school. I’ve dabbled in acting, singing, and played music up on stage. Above all these things, I enjoy creating VR content! We now have YourLifeVR, a business created from passion.