InstaVR Interviews: Meet the VR Practitioners
InstaVR Interviews is a blog series where we turn the spotlight on our customers. We find out why they create VR, how they use InstaVR, and what the future of VR will look like.
To read more interviews, visit the InstaVR Interviews homepage.
Tim Doherty , Digital Manager at Zimmer Biomet Dental
Zimmer Biomet Holdings is a Fortune 500 company based in Warsaw, Indiana that employs over 18,000 people worldwide. Zimmer Biomet Dental, born of the merger between Zimmer Dental and Biomet 3i, is one of the largest dental implant companies in the United States. In addition to dental technology, the Florida-based division also leads over 1,200 professional medical education courses each year, and operates training institutes worldwide.
Tim Doherty is a Digital Manager at Zimmer Biomet Dental. His background includes being a 3D Animator at Southern California media companies including Disney, PBS, and NBC. At Zimmer Biomet, his responsibilities span all of digital media creation, including video, animation, and VR.
Tim Doherty begins career in Los Angeles as an award-winning 3D animator, before being recruited to run the digital production of Biomet 3i, precursor company to Zimmer Biomet Dental
Question: Can you tell us a bit about your background? What you do for Zimmer Biomet Dental?
I’ve been doing 3D animation for probably 25 years. Mostly focused on product and scientific or medical animation. I did a lot of work previously for PBS, over 100 shows for them, winning two Emmy awards. I did work for NBC, as a Consultant for “The Tonight Show”. I did work for Disney. But most of my work has been medical or scientific or product related.
12 years ago I was recruited by a company called Biomet 3i. They’ve since merged and become Zimmer Biomet. I was recruited by them to handle all of their digital production. This includes video, animation, animations explaining how their products work, benefits of their products — things like that.
Zimmer Biomet is one of the largest orthopedic companies in the world. Here in Palm Beach Gardens where I work, we focus on the dental side of the business. That’s what Biomet 3i was focused on, dental implants, and all of the products that surround dental implants.
Zimmer Biomet Dental purchases first commercially available Rifts, initially designing tours of their education institutes to showcase at a large trade show
Question: What are the 3D softwares that you work with? And how did you first decide to use VR in your job?
When I came to work here, they had inhouse an older package, LightWave 3D. Which I knew well from my years in Southern California. I still use LightWave 3D, I use Cinema 4D, I use Eyeon Fusion, I use Nuke, I use Adobe Premiere. Those are the main tools I use for my 3D work.
I’ve been following the development of VR for years, since Oculus first started work on their early systems. I’ve been intrigued by new technology that comes out, particularly those that are captivating and engrossing like Virtual Reality. So I’ve been following it for some time. When we had our largest trade show of the year approaching, the full consumer version of Oculus Rift was coming out. I had one on order for some time, I was intrigued by it, and was able to get a couple systems ordered as soon as it was released.
One of our company’s differentiators are that we have these large education institutes, both around the country and around the world. They’re unique with proprietary simulation labs for doing dental procedures. We wanted to showcase that at the trade show that was coming up. I thought what better way to do it, than to invite people to step into one these institutes, take a virtual tour of it at the trade show.
Their first VR app, developed a few years ago, utilized stitched images from a standard camera combined with 3D elements
Question: How did you go about creating that first VR app?
I had previously shot video of the institutes, but this immersive way for them to experience that was something that video could never replicate. That was my initial foray into VR, and it was very popular. We set up the Oculus Rift systems and invited people to step into our flagship institute, located in Parsippany, New Jersey. They could tour it in 360.
The different rooms in the institute were shot on camera, and stitched together seamlessly, to create a 360. At that time it wasn’t done with a VR camera. It was all very new to me, and I was figuring out things as we were going along. I stitched everything together to make VRs of the rooms, and then I brought that into my 3D program, and added 3D elements — like text that would type on the screen or videos that would open up showing procedures taking place in the room.
So that was the tour of the institute we did. And that was the first VR project that we did inhouse.
For latest trade show, Doherty upgrades to using Vuze 3D 360 Camera for filming video, and turns to InstaVR with a tight deadline to publish Oculus Rift application
Question: You used InstaVR to create the Oculus app for the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) show in September. Can you tell us more about how that came to fruition?
One of the things our company does is a proprietary patented procedure for shortening the number of steps and parts when a doctor or oral surgeon puts in a dental implant, and then has to restore it with a crown on top of that implant. We have a patented product that can simplify that. We were looking at how we could best convey the benefits and time savings of using this product.
I had gotten a Vuze 3D 360 camera. With a very short time frame, we decided we would film in our institute the different ways you could restore an implant — the traditional way, and two different ways you could with our proprietary system. Because we wanted a clinician to experience it as if they were there, sitting with the doctor doing the procedure. They could see how quick it was compared with the traditional way.
So we went up and filmed these three procedures. I brought the footage back, and edited together in a really tight time frame. And then I had to put together an Oculus Rift module to take with us to the trade show. I literally only had a few days and that’s when I turned to InstaVR.
Doherty uses InstaVR to create a visually compelling menu, allowing users at AAP trade show to easily select between the three dental implant procedures, and return to that main menu area
Question: Can you talk about how specifically you used InstaVR in the authoring process?
I think InstaVR is great because it simplifies everything I have to do. It allowed me to package it all together, add interactivity. I shot using the Vuze camera an opening segment in our facility here, and then that launches into an abstract room where we had menu items where people could pick which of the three procedures they wanted to see. And then picking those, they would go watch them and be able to see the relative time difference between doing the three procedures. Using the menus overlaid on the 3D 360 videos, they could go back and pick another procedure.
In this case, I didn’t use hotspots because we just wanted them to watch the procedures. I added some text elements describing what they were seeing as it was taking place. But hotspots weren’t needed for calling out items, as they were watching the whole event.
We didn’t want to have people have to figure things out. At the beginning, we shot a video with one of our program managers saying, “Just look at the icons to go where you want to go.” And that’s all the instructions they needed. We wanted to keep it that simple.
Doherty is able to rapidly go from footage to completed Rift app using InstaVR in a tight time frame; “I wouldn’t have been able to get it done without InstaVR”
Question: You mentioned you had a tight window to get this project completed before the AAP trade show. Can you explain how InstaVR helped in that process?
I brought the images back, cut the video, showed my colleagues. From the time I had the video cut for them in final form before putting the VR together, I think we had probably four or five days until the trade show. It was really really tight.
I had to do a couple tests with it. I uploaded all of the footage into InstaVR. And then made a couple tests, so the icons would look correct in VR. What was great was that I was able to upload the material, make tweaks, and then publish right away, with a file that I could then download and put on my Oculus Rift to view right away.
I didn’t have to worry about creating things in Unity and figuring out how to publish to the Oculus Rift. It was all very simple and easy to do. I wouldn’t have been able to get it done without InstaVR. I wouldn’t have been able to make the deadline for that trade show.
Zimmer Biomet Dental plans to film additional VR scenes for future InstaVR-generated applications, including with live patients
Question: What are your plans going forward in terms of VR?
All of the videos I shot were at our institute using simulation models, these mannequins we have. But we plan to go back and re-shoot with a live patient. When we put that together, hopefully I’ll have a little more time. But whether I do or not, I plan to use InstaVR again to assemble that package. It simplifies everything so much. I can focus on creating the material, rather than publishing the material.
Thank you to Tim Doherty and Zimmer Biomet Dental for using InstaVR to create their Oculus Rift application!