Video360Production, a small innovative enterprise from ITMO University, has already completed several major projects that resulted from collaboration with large companies (Samsung Russia), museums and theaters (a collaborative project with the State Hermitage, as well as projects with Mariinsky and Alexandrovskiy theaters), and famous musicians (including bands like Piknik, Leningrad and others). Starting with 2015, Video360Production has been developing its own unique cameras for filming 360-degree videos. What's more, the team also developed their own software that they have already patented. With time, these projects grew into a small innovative enterprise that now films 360-degree videos for different customers. Their latest customer was the Crimean government that asked the team to film the construction process of several projects in Crimea.
"There's quite a demand for 360-degree videos, as it's a great way to demonstrate something with participation effect," shares Denis Stolyarov, Video360Production’s head.
Video360Production in Crimea
How to make an ideal video
According to Mr. Stolyarov, the filming of Crimean construction sites was quite a challenge: they planned to use a high-quality quadcopter that was to film the sites from above in high resolution. Such filming implies the use of special methods and equipment. There are many different types of quadcopters, some are quite advanced, yet there is something one has to consider when filming from a quadcopter - the camera needs to be stabilized. Stabilizing a camera for 360-degrees filming is a really complex task, as there aren't any solutions one can buy on the market. 360-degree videos are a relatively new field, which means that such elements are to be custom-made.
"We have a stabilizer of our own, but this time we've used one made by one guy from Tver, who is a really talented person. Last year, he made a really good stabilizer which was great for filming sites in Crimea" commented Denis Stolyarov.
The stabilizer was fixed on the quadcopter, and thus the set-up was ready to do the filming. According to the team, it was thanks to this element that the video they created was of great quality, with good colors and almost no picture noises.
The video by Video360Production is not the first project that shows the new sites that are being constructed in Crimea. Russia Today has already released a video about the Kerch Strait Bridge in 360-degree format; yet, the new project by Video360Production is different. RT's team made better infographics, while Video360Production focused more on the video's quality.
Video360Production in Crimea
What was most difficult?
According to the project's head, it was the deadlines. The team had to film everything and add infographics in just four days, and make a preview by April, 19.
"We had to make everything ready by the start of the forum. Thus, we were to film the four sites in just one day. We couldn't afford to spend even a day more on filming, as we had to edit what we filmed, and there were some problems with getting permissions to film the sites - each was given after we finished the previous one. The last site - the power plant - is a restricted access facility, so we got the permission on Wednesday evening, and the next day we were to start filming in Simferopol. Thus, the deadlines were really extreme" shares Denis Stolyarov.
Also, we had to thoroughly plan the logistics: arrive early in the morning, quickly start filming and pay attention to when the sun sets, as there's no point in filming in the dark. The sites were far from each other, and that made planning even more difficult.
"To sum up, the most difficult part was organizing the whole process so as to meet strict deadlines. We succeeded because we prepared really well for that. We gathered information on each of the sites, images, plans and such, planned the routes for the quadcopter beforehand, calculated the time they will take and when and where will we have to charge the devices. We planned the procedure in such detail that we knew what we'll be doing every minute. Of course, we requested a car with a driver, as we couldn't do everything on our own. As result, we achieved high quality with all of the videos. Thus, this is what was most difficult - meeting the deadlines and organizing everything for that," explains Mr. Stolyarov.
What is the point of using VR in construction?
One of the projects we develop at our Small Innovative Enterprise is introducing VR and AR technologies in the construction field.
"We have a partner company in Berlin, INNOTECH, they do consulting in the construction field. They closely cooperate with us on creating a common platform for supporting the construction process during the four main construction stages: design, construction, maintenance and completion," comments Dmitriy Stolyarov.
How can VR and AR technologies be applied in the construction field? There are lots of ways they can be used, believes Mr. Stolyarov. For instance, everyone remembers the construction of Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg. There were many arguments on how will it change the cityscape and its looks. By using VR technologies, it would have been possible to create a 3D model so that any person could see how the building will look from every side. As of now, Video360Production and INNOTECH are discussing a collaboration project on creating a complex system which will combine both AR and VR technologies for use in the field of construction.
New airport in Simferopol
Another application of VR technologies has to do with maintenance: a specialist in an AR headset will be able to "see" where electric cables and such go through walls, and thus easily access them by drilling holes in particular locations.
You can watch the videos of Crimean construction sites here.