Ignition Immersive Articles
What VR Format is Best to Use?
Why you need 8k stereoscopic vision to deliver a truly immersive VR experience
Virtual reality or 360-degree video is a fantastic marketing communication and education or training tool for any business, but it only works if the technology is right. When done correctly the impact can be amazing, but if not, the viewing experience can be extremely uncomfortable.
Before you start, you need to understand the different VR standards you’ll be dealing with and how they impact the end product.
Many conventional 360-degree videos will be filmed in monoscopic. This displays the same image to each eye which limits the depth perception of the video inside the VR experience. It is essentially an equirectangular image displayed on the sphere.
When viewed with a VR headset, you will feel like you are inside the sphere looking out at the image around you. It makes you feel part of the action but doesn’t provide a truly immersive VR experience.
Stereoscopic on the other hand is a whole lot cooler. It delivers a different image to each eye and creates the illusion of depth. It mimics real life. Our eyes both receive slightly different images which our brains amalgamate, which explains how we can see in three dimensions.
So, when you enter the VR world using stereoscopic vision you add an entirely new level of immersion, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option.
First, it’s more expensive, which might be an issue if you’re on the budget and second the images need to be overlaid and mapped to a sphere, and that is far from straightforward. Any minor flaws are magnified and inconsistencies can appear in different parts of the eye. When done badly it can feel uncomfortable to watch and can induce dizziness or nausea.
The amazing thing about this technology is how quickly it evolves. No sooner does one innovation come along than something else makes it obsolete. It only seems a moment ago that 4K was all the rage, but no sooner did we get that than we started the journey towards 6k. Now we have something even better: 8K, but what’s the difference between them all and how does it relate to the final viewing experience?
Put simply the ‘k’ stands for the number of horizontal pixels on an image – so 4k translates to 4,000. The greater the number of pixels, the sharper and more detailed the image. You’ll be able to zoom closer into images without losing sharpness or colour saturation.
Today 4k or ultra-high definition video is becoming the standard option for most commercial video productions, but within VR, camera makers such as Kandao with their Obsidian S or R cameras are producing 8k footage that has won praise by Facebook for its technology.
Moreover, early this year Pimax released its 8k VR headset after a $4.2million crowdfunding campaign. This addresses many of the problems surrounding stereoscopic VR. It allows peripheral vision, eliminates the so-called screen door effect and reduces the risk of motion sickness.
From a business use-case perspective this opens up a whole new world of possibilities. 8K UHD provides images of an unparalleled sharpness and detail. Even standing close to a screen you won’t be able to see the pixilation.
While it will be used extensively by companies wanting to create eye catching video displays at events or trade fairs, but its in VR where it really comes into its own. Thanks to its ability to provide greater depth perception, wider viewing angles and more seamless integration, it offers a more comfortable viewing experience.
The cost will be higher, but there’s a good argument which suggests it’s worth the additional money and effort. In a crowded marketplace you need to make you brand look its best and stand out from the crowd. 8k certainly does that, but if you’re using VR or 360-degree video, 8K becomes even more important.
This will deliver what the VR market has, for so long, been promising – an image which is smooth and seamless with little or no interruption. It avoids the blocky and limited viewing experience you might expect with more basic options which deliver 2k viewing per eye and monoscopic images.
In other words, what is true VR? The aim of virtual reality has always been to make people feel as if they are in the world. This finally does that, but as so often we come to the obvious question: is it worth it? Cool as it may be, will it deliver a positive ROI.
A survey from Animoto reveals that more seven billion videos are watched on Facebook and YouTube every day. Four times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it. Customers are more likely to read an email newsletter if it has video. According to Syndcast, 52% of marketers cite video as the format with the best ROI.
VR usage is growing, and customers are willing to engage with top end technology. By embracing 8k stereoscopic video you can create marketing campaigns which are immensely impactful, immersive and stand out from the crowd.
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