Virtual reality. Sounds futuristic, doesn’t it? It sounds like something the characters in StarTrek would talk about. But the truth of the matter is, virtual reality technology is no longer futuristic. It’s happening. Virtual Reality (or VR for short) is here. Although still in its infancy phase, VR content is being created daily for all of us at home to view. Here is a link to an interactive video that showcases what is available currently at this time. This video can be watched on your computer and you can get a feel for what it’s like. To truly get the best experience, view it on a phone or tablet and with a VR headset. If you are watching it on a headset, then you can actually interact with the video by turning your head and seeing it through a first person perspective. All of this on your phone. Like I said—the future is now.
The Time Couch video was created by BrandonJLa. He is a former member of RocketJump, the YouTube content creator group who have found success combining CGI with quality video. When I went to Brandon’s VR session at VidCon 2015, I really didn’t know that much about virtual reality. I mean, I knew about Oculus Rift, that Facebook bought them for a bajillion dollars, but that was about it. I had seen a few videos of people walking around on some sort of treadmill wearing fancy headgear that looked expensive. But other than that, this was the extent of my VR knowledge before attending this event. Look at me now. I have embraced the culture, looked more into it, and have truly bought into the hype.
Virtual reality headset
The next two logical questions are - (1) How do you create VR content? and (2) How much does it cost to view these videos (headset)? At BrandonJLa’s talk, he went on to show us a few things specific to these very questions. Creating VR content requires you to have a wide field of view and then you stitch together the edges of the video to create a “360” version. The easier way of doing this would be using the new Google Jump Camera. Essentially, it seamlessly connects together 16 GoPro’s to make a hassle free “360” video that can be 4k. You don’t have to worry about parallaxing or anything, just plug them in and go.
So what about the headsets? Google is also on top of that. They have created affordable and simple cardboard headsets that you can purchase from their website to see it all for yourself. You simply slip in your phone, and voila! you’re able to view VR content. Either download a few VR apps, or simply go on YouTube to check out some videos on the subject.
At the end of the day—this is only the beginning. I can see in a few years time, VR will be taking over the online video market and become more and more popular. In fact, I think it will move so quickly that by 2020 (in just a mere five years) it will be a major player in the entertainment industry.
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