How a first year design student helped to create the Kokoda VR experience

Kokoda Torrens student

Today we sit down with Adelaide-based Bachelor of Media Design student, Lauren Anderson about her involvement in creating the Kokoda VR experience.

She shares with her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved in a project that not only was inspirational from a design and VR perspective but allowed her to help bring to life a piece of Australian modern history, all in 3D. Lauren considers herself extremely lucky to have been included in the Kokoda Virtual Reality ABC and Torrens University collaboration, as one of the participating students that was involved on the ground in Papua New Guinea. We can’t help but agree!

How were you chosen for this assignment?

I was chosen for this experience via a written application. It immediately interested me when it was first proposed by our lecturer James Calvert, as I had never travelled to PNG and I believed it would be a unique opportunity (as it turned out to be!). I also have family that was involved in the battle and it was a humbling experience to be able to encounter the trail first hand.

“I have family that were involved in the battle and it was a humbling experience to be able to encounter the trail first hand”.

What interested you most about it?

Originally my interest was to experience the culture and history of the trail but as we got closer to the date the process of photogrammetry became more and more intriguing and I could see how valuable this could become to my career as a media designer. Learning the techniques of photogrammetry from Luke was invaluable and critical! We did many test shots around Adelaide, particularly in the Botanic Gardens (in the freezing wet middle of winter) and were quite involved in the preparation for the trip.

kokokdaWhat role did you play in the project?

Once in PNG, my main role was to do the photogrammetry. It involved hiking the trail and taking thousands of photographs. I have never taken so many photographs of one rock in my life… and I doubt I ever will again! Once shot we were tasked with small editing and storage tasks.

What was your favourite part of the trip?

The best part of the trip was chatting to and learning about Matt and Luke from the ABC…often over SP beers (the local drop) after long hot sweaty days! Their roles, experiences and knowledge was fascinating and their dedication to the project was awe-inspiring. Looking at the photographs and seeing the first VR imagery starting to come to life was incredibly rewarding.

“My main role was to do the photogrammetry. It involved hiking the trail and taking thousands of photographs. I have never taken so many photographs of one rock in my life and I doubt I ever will again!”

What was most challenging during the filming?

The biggest learning curve was trying to find the balance between university work being due whilst being overseas in a country with very poor internet service! I found once I got back to reality I had missed some crucial lectures so getting back into the swing of things was a bit of a curveball.

Was it worth it?

Yes! Nevertheless, it was entirely worth it and I am very grateful to both the university and the ABC for the opportunity.

 

Read more about the Kokoda VR experience on ABC’s website. Learn more about our design courses we offer at Billy Blue College of Design and Media Design School.