Virtual Reality videos are immersive video content accessed through the use of virtual reality headsets. Unlike the ordinary videos, virtual reality videos create in illusion of the user being part of the video through the rendition of 3D images. The viewing of such videos is not restricted to computer or television screens and depending on the video or the kind of content being watched, the user can also interact with the video.
Just like with the ordinary videos, virtual reality videos can be created at the beginning when a video is being recorded or captured using 360 degrees video cameras. The videos can also be made from computer generated content using VR immersive video enabled applications. The formats adopted by virtual reality videos will vary from the software and the device used in the production of the videos.
Differences between 360° video and VR video
Virtual Reality is no longer the next big thing, but rather the current big thing. However, pockets of confusion still arise on the difference between them and 360 degrees video. Some tend to confuse the two terms while others think they are one and the same thing.
Below are a few points to help shed more light on the differences between the two:
Virtual reality videos are primarily video generated content where users have the ability to immerse themselves in a virtual world and most of them are video game based. 360 degrees videos on the other hand, are video taken using physical 360 degrees cameras with the same depth as the human eye. This brings about a difference in perception between the 360 degrees video and virtual reality videos.
Since the virtual reality experience is inspired by video games, users have the liberty to do whatever they want in the virtual environment. With 360 degrees videos however, a camera is placed at a physical location and whatever the user sees is what the filmmaker decided to view. The users don’t have the pleasure of exploring as they feel like as is usually the case with virtual reality videos.
Unless it is an interactive film, 360 degrees videos will allow the filmmaker to control the story and the timeline of the video. In this sense, 360 degrees videos are immersive whereas the virtual reality videos are interactive with the timeline in VR videos solely on the hands of the viewer.
In a virtual reality set up, the viewer or the player leads. This is not the case with 360 degrees videos where the filmmaker has to take control over the narrative and develop it forward. In virtual reality videos, the viewer or the player is experiencing a story happening to them while with the 360 degrees videos, the viewer is experiencing a story happening around them. Additionally, the physical location of the video is even more important in 360 degrees videos as compared to virtual reality videos where the location really is a big factor of consideration.
For virtual reality experience, the user must have a virtual reality headset which can be tethered to a PC or a mobile device to access the content. 360 degrees video on the other hand doesn’t require any special devices such as VR headsets and are accessible through a variety of compatible players, either through mobile or desktop applications.
For virtual reality, the photography takes place in a digital environment while in 360 degrees videos the action is live in a physical environment with real characters.
If you own an Android device, then you can easily watch virtual reality videos with the help of Google’s Cardboard. All you have to do is to slot the device into the cheaply made Cardboard viewer and start enjoying the VR experience, though on a lower grade.
For more enhanced virtual reality experience, you will be required to invest in a decent virtual reality headset which you can then use to get more immersive experiences when watching the content. Depending on the manufacturer of the headset, you may have to connect the headset to a PC - like in the case of the Oculus Rift by Facebook, or the headset may not need any extra addendums to work if you opt for Samsung Gear VR.
There are a variety of places where you can watch a plethora of virtual reality videos. The following are some of the best places to check out if you want to watch virtual reality videos-:
Virtual Reality via Apps
The number of apps being designed to for watching virtual reality videos keeps on increasing with each day. Currently, apps such as NYT VR and Vrse are designed to deliver VR-Ready videos which users can access using Google’s Cardboard. It implies that if you have an android device, then you can access these and many other similar virtual reality video apps.
Virtual Reality videos on YouTube
YouTube remains the ideal android destination whether you need 360 degrees or VR-primed videos. With the Cardboard, watching virtual reality videos on YouTube becomes so simple and so easy since all you have to do is to load the compatible video on your phone then simply tap on the Cardboard icon will be appearing on the lower right corner of your screen.
What will happen is that the screen will be split into two nearly identical frames, and when you insert the phone into the cardboard viewer, the images in the two identical frames will merge seamlessly to form one shot.
Virtual Reality videos locally
It will also please you to note that you can view virtual reality videos saved locally on your machine, but the experience will not be as good as tapping on the icon on YT. The main reason behind this is that the amount of downloadable virtual reality content is still scarce and firms prefer to make more money by streaming such videos and bookending them with ads instead of making them available as free downloads.
Benjamin Arango is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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