Taipei 360

A couple of smaller projects aside, my main VR project has been Taipei 360. Focusing on offering an interactive tourism experience of Taiwan’s capital, it is filmed in monoscopic 360° video, at 5760 x 2880. With over 50 scenes shot in 14 different locations, the idea is to showcase the city’s varied scenery, ranging from traditional religious parades and temples to the ultra-modern business district Xinyi.

Memorials for historical figures  such as Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen are also represented in the full feature, as are natural scenery from tourist hotspots Xiangshan and Xinbeitou Thermal Valley.

With the project having been built for as many as three different platforms, none have managed to combine high quality with actual availability. A now-defunct Swedish VR distribution platform commissioned the project, with delivery in 4096 x 2048 resolution, or just about half the resolution of the source material.

It has also been uploaded to the VR content platform VeeR, with very much the same set of issues — abysmal resolution and bitrate. Lastly, a stand-alone application has been built in the game engine Unity, at full resolution and quality, with the downside of it being impossible to distribute due to its massive file size.

Below is yet another interactive version, demonstrating a part of the project as well as the 360° format’s strengths.  This time, it’s a still image web format, set at Taipei’s Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Click and drag to pan, click hot spots to teleport to other locations. As of January 2021, the hotspots appear to have shifted roughly 90 degrees for some reason.

Lastly, a flattened trailer of the project can be found below. While being representative of the image quality when user wears a higher-end VR headset, it is not a 360° video, but rather uses reframed 360° material for a 1080P preview, showcasing the project’s various locations.

With the current world situation featuring things such as travel bans, visiting Taiwan and Taipei isn’t for everyone — Taipei 360 is therefore the next best thing.

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