Riding the Rift

OculusAs a child, I used to take my time putting on layer after layer of clothing before going out to play in the snow. My mother would pop her head in anxiously wondering what was taking me so long. She already didn’t much care for her son going out in this kind of weather, best to get it over with so she could prepare dinner with a clear and level head.

Once dressed, I awkwardly made my way to the door, the many layers making it more of a waddle than a true walk. I opened the door and there was a blast of cold, but as I walked out and shut the door behind me it became barely noticeable. The only thing I noticed was the silence. The snow fell quietly all around me. The noise and ruckus of the house, the chores of the day, they disappeared. None of it mattered. I laid down in my yard and watched the snow fall under the streetlight, carrying away the sound, and with it my thoughts.

I never felt anything quite like that until I put on the Oculus Rift for the first time. One moment, I was sitting in the office at Think Media Studios, and in the next I was front row at a Paul McCartney Concert. I could see everyone in the crowd and Paul was playing right next me. Everything else melted away. That kind of immersion is breathtaking, and the possibilities seem endless.

I take the Headset off

It’s amazing to intern at a place where they’re constantly examining new technologies and experimenting with them. This is what keeps Think Media on the cutting edge of video production. Oculus Rift could very well change the way we experience media and interact with it. Having the opportunity to go places few have been before is incredibly enticing for creative professionals.

I put the headset back on.

Producer Julia, DP Caleb, ADP Kasey, and I are booking through the parking garage at Quicken Loans Arena. We’re operating on a tight schedule. We have to get some shots at the Horseshoe Casino and then get to the Q to shoot some time sensitive footage.

When you’re working in tight spots on a schedule you have to travel light, so we stuck to DSLRs: the Canon 5D and the Sony A7S. We threw in a tripod, a shoulder rig, some Go Pros, and a single LED Panel for lighting. Anything more would have slowed us down. Note to self: metal equipment is cold, to make it in this business in Northeast Ohio, gloves are necessary. Caleb has an extra pair, I’m grateful.

I take the headset off.

Working on a fast paced shoot can really get your adrenaline going. Waiting for that one, specific shot and making it look easy is a tall order. But satisfaction comes when you get that perfect shot. Caleb has told me that the most important thing I can do to get better is to keep shooting. Only by doing it, diagnosing what I’ve done right and what I can improve upon, and making those changes can I make progress.

The same goes for the advancement of anything, whether it is a company like Think Media Studios or a technology like Oculus Rift. You have to go out there and just do it, experiment, and adapt. That’s how you find success and make progress, that’s the path to innovation. Pushing the boundaries of what can be done in a medium and opening up an audience to something they’ve never experienced before is the apex of what it means to be a creative professional. Both Think Media and Oculus embody this mindset and work ethic.

I Put The Headset Back On

We’re running down the street from the Casino to the Q. We only have a few minutes left to get into place for the shot we need. Once inside, Kasey and Caleb quickly prep their cameras and rush to different ends of the arena to get the shots they need. I’m left to watch the rest of the equipment. I’m grateful to have a chance to catch my breath, even if some fans are holding their beers a little too close to the equipment for my comfort. I look up at the game and watch as LeBron sinks a bucket. The crowd goes wild, and for a minute the roar drowns everything out, and I feel a peace similar to those days lying out in the snow. I reflect on how I got here and how awesome the experience has been so far. The feeling is overwhelming and for a moment I wonder if this is actually reality or not. You can never be too sure these days.

Mary Hipp
1 Comment
  • What it takes to get to that hair-raising, fist-pumping point is a unique relationship between Think Media Studios and the Cavs, both companies say.

    June 30, 2016 Reply

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