Educators in VR hosts over 600 public and private events annually in VR typically on AltspaceVR, ENGAGE VR, Mozilla Hubs, and many other VR platforms. Most of these events are filmed by volunteers eager to expand their skill set, test the waters, and support Educators in VR. If you would like to volunteer to help us film our events, please sign up through our Volunteer Form.
We offer introductory training sessions and paid workshops on filming techniques in VR including 3D and 360 filming and live streaming through the EDVR Institute. We have hundreds of event videos and tutorials on our Educators in VR YouTube Channel.
We are currently looking to expand our video volunteers team and offering weekly introductions and event support training for video filming. Our next events are in AltspaceVR on Wednesdays April 21 and April 28, 2021.
Learning to video record and live stream in virtual reality not only expands your skill set but is essential for recording tutorials for classes and recording the classes including student presentations. For many, it’s part of their creative expression and experience. For others, it’s a way to support Educators in VR while attending the event.
Please remember that when you film and record anyone or any time in virtual reality public and private platforms, virtual worlds, and spaces, you inform the people you are filming and the owners of the virtual worlds and content. The following are articles related to filming permissions as they vary from platform to platform and country to country. The laws associated with filming in the real world apply to the virtual. We’re only including international law references here. Check with the platform’s terms of service for allowing recordings for their specifics.
- Country specific consent requirements – Wikimedia Commons
- When Filming Abroad, Consider the Laws – International Documentary Association
- The Basics of Getting Permission – Copyright Overview by Rich Stim – Stanford Copyright and Fair Use Center
What You Need to Know First
Filming in VR for Educators in VR and educational purposes is different from filming in the real world and filming you might do with gaming as a first person experience. Here are some things you need to know right from the start.
- You will need a second platform account.
- Filming is best in 2D desktop or laptop with more than the minimum required specifications for that platform.
- Have stable, high speed Internet.
- Have a Google account for document and file sharing.
- Be willing to change your avatar.
- Have familiarity with video recording in general.
- Be patient, tolerant, and have a heart of service.
Second VR Platform Account
A second account on the VR platform is essential as you need an account that literally has no friends, thus no distractions from messages.
We recommend strongly that the account feature a username with Camera or Bot in the name such as Camera-Person or Camera Bot. This alerts others that this is technically not a person.
We also recommend that the account’s avatar be as non-descript as possible, blending into the virtual scene and audience. In general, monochromatic colors in skin, hair, and clothing helps. All black is good for dimly lit events and gray to light tones are good for general events. Some VR platforms have specific optional avatars for camera accounts. These are usually cameras, video cams, or drones. If they do, use it. The AltpaceVR Jimmy Cam continues to be listed in the settings but it currently does not work properly. We are hoping this will be resolved in a future update.
While some event hosts and producers want the camera to stand out and be obvious, most of the Educators in VR events place the camera bot for the best perspective close to the stage, thus in a potential location to become a distraction from the event and stage activities.
When volunteering to support Educators in VR events or any VR events when filming, ensure the host and production team has the username for your second VR account to ensure you are added to the event with the right permissions. The permissions typically are moderator or a level that will allow you early access and flight.
2D Desktop/Laptop Access
While you may enjoy using your VR headset for filming, better quality and controls are available on most VR platforms in 2D for desktop or laptop.
A two-button and scroll-wheel enabled mouse is required and a quality USB gaming headphones and mic is recommended.
With 2D access, you may use the keyboard shortcuts to remove menus on some platforms and navigate with the keyboard for easier controls for filming. For example, with smooth turning and slow turning speeds enabled in AltspaceVR, the mouse scroll wheel allows for easy zooming in and out.
The following are the most popular VR social platforms used by Educators in VR and their 2D navigation and keyboard shortcut guides.
- AltspaceVR: Controlling avatars with Mouse/Keyboard in 2D PC Mode and keyboard shortcuts.
- ENGAGE VR: Video tutorial guides.
- Mozilla Hubs: Getting Started with Hubs and keyboard Spoke Controls.
- VirBELA: How to Control Your Avatar.
As we use AltspaceVR for many of our events, we recommend that you go to Settings > Input > Enable Classic PC Controls and use a few of the keyboard shortcuts we use when filming.
