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21 May 2024

Use of cinematography techniques significantly increases engagement with VR
BY Liz Terry

VR experiences can be improved by altering continuity

VR experiences can be improved by altering continuity
photo: Shutterstock/ImageFlow

A study has found that the use of cinematic and video editing techniques can drastically increase the aesthetic appeal and user engagement of virtual reality environments.

Computer scientists from The University of Helsinki published the results of their study at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

The research set out to investigate how the cinematic principles of composition and continuity could improve spatial awareness and navigation of VR environments without inducing motion sickness.

"Using these ideas, we developed a new teleportation method for exploring virtual environments that subtly repositions and reorientates the user's viewpoint after teleportation to better frame the contents of the scene," says Alan Medlar, university researcher at the University of Helsinki.

This novel approach to traversing a digital environment is called ACTIVE and using continuity editing techniques adapted for VR, researchers aimed to fix some of the existing problems with the teleportation method, by cutting and repositioning the scene instantaneously.

"The cinematography techniques we used give the designers of virtual environments a way to influence users' attention as they move around the space to affect how they perceive their surroundings," says Medlar.

With the affordability of VR headsets improving and an increase in the use of VR in galleries, museums, theme parks and immersive cinema the research has wide-ranging implications.

Medlar is confident ACTIVE will push things forward for VR designers, saying: "The potential impact of improving navigation in VR and giving designers more tools to affect user experience is huge."

Medlar is co-leader of the Exploratory Search and Personalization (ESP) research group at Helsinki University, with colleague Dorota Glowacka.



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