I thought we’d have a little chat about what VR video is all about. I’m going to use the Paul McCartney and Coldplay VR content as two examples of how different a VR experience can be depending on how it’s been produced.
Firstly, both of these are available on both Google CardBoard and Gear VR platforms as free demos. Paul Mcartney first. This is a fully spherical video, with the so called ambisonic audio that changes as you move, so you really feel like you’re there. The resolution could obviously be a little better but the total package is very effective. You are on stage with a living legend, and can look in any direction.
Then we have the Coldplay version. Yes, you’re standing there as part of the crowd, but move slightly to the left or right and suddenly the world you’re in disappears – go right around and you are staring at a Coldplay emblem. Look up and down and you’ll also see blank spaces.
So the question becomes what is VR video best used for, and in what format? If you look at the reddit threads and even the comments on my channel, most readers and viewers bemoan the videos that don’t provide a full spherical experience. Some, like the ones I’ve shown on the Milk VR demo, are strips that go all the way around, which some commenters are calling cylindrical. Videos like coldplay are even more restrictive in that you don’t even see the crowd or environment behind you.
So, I’m just going to put it out there. Just like all the games that are being released in the VR platforms, VR video really needs to cover all the areas that can be possibly be viewed. And although some might argue this is not the case in Oculus Cinema, it is because the cinema itself is your total environment, and you feel like you are sitting in that theatre. Virtual reality should be just that, a reality slightly removed from the one you normally experience. And we don’t usually look up or down and see a black circle where the matrix didn’t fill in the world.
[…] to give you an idea of where virtual reality has taken me, I’ve been on stage with Paul McCartney as he played in front of a huge crowd; next to a Nascar driver as he explains the tactics of slipstreaming and fuel conservation while […]