360 Video Blurred Lines
360 video. Virtual Reality. A new way to engage an audience who has become bored with what media entertainment and advertising is currently offering. Going forward, your target audience needs more to capture and hold their attention. 360 video appears to be the key
Devin Harschnek, NAB Show Las Vegas 2016, Photo by Daniel Hampe
I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 NAB Show through the University of Northern Iowa’s Digital Media Leadership program. I had hands on experience with the latest technology in virtual reality. I also spoke with and heard from professionals specializing in that field. I must say, I was most impressed with the 360 video produced by GoPro, all of which had the signature larger-than-life feeling, characteristic of GoPro videos. This paired with surround sound gives a truly incredible experience to the viewer.
As technology continues to move incredibly fast in media production, it is important to stay up on what production equipment is available and what it’s capable of. Anyone looking to get involved with 360 video and virtual reality content production can do so with anything from the high end Pro24 by GoPro at well over $10k with 24 GoPro cameras, to the consumer level Ricoh Theta starting as low as $210 which has made it onto my own personal wish list. If you’d rather simply view the 360 video content being created, I recommend checking out Google Cardboard which you can pick up for just $15. It’s a good start to get a taste of the 360 video experience.
“In a decade, there will be no such thing as 2D imagery for media content creation. It’s all gonna be… hybrid 3D media.”
-Kim Libreri, CTO Epic Games, NAB 2016
Far more content can be captured in a 360 video compared to standard video which is limited to predetermined framing. The interface of 360 video is incredibly interactive and intuitive. The viewer chooses whichever camera angle they wish by tilting and panning their phone or clicking and dragging on the video with their mouse, viewing only what fits on the display of their device, as if they are in the video looking around.
It’s a “choose your own adventure” style of storytelling. This has opened the door to many new opportunities for digital media. As an example, the ten-second pre-roll ads on YouTube can now get very interactive and, if done well with interesting content, can lead to fewer people clicking “skip ad”.
The first thing that came to my mind when I found out about 360 video was the replay value of this content. While the video is playing, the user is limited to viewing just what is within their frame as they look around this immersive virtual world. For example, in this video you may have seen Deadpool urinating behind a pillar in the bar, playing solitaire, or shooting pool. On the second viewing, you may notice him dancing on the bar behind you, passed out at a table to your right, or chopping things up at the bar with his katana like John Belushi in the 1976 SNL skit “Samuri Delicatessen”. All of these are different experiences of the same video and that barely scratches the surface of what’s possible.
Whether it’s sporting events, music concerts and festivals, video games, or house tour showcasing, the creative possibilities for 360 video are endless. This is the real beginning of the blurred lines between reality and virtual reality.
By Devin Harschnek