When starting out this project, I was quite surprised at the number of theaters located within downtown Los Angeles. Many of these locations are boarded off or generally inaccessible to the public, so it is hard to spread awareness for them. I thought this would be a really cool opportunity to explore making something in virtual reality. However, I did not know the means to go about this. I talked about this interest with Deidre and Anthony, and that’s when they guided me to photogrammetry and the PhotoScan software. Using PhotoScan, we could build 3D models using a compilation of 2D images. From here, we can import the models into VR and look around using various headsets like Google Cardboard or an HTC Vive.
At first, the software was pretty daunting to use, and there were a lot of models that ended up looking nothing like the original material. With some time and practice, the models started getting better. I learned new tricks and tips from Anthony and Deidre, like experimenting with the focal length, as well as grouping the shots together in the software when panning around. The end goal of the project was to get into the Los Angeles Theater and perform photogrammetry to construct a model. Unfortunately, we were not able to get into it by the end of the quarter, but I am hopeful we can do it sometime soon. In the meantime, we got into Royce Hall at UCLA, which has similar dimensions to the LA Theater. Below are the reconstructions of Royce from PhotoScan.
I had a lot of fun with this project and even got my own copy of the PhotoScan software. I learned a new technique as well as more about the history of Los Angeles. I’m excited to hopefully get into the L.A. Theater soon and look forward to doing more photogrammetry.
Thanks to Deidre and Anthony for all the guidance and mentorship.