Virtual Reality Becