Photogrammetry: An intro to XR

In my last blog post, I spoke to Democratizing XR’s founder, Henry Keyser, on eXtended reality’s ability to generate an emotional connection between the viewer and the subject. It’s invaluable for social impact teams, and if you haven’t read the post – check it out here

Henry explained that the likes of Google and Apple have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on XR.  However, he’s pushing for people from all walks of life to become pioneers of this tech. 

In this part of our interview, he walked me through how small and medium-sized teams can get started. And the first step is using photogrammetry. 

But before we do… 

Just remember that XR tools are included in many social media platforms including Instagram, Tik Tok, and Snapchat. Their augmented reality filters can easily be applied to photos and videos. New AR filters are added to these apps daily; and chances are the software has its own tutorial on YouTube.

Now gain more XR experience

When using XR for the first time to tell a story, Henry advises starting at the “finger painting stage.”

That means creating a photogrammetry project. 

For our purposes, photogrammetry takes a whole lot of still images of an object and recreates them into a moveable, 3-D model. It can be done with a professional camera or even a drone. 

But for the first-timers among us, here’s a handy guide on “Getting Started with Photogrammetry Using Your Cell Phone.” Get ready to pull out some sneakers.

More than just 3-D footwear

So, now you can make a digital model of your favorite pair of Air Jordans. Time to apply that knowledge to social impact causes. Henry recommends getting ideas from this Guide to Photogrammetry Photography. It includes a list of recent journalism projects, which successfully used XR in a way that wasn’t just properly executed but also made sense to tell a story. 

For instance, Time made this AR experience to show how the Amazon rainforest is dying; the BBC brought us inside an underground network of tunnels made by ISIS; and the New York Times gave us a retrospective on David Bowie’s most ‘groundbreaking’ outfits. 

Need more? Watch Henry’s tutorial…

Henry has created this nine-part  XR Editorial Beginner Training Series by Yahoo! The program moves step-by-step through the skills and challenges of creating a first-time project. It teaches key industry terms and storytelling concepts, and establishes a skill set for using software like Blender, and platforms such as Sketchfab

Still Need Help (and who doesn’t?)

Here at the TaraTW Visual Storytelling Agency, we help NGOs and social impact organizations tell stories visually, especially when visuals don’t exist. We can help if you have any questions about XR – whether technical or in terms of narrative. Feel free to also drop me a note below if there are other XR projects that we should feature.

Tags: photogrammetry, xr

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