Review Of "Nuts and Bolts of QuickTime VR Seminar"

We received the following review of the Appleis The Nuts and Bolts of QuickTime VR Seminar by Dennis Biela from Andrew Meglis, courtesy of VST Technologies [Editoris Note - VST Technologiesi parent company, SmartDisk, is a sponsor of this seminar series.]. QuickTime VR is an excellent technology from Apple that allows panorama movies and much more. Dennis Biela is the author of "Nuts and Bolts of QuickTime VR," and is well known in the digital media world. The seminar is designed to bring the message of QuickTime VR to digital artists and content creators.

The Seminar - Dennis Biela

Dennis Biela is a large, friendly man with a self-deprecating but professional presentation style. He kept the audience interested with rich content interspersed with humorous stories and prize giveaways. Dennis was willing to recommend specific products when he felt the notoriety was worthy. He was honest in his appraisals, both good and bad, as a user of the technology. His discussions did not appear to be commercially driven but were from his first-hand experience.

Dennis began as a digital photography aficionado. He started with a knack for Adobe Photoshop and worked doing digital retouching after recognizing the value of digital media early. Dennis also outlined several lucky breaks heid had, including the US government classifying him as an "Expert at digital photography" in order to grant him a commission to shoot aboard a Navy Submarine. He has more work now than he ever has and is enjoying his job.

QTVR: The Nuts and Bolts

Dennis covered all the aspects of producing Virtual Reality. He showed specific examples. We covered Scenes/Panoramas and Objects. He described the terminology (nodes, objects, panoramas, and others). He covered several specific applications of VR like motion analysis (shooting a VR of a candle burning or of a circuit board installation into a computer). He demonstrated features like Cubic VR (which shows a 360 degree view) available upon the release of QuickTime 5. He briefly covered "skins," soon to be available. He described why QTVRs are superior to streaming video since the observer can scroll back and forth to focus in on a single captured event, instead of restarting a demo. He demonstrated how his business has automated object shoots with specific hardware/software combinations. He peppered his discussions with hints about what settings heis found best in the Apple QT Authoring Software (PhotoJPG format, Medium resolution, 800 pixel high images). He described how to add sound, automate panning to a specific scene, and adding video transition movies to move from one node to another. He talked about 3rd party solutions (both free and commercial) for QTVR tasks.

Dennis photographed and stitched a QTVR of all of us in the audience. He subsequently pasted in a Porsche "object" into the QTVR so the car appeared to "hover" in the shot as he rotated around the room.

Dennis brought a suite of his favorite equipment. Particularly notable was the back (CCD portion) of one of his Contax cameras, which cost him $19,000. He also showed QTVR can be done with a "lowly" CoolPix 990. Whew, QTVR is possible for us "mortals!" grin

The Value Of FireWire

Dennis brought a VST Flash Media Reader and a graphite VST FireWire drive. At one point when he talked about storage hardware he described why he uses a VST FireWire drive exclusively for his large projects. He showed it to everyone in the room, emphasizing how difficult moving 30 GB around from one device to another is, even with a network connection between two computers. He told us that after a QTVR shoot he simply hands his VST drive to an assistant and they begin the remaining work with his photos.

Business Recommendations

Dennis covered specifics about being "in the business" as a photographer and as a QTVR photographer. He discussed how he manages a project, prices jobs, creates storyboards, and provides opportunities for changes in his concepts. He was quite open about how he prices out projects for companies of differing means. His recommendations were interesting and seemed innovative, though Iim not in the business.

Door Prizes

Dennis removed the fear of audience participation by announcing early on that he would "reward" stupid questions from the audience. Whenever someone got tongue-tied asking a question he provided them with an Apple Mug or a roll of toilet paper heid swiped from a local hotel. At the end of the seminar he offered two door prizes: one, a rotating stand for photographing a QTVR object and the other, 3rd party software for stitching QTVRs.

You can find more information on the Seminar at Appleis Web site, including some very cool QuickTime VR movies.

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