The Future is Now: VR and Video Marketing
January 16, 2017
It’s a new year- the perfect time to ask what’s coming in the year ahead. Some of our clients have been asking “Should we use VR in our next video?” Excellent question! But let’s go back a little to understand what VR is, and what it can and can’t do.
For Starters: What is VR?
For those who aren’t in the know, VR, short for Virtual Reality combines computer technology with a goggle-like visual display device to create an interactive 3D environment. Rather than watching a video on a conventional screen in front of you, when wearing the device you become fully immersed in a convincing simulated world that seems to be all around you. Technophiles have been following the evolution over several years, but it’s only very recently that cameras and viewing options have become more affordable and less cumbersome.
There are two types of VR setups used to record images:
Multi-camera VR rigs: To get a 360 degree field of view, several wide-angle-lensed cameras (usually three or more) are fitted on a circular rig, each camerapointing in a different direction.
All-in-one VR cameras use the same principle of using multiple cameras to capture 360-degree footage – except the multiple cameras are engineered into one self-contained device. They are aimed at the home consumer market and professionals looking for an easy entry into VR content. These all-in-one solutions are less expensive and easier to set up and operate than a multi-camera rig. Samsung’s Gear 360 is a small twin-camera system but requires a Samsung Galaxy phone to record and manage the data. Finally, if you have the chops (and the bucks), there are professional all-in-one VR devices like Nokia’s OZO system, which retails at a cool $45,000US!
Viewing VR content also needs special equipment:
Two types of head-mounted displays (or HMD’s) currently exist. The most economical solution is based around a conventional smartphone. The headset itself is like a pair of ski goggles with focusable lenses and a slot to house your smartphone. But the user might be underwhelmed by the experience – the image quality is only as good as the phone inserted in it!
The other available HMD is the PC-connected type. These give the best VR experience with motion sensors and movement-simulating gyros but need to be wire-tethered to a computer powerful enough to send decent graphics to the dual 1080p screens inside the headset. If you’re into gaming, your PC should have processor able to handle these headsets. PC HMD’s are much more expensive than the smartphone type and can be intimidating for people who aren’t computer savvy.
Why are Creators and Marketers investing in VR?
Filmmakers, game developers and marketers alike all see the potential of this new brand new medium. The challenge is finding new ways to create memorable experiences using the technology. The fact that viewers are completely immersed and engaged in the experience, with fewer distractions from the outside world, allows them to focus more on the content and the message. Also, our brains are built to better remember events and experiences if linked to locations, so unlike a traditional film, game or book, VR can prolong a viewer’s memory retention of that experience due to its unique “just like you’re there” nature. Finally, VR is still quite the novelty. With public interest and high media coverage, it only makes sense for early adopters to get their hands on VR production while people are still curious about it.
So What About my Next Video in VR?
For starters, because of the newer expensive cameras, sound gear and editing software needed to create an immersive experience, expect to pay more for your video than what you normally budget. Substantially more.
But just as in any other medium, no matter what the cost, mediocre content is still mediocre content. Just because you own a VR camera doesn’t mean you can point and shoot, then expect to wow an audience.
Here’s a video that showcases some of the best use cases of VR marketing so far, according to Mbryonic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntYlLGTLrDE
The Bottom Line?
As with each new media technology that comes along, there needs to be a creative vision behind it to get the best out of it. Whatever the format, innovative storytelling and creating emotional experiences will still be key to creating memorable videos. Being a successful VR content creator will mean coming up with innovative ways to use the technology for your service or product. Otherwise, it could just end up being another gimmick, much like 3D in past years.