- CTRL/CMD+ALT+P – Clears the menu from the interface. Escape or the same keyboard combination restores it.
- Right Click hold – allows for positioning the “head” of the avatar by mouse movement. Release to fix the position.
- Right Click+Scroll Wheel – Zooms the screen in and out.
- Spacebar – Mute.
Filming Positions and Movement
When positioning your avatar for filming in the event, placement is in a designated position or near the stage in the center or just off-sides to allow inclusion of the audience. When possible, the camera should be positioned at a right angle to the speakers, stage, and presentation materials, or slightly above at about 10-20% angle.
In general, cameras tend to stay in one place and zoom in or out as needed, possibly moving during the Question and Answer parts of an event to ensure the person asking the question is captured on film.
If the event host and production team requests the camera move around for different perspectives, take care to move in a way that is not distracting to the event or position the avatar in a manner that blocks the audience view of the presentation or speakers.
If flight is enabled, the camera has the ability to fly and move in the air. If positioning the camera in the audience, ensure it is back far enough to allow people to move in front and not blocking anyone’s view. When moving, keep the movement slow and natural or quickly teleport into position with intention.
Sometimes an avatar will move into a position to block the camera. Avoid removing them yourself as that brings up a reporting menu. Allow the moderators to take action. If necessary, message them on a separate account or on Discord where we often host voice chats during a large event.
There are two ways to record the desktop screen for video. The first is through screen capture tools, apps, and software such as Xbox, Snagit, CyberLink Screen Recorder, or Camtasia. It is also possible to screen record with PowerPoint and other programs, but these tend to generate huge file sizes and not always the resolution quality that matches.
The second and most common, and affordable, method is to use OBS (Open Broadcaster Software). It is free, has cross-platform OS support, offers high resolution recording and live stream, is open source, and has great integration with YouTube, Twitch, and many other video hosting and live streaming platforms.
In general, you will set up your OBS system after being provided with a stream key, stream URL, backup server URL and the video link where the end result will be watched or stored by the event productions team. These will be added to the settings in OBS.
Before an event, the camera account is added to the event with the user permissions to allow early access and possibly flight. Once added, you are able to enter the event space in advance to practice and get a feel for the space.
- Arrive a minimum of 15 minutes prior to the event for setup and testing.
- Check in with the event host and moderators. They may introduce you to the speaker, but not always. If they are in the middle of a discussion or preparation, simply take your place and message the event host to alert them to your presence.
- If you are working with a team, check in with them to ensure everyone knows their positions and responsibilities during the event. Some event hosts with multiple cameras position one to be fixed in the center, another off-side, and another moving to various positions. We offer training on multiple camera filming through the EDVR Institute.
- Turn on flight if enabled and position yourself to film.
- Clear the screen. Enable or disable captions and speech bubbles if the platform features these. Check with the event host or production team to see if they would like these enabled.
- Stay muted throughout the event.
- Do a test recording. Ensure that the recording is set to only record audio from the screen and not open audio in your home or office or the live microphone. Test the audio as well as the visuals.
- At the appointed time as announced by the event host, begin recording. Avoid recording prior to the event as this may pick up personal conversations from an audience not yet alerted to the fact that they are being recorded. The event host will usually provide a warning of 30 seconds to one minute for the audience and film crew to begin. Please be aware that the starting time may adjust at last minute due to audience arrival or technical issues.
- Stay as stationary as possible during the presentation, moving only to highlight Q&A unless otherwise instructed.
- Stop filming when the host stops or the agreed upon ending point. Some events do not record the Q&A or will allow filming after the event is technically over when the audience is interacting with the event hosts and speakers. Discuss this in advance with the event host.
- After the event, save the file immediately and check it.
- Rename the file to the event name, speaker name, date, etc., as set by the production team or host.
- Upload file as directed. Keep a backup copy of the file for at least a week or until confirmed that it is safely uploaded to YouTube or the specific file storage service. Share the link to the YouTube video or storage location with the production team or event host.
We hope this introductory overview of how to film in VR and record VR is helpful. Remember, if you would like to volunteer as a camera and filmer for Educators in VR, sign up with our Volunteer Form. Check out our AltspaceVR events schedule for the next free video training session, and our workshops in the EDVR Institute. And subscribe to our Educators in VR YouTube Channel to see how we do it.