Announcing Adam Savage's Tested VR!

By Norman Chan

Showcasing the workshops and builds of eight amazing makers!

We're excited to announce the launch of the Tested VR app, launched in partnership with Oculus. Consistent with Tested's mission of showcasing makers, sharing their passions, and telling their stories, we were thrilled to work with Oculus to experiment and explore storytelling workflows for creating VR video. We worked with eight creators to experiment with filming and editing in VR180 to gain a better understanding of VR media production.

From the moment we first put on early VR headsets back in 2013, we've been fascinated with the storytelling potential of this new medium. Whether it's through animated shorts like Oculus' Henry or 360-degree immersive video like Felix and Paul's Cirque du Soleil experiences, we're believers in virtual reality's potential to put users in new places and at the same time, share the stories of artists in a way that flat-screen video can't.

Over the past few years, we've been experimenting with consumer cameras that make it easy to capture video for VR. Our testing of cameras like the Samsung Gear 360, Lenovo Mirage Camera, and Insta 360 EVO let us play with the idea of putting viewers in interesting places, like in our podcast studio or on the dashboard of a car (Carpool Karaoke in stereoscopic 3D is surprisingly awesome!). One place we kept circling back to was Adam's Cave workshop. The cave felt like a perfect place to film VR video--we wanted to see if it would be possible to put a viewer in the cave and watch a One Day Build unfold, as if they were standing across Adam's workbench.

We filmed a pilot episode using a stereoscopic VR camera system with an ambisonic microphone for spatial audio recording; the system was compact and versatile enough to be set up around the shop to follow the pace of a build. We learned a lot of fascinating lessons about VR filmmaking along the way--which Joey will be sharing in an upcoming video--but the resulting footage was undeniably compelling. You really get a sense that you're in the workshop with Adam, hanging out while he's building a new prop.

We've been travelling around the country this past year, visiting the workshops of some of our favorite makers and filming a VR video series showing their workshops, build processes, and what they make. Adam curated a list of makers ranging from effects artists to armor makers, each working in a unique space that is a reflection of their passions.

The result is the Tested VR app, which you can download today for Oculus Quest. Not only do we take you inside Adam's cave for a One Day Build, but we bring you to the shops of stop-motion animator Brett Foxwell, puppet maker Rick Lyon, spacesuit replicator Ryan Nagata, wearable-wing builder Alexis Noriega, armor designer Melissa Ng, creature sculptor Andrew Freeman, and chainsaw sculptor Griffon Ramsey.

Puppet maker Rick Lyon's shop is filled wall-to-wall with artifacts from his storied history working on Avenue Q, which could not be more different than the literal office space used by armor designer Melissa Ng where she conceptualizes and prototypes her wearable gothic-fantasy armor. But both are enthralling places to be transported, and watching these artists share their passion and ingenuity is nothing short of inspiring. We want to thank each of these makers for welcoming us into their spaces and their generosity in sharing their processes.

So strap on a headset and check out the Tested VR app and video series. We'd love to know what you think, and hope you enjoy it as much as we have!