In a recent survey by GreenlightVR & Cubicle Ninjas, 71% consumers considered a brand that sponsored virtual reality content as forward-thinking and modern. Another 62% agreed that they feel engaged with a VR experience.
YouTube which sees over 1.5 billion users is making giant strides to make VR more accessible and affordable for users and creators. The brand launched VR180 a brand new video format that makes VR more easy and accessible for anyone. The format delivers 3D videos capturing 180 degrees around you. As a creator, you only have to worry about capturing what’s in front of you. The VR headset and camera developed for this format will also be available for a much affordable rate compared to the current market rates.
Apart from VR180, Google also has Jump a professional video solution which makes video production at scale possible and Daydream which is focused on bringing VR experience to different devices.
Facebook is also designing new experiences around VR with Oculus. The brand showcases its new projects that primarily focused on building social experiences using VR. You could be sharing or engaging in conversation with your connections using this technology in future.
For creators, there is very little knowledge available at disposal to understand how this new experience works with the audience. Initial research from Business Insider suggests that the immersion level is more with virtual reality videos compared to augmented reality and 360-degree videos.
YouTube introduced Heat maps for videos with over 1000 views. Creators can now view parts of the video which get the maximum attention. Heat maps also provide the exact time the viewers spent looking at a specific part of the video.
Virtual Reality Videos – Insights from YouTube
Youtube also released its initial findings on how viewers are engaging with virtual reality videos:
Focus on the content in front of the viewer
Viewers spent 75% of their time viewing the front 90-degrees of the video. As a creator, you need to devote more time to develop what’s in front of the viewers. Although the viewers have the option of looking around in any direction most choose to only focus on the front.
Grab the attention
While it’s important to focus on what’s in front of the viewer equal amount of focus needs to be devoted to what’s behind them. In a video, viewers who looked at the full 360-degree space only accounted for 20%. Creators and published need utilize the full 360-degree space making the content more engaging. You can also try using markers and animations to draw viewers attention to different parts of a scene.
Creators also need to keep in mind the context in which people watch the videos. Viewers could be viewing the video from Google Cardboard, Mobile or Laptop. For instance, viewers watching the content from a portable cardboard may need a few seconds to get situated, unlike other devices. So make sure you give the viewer sufficient time before jumping into action.
VR content & Experience
VR is going to be defined by the content that is designed explicitly for virtual reality.
– Palmer Luckey, Founder – Oculus VR
As Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR suggests a good story needs conflict and virtual reality videos could be a great hypothetical way to create conflict. Creators have to design content that is meant for virtual reality rather than repurposing content that’s not designed for the medium.