Virtual Reality and 360˚ Video are no the longer experimental pastimes or fringe gaming categories that they once were. More and more, they’re becoming the immersive and participation-based solution for global businesses who want to convey their approach and practices to an engaged audience. That’s why Tenaris, a global leader in the energy industry, approached Revelator about creating a VR project to help craft a 360˚ view of their Rig Direct™ services. (Adjust the “HD” viewer settings above, if you’d like to watch in 2K or higher!)
Rig Direct™ offers an array of expert services to support Tenaris customers in well design and construction. We were excited about the opportunity to help showcase Tenaris facilities in Veracruz, Mexico, West Texas, and Bay City, Texas. It was the ideal model for a brand that creates real-world construction solutions, with industrial operations in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.
We also knew working with such an accomplished organization like Tenaris was going to be a really rewarding experience. Tenaris is a leading supplier for the world’s energy industry and other industrial applications. Their mission is to deliver value through product development, manufacturing excellence, and supply chain management. Tenaris customers include most of the world’s leading energy companies, so we knew conveying their process had to be a specific and thorough explanation. We think the finished product accomplishes just that, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it.
Our production plan included location scouts to Tenaris facilities and in-depth research about facility operations, as well as the Rig Direct™ services. We also chose to shoot the project on the GoPro Omni 360° camera. We really love the camera, which shoots immersive 360 by 360 video, with an effective resolution over 8K. We also worked with the Tenaris team to incorporate vintage footage of Tenaris operations into the VR project, to make sure we articulated the years of Tenaris experience and company history.
Capturing the specifics of the Rig Direct™ services, and different Tenaris facilities around the globe was a major goal. Because the Tenaris covers everything from string design and material selection to running assistance, we needed to immerse the viewer in all of the details of the services. Executing the shoot with the Omni rig required careful planning of where the “seams” of the separate individual camera sensors would be placed to ensure that we had an image that looked absolutely perfect when stitched together. To facilitate this level of accuracy our location scout was absolutely essential.
During the scout we used a Samsung Gear 360 camera (which stitches and generates 360 images almost immediately, at the expense of commercial level fidelity) and were able to decide the ideal positioning of the Omni rig. This was invaluable as it allowed us to “pre-viz” our location work with the Omni which meant that on the day of filming we knew exactly where and how to place the rig. In an open worksite like this, being able to move quickly and capture what we needed while surrounded by heavy machinery, massive trucks carrying tons of pipes and the unpredictable nature of west Texas weather (dust storms!) was critical.
Stitching was handled by Kolor’s AutoPano Suite. Which takes each of the 6 camera feeds provided by the Omni rig and finds the like pixels from the all four edges of all 6 cameras and identifies where the overlap between the images exist. Those points are then “stitched” together to create a single spherical image that becomes the 360 video asset. After stitching all of our shots we moved onto editorial, handled in Adobe Premiere which has the ability to live-view 360 content during editing when a VR headset is plugged into the workstation.
To realize Tenaris’ request of a way to display their vintage, traditionally filmed footage we injected that video in it’s original rectangular format, surround by an elegantly designed motion graphics frame into the 360 video itself in two spots 180 degrees opposite of one another. We repeated this dual orientation with all of the motion graphics in the piece as well. This allowed for the viewer to always see when a PIP segment, or a motion graphic cue was presented and not miss any moment of detail or information on screen no matter where they happened to be looking.
After the edit was finished a simple cleanup pass took place using Adobe After Effects and Photoshop to correct any errant pixels, paint out stands and other unwanted elements or correct image ghosting that occurs sometimes on moving objects after the 360 video has been stitched. The finished project was then colored in DaVinci Resolve and delivered at the current 4K export spec to the client along with an additional file that served as archival quality whose resolution was future proofed for eventual changes in display resolution.
The overall strategy was to create a unique piece that creatively stands on its own, serves as an “inside look” at the operations, and showcases the new state-of-the-art Tenaris facilities. We think the project was a flying success and we can’t wait to share more immersive VR experiences with you soon.