Technology

Virtual Raasta: An era of endless possibilities

Nikhilesh Adiyala, Pramod Surya Makkenna, Sathya Swaroop, Pranaynadh Kollipara, Kirtana Mazumdar, Prem Kumar Vislawath, Naren Datta Raparthi  

Heading towards the future, the ideal way to communicate is to show more than to speak. The team at Virtual Raasta, among the handful of startups working in the Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented reality (AR) and 360-degree sector, equate communication to storytelling. The startup was the telecast partner for Rangasthalam’s pre-release event recently, only the second time in Telugu films after Baahubali to have adopted a 360-degree experience that captures the true colour of the aura, audience buzz in a big-scale event. This is only the tip of the iceberg, team Virtual Raasta insists, who’re into producing unique VR content that promises to change the face of politics, tourism, education and even spirituality.

Virtual Raasta at BioAsia 2018

Virtual Raasta at BioAsia 2018  

Having begun as a team of two in 2012, Prem Kumar and Sai Kumar brought their act together as content creators helping corporates, startups and government in producing explanatory videos, ad films to name a few. Their contact-base led them to a lot of offers to do events and conferences, the unique interactive quality to their content helped their cause. The team says, “It was in 2016 that many had begun asking us to come up with more interactive content in the lines of VR/AR. We’re a 52-member team now comprising writers, filmmakers cinematographers, animators, software engineers. There are a lot of companies that do games/software but we generate unique VR content; this helps many reach out to us.”

At Rangasthalam pre-release launch

At Rangasthalam pre-release launch  

Their clientele and event scale ranges from GES to Sensation to events hosted by ISB, PwC, Governments of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and India. A lot of their work lies in educating clients, show them case studies and give them a first-hand experience of the difference VR can make. “Since corporates don’t have much time in their hand, VR turned out to be an effective tool. The producers of Rangasthalam too felt it was a new perspective. The event was attended by over 2-3 lakh people. The camera was placed on the stage, and when Chiranjeevi spoke, one not only saw him, but also the crowd, the lights, the hungama, VR is the only medium that could capture its true essence.” They’d worked extensively with the stage design, only on one camera and went live for three hours. They had backup wires to ensure there is no interruption to the stream at R K Beach, Vizag.

Films are an easier way to reach out to people with AR/VR content, help them immerse into the process, they feel. Among other VR related projects they had done recently, are a political campaign of H K Patil showcasing how he’d transformed a district Gadag over five years. Handling photography at remote locations with little connectivity was tough, but team Virtual Raasta was upto it. Other interesting projects they’d taken up include the flower ceremony at ISCKON, Mumbai, T-Hub, IKEA store in Forum Mall, Sri Krishna Math in Udipi.

Virtual Raasta’s work at ISCKON

Virtual Raasta’s work at ISCKON  

For devotional aspect, respecting tradition and ensuring content is a tough balance to achieve. For instance in Udipi in a temple only lit by diyas, they weren’t allowed to use a cable for extra light. “We are adapting to those situations. It was a good journey this year for us, cracking new projects and spaces. VR has existed since eight years, but as a storytelling tool, the grammar is new enough. For 2D films, people are more or less acclimatised with its jargon and methods.”

The boon they say is the kind of stories they can tell with the medium, that there is no rule/grammar yet, it’s interesting about the possibilities it can lead you too. “With more interactive experiences, you needn’t go to stores and check malls, devotional activities and yet interact with people. It’s more than what we presume it to be, there’s a lot to do ahead.”

Next on their target-list is a product VR live, that’ll enable 360-degree experiences to events and share content across multiple social networking sites at once. “That’s our main focus now. The vision that drove us together is to disrupt the market, to engage people better. Every time we interact with the client, we ask them how do they want to see this five years down the line, this is the future.”

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 3:30:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/virtual-raasta-an-era-of-endless-possibilities/article23413694.ece

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