“Immersive Paleoart: Reconstructing Dreadnoughtus schrani and Remediating the Science Documentary for Cinematic Virtual Reality”
ABSTRACT: This thesis is a synthesis of digital paleoart reconstruction, prototype VR pipeline design, and the adaptation of structural narrative principles for immersive media. We approach common issues associated with the accurate portrayal of dinosaurs in media, Cinematic Virtual Reality (CVR) production, and the direction of viewer attention in immersive digital environments. After developing and testing a stable CVR workflow, we design and produce a piece of scientific VR Paleoart content intended for educational outreach. Our production methods include a highly detailed CGI dinosaur reconstruction informed by comparative anatomy and biomechanical simulation, stereoscopic spherical rendering, and immersive film production. Our approach is validated through the completion of a CVR documentary about the titanosaur Dreadnoughtus schrani, one of the largest dinosaurs yet discovered. This documentary, starring paleontologist Dr. Ken Lacovara, will be made publicly available for all common VR distribution platforms through a partnership with JauntVR. Our goal is to deliver immersive scientific content to a wide audience of smartphone owners, taking advantage of accessible VR technology to establish new precedents for educational media.
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