360° VR unlocks new dimensions of storytelling, creating immersive experiences which are more authentic, more interactive and more engaging.
But what is it?
(You might also like: 5 Reasons to Use 360° VR in Your Next Campaign’)
The Evolution of Story Telling
For millennia, we’ve been flattening our three-dimensional working into 2D stories and confining them to their designated platforms – paintings in galleries, music through the radio, print in books and magazines, films shown on screens. This allowed brands and businesses to choose where they targeted their audience and how they told their story.
But then came a game changer. With the advent of the internet the playing field was levelled, and consumption of media now happens in one place – online, carried around in people’s pockets. Organisations are now competing for attention in a bid to get their message across in one crowded market place.
…and another game changer. VR headsets, increasingly affordable and accessible, allows users to not just consume media, but experience it. Unlike traditional film adverting, VR places the viewer in the middle of the film and adds an extra layer of immersion. Those who are utilising VR are one step ahead of thousands of others that are still confining themselves to 2D storytelling.
So, What is 360° VR?
There are two basic camps of virtual reality – cinematic (or 360°) and game engine based. These differ on the means of production, playback method, realism, and amount of interactivity allowed.
While VR was originally developed with gaming in mind, the 360° VR is all about immersive film content, with the action happening around the viewer. However, unlike in game engines, viewers cannot move around the scene freely beyond their 360° range of vision – only if the camera is moved during filming does the viewer move.
How Does 360° VR Work?
To create 360° VR, 360° cameras film in all directions at all times. The finished result allows the viewer to look around the scene as it unfolds. 360° 2D films can be viewed anywhere a ‘normal’ film can – on desktops, mobiles, tablets, virtual reality headsets and dome environments.
360° 3D films are created by replicating the same process as our eyes. Objects are filmed from two slightly different angles, using two cameras separated by the same distance as your eyes are.
These images are then aligned and viewed through head mounted devices (HMDs). The left eye sees the left image and the right eye, the right image. This gives the perception of depth and creates a more realistic experience. 360° 3D films can only be viewed in a virtual reality headset or dome environments, or on a phone if using a Google Cardboard headset.
Sensors in the head set track the movement of the user’s head, mapping the real-world movement to the user’s view of the virtual world. If the user turns their head to the left, the computer in the headset mimics the movement in the VR world. When done well, the user’s brain is tricked into thinking what it’s seeing is real, both on a conscious and subconscious level.
Do I need 360° VR?
Well, of course we’re going to say ‘yes’ (we can’t get enough of it at Seadog HQ), but it’s worth noting that big brands such as The New York Times, Google, Jaguar Land Rover and many more are all using 360° VR. Why? Read ‘5 Reasons to Use 360° VR in Your Next Campaign‘.