How 360° Virtual Reality is Revolutionizing Video Content

In the 90s, Virtual Reality (VR) was a niche interest, mostly known among elite gamers. However, its reach has expanded far beyond gaming. Today, platforms like YouTube, Facebook, news outlets, and even supermarkets are using a more user-friendly version of VR to captivate wider audiences: the 360° panoramic video.

360° videos offer a fully immersive experience, viewable from every angle. On a desktop, users can click and drag their mouse or touchpad to explore different perspectives. Mobile users can use their fingers to swipe across the screen or simply move their phone around for an automatic viewpoint shift.

Enhancing this experience on mobile devices is simple with tools like Google Cardboard, which even has a DIY option. But what exactly is a 360° video?

Creating 360° Videos

Creating a 360° video is surprisingly straightforward with the right equipment. It involves a camera system with six cameras mounted on a specialized stand, positioned to cover every direction for a complete 360° capture. After filming, these individual videos are merged into one panoramic view using software like Kolor (for more details, check out our dedicated post here).

360° Video Creation Using Kolor Software

This technology is so accessible that virtually anyone can capture their favorite moments from every possible angle. Let’s explore some examples of 360° videos that are popular online.

360° Videos in Education

Unlike advanced VR systems, 360° videos are primarily designed for exploration, a feature incredibly useful in educational settings. They allow students of all ages to visually immerse themselves in a topic, making complex concepts more tangible and understandable.

For instance, consider Life Noggin’s 360° tour of the human body. In these videos, you’ll find navigational buttons in the top left corner, enabling you to change your viewpoint and explore the human body in an interactive way.

Transforming Customer Experience

Exceptional customer experiences can attract new clients and keep existing ones coming back. Businesses are constantly seeking ways to elevate their customer service, and 360° videos offer an innovative, cost-effective solution.

Consider Target’s “The Haunted Dining Hall” campaign. While it’s an advertisement for products to recreate a haunted dining experience, its immersive nature makes it engaging enough that viewers may watch it from start to finish, maybe even more than once.

If the navigation buttons seem distracting, simply click (or tap on mobile) anywhere in the video and drag with your mouse (or finger) to explore.

Fostering Empathy Through VR

Apart from education and commerce, 360° videos have a powerful role in promoting empathy. They allow viewers to virtually step into someone else’s life, offering a unique perspective of their world.

An example of this is The New York Times’ documentary “The Displaced,” which follows three children living in the aftermath of war. This immersive experience places you in the midst of their reality, revealing the resilience of children in devastated environments.

360° Videos in Entertainment

On a lighter note, 360° videos also offer a new dimension in entertainment. Take, for instance, a 360° vlog capturing a leisurely stroll along Brighton beach by three friends. These videos provide a relaxing escape, allowing viewers to explore and immerse themselves in new environments.

360° videos brilliantly capture scenic vistas, providing a personalized viewing experience. The phrase “wish you were here” might lose its meaning, as anyone can virtually join in these experiences through these immersive videos.

360° Videos in the Film Industry

The movie industry is also embracing 360° video technology to offer fans a deeper, more immersive insight into their favorite fantasy worlds. Consider the Hunger Games VR experience, which simulates the film’s thrilling scenes within a dense forest setting, reminiscent of the environments Katniss and other characters navigated.

Additionally, there is a comprehensive YouTube playlist offering a 360° tour of the sets from Fox’s popular series Scream Queens.

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re a student of videography, a professional, or simply intrigued by cutting-edge video technology, 360° videos are worth exploring. They represent a revolutionary way for viewers to interact with video content, signaling a dynamic shift in the future of videography.

360° videos are not just a novelty; they offer significant potential for businesses and non-profits to engage with their audiences in meaningful ways. As technology advances, these tools will become even more powerful in creating impactful viewer experiences.