We have usually always misunderstood 360° videos with Virtual Reality. 360° degree video is relatively passive, limited in interaction and not stereoscopic. It is generally not a very immersive experience – on the other hand, this can be good and more comfortable for some/many since it does not require a headset and the content can vary. You can watch 360° videos on most browsers.
Virtual Reality, in its current emphasis, requires a head-mounted display. These displays play or display stereoscopic images, which trick the brain into believing that this simulation is the reality. As you move your head, the electronics in the display unit repaints the display based on your new/current position. This further affirms to the brain that you are immersed in a real environment. For gamers this can be a thrilling experience. However, new possibilities in VR, apart from gaming, are being explored already.
Considering that this is so new, some reports of motion sickness etc are understandable. To experience true virtual reality, you need special equipment and associated content – this can be a smart-phone based set up such as Google Cardboard or with special hardware as, among several other options as well. While most 360° videos are shot in plain 2D, true virtual reality is always stereoscopic (3D 360°).
It’s also interesting to consider the amount of mobility that viewers have when it comes to both types of video, as virtual reality is far more immersive than 360° video. With virtual reality the viewer or player has the ability to walk relatively anywhere and explore further into the landscape. The only thing that may prevent you from venturing too far is if you are tethered to a computer or any other device that is providing you with the artificial landscape. Otherwise, you can easily walk absolutely anywhere while you are immersed in the world.
On the other side, a 360° video only gives you a certain amount of viewing power. Since the filmmaker will have full control over the content that you see, viewers will only have the ability to get a full view of what the filmmaker has filmed. The movements of the filmmaker limit the entire viewing field.
One of the main reasons as to why VR video is so popular amongst video game studios is because they can integrate a vast timeline to keep their players entertained. With virtual reality the timeline could be endless as you can create a series of events or different experiences that exist in a theoretical world. The way the timeline progresses depends on the actions of the user, whereas with 360° video, the timeline progresses based on what the filmmaker has filmed.
Considering the platforms that are available for both mediums, it can be more cost effective to use 360° video as users can access the video from any device that offers viewing capabilities and that is compatible with 360° videos. For example, they can log onto their computers and visit free websites such as YouTube to watch the video. With virtual reality you would have to have a HMD (Head Mounted Display) to be able to completely immerse yourself into the experience. Well, it is not as difficult a task as it sounds to be. With technological upgradation and affordable Chinese VR headsets flooding the market, virtual reality experiences have also been cost effective.
We at Lucid Dream Studio are glad to announce the arrival of some of our 3D 360 cameras. These give us the ability to shoot in 3D 360, while also give us the edge to provide 3D 360 cinematic virtual reality at a much affordable cost.
Creating the content and the story for VR is far more in-depth than 360° simply because the filmmaker doesn’t have control over what the viewer sees. You have to ensure that every crevice is designed perfectly to capture the attention of the audience and to impress them. You also have to pay special attention to enticing them to want to immerse themselves more in the environment. It’s equally as important to capture the attention of the viewer with 360° video, though you have full control of what your viewers can see.
Lucid Dream Studio specializes in creating extraordinarily immersive VR experiences. Overall, both technologies are interesting and have shaped the way that we view content on a regular basis. Virtual reality seems to be a more in-depth technology that allows players to explore a brand new universe, whereas 360° video is great for real-life applications.