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by IAN HAMILTON • MAY 3RD, 2016

FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO RECORD OR STREAM MIXED REALITY FOOTAGE WITH THE HTC VIVE

A mixed reality video is one of the coolest ways to show people what a virtual environment feels like. A green screen makes it easy for a VR-ready PC to automatically remove everything from a camera’s feed, except for your body movements.  Those movements are then seamlessly combined with a view from another camera in a virtual environment. As long as the two cameras are synced, you can seamlessly combine views of two realities into a single video. In essence, mixed reality capture is doing what Hollywood or your weatherman has been doing for years, except at a fraction of the cost and in real-time.

The end result is almost magical.

We’ve been following the evolution of mixed reality videos closely. Colin and Sarah Northway, as well as their partners at Radial Games, are helping popularize the method of capture while building their puzzle game Fantastic Contraption for the HTC Vive. Valve, creator of the SteamVR software which powers the Vive walk-around VR platform, saw the value in the mixed reality technology and used it to create a Unity plug-in that would allow a lot of developers to activate the feature in other VR games.  The Bellevue, Washington-based company ultimately used the approach to create the above mixed reality trailer.

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I basically followed instructions outlined by the Northways, and went down their shopping list. In the process, I proved the concept works and that even people with no practical coding experience can do this at home for less than $400. It’s not perfect of course, but it’s good enough that I should be able to show people what VR experiences are like in a much more compelling way than with writing or a traditional video capture.


Step 1: Mixed Reality Shopping List And Overview

The first thing you’ll need is the equipment to capture mixed reality. In addition to the above items, you’ll need a VR-Ready PC and an HTC Vive. Of the above equipment, I bought the Handycam and the HDMI capture card first to simply prove it could work using a $15 green carpet from Home Depot as the backdrop. I bought the green screen and extension cords later after realizing I needed them.

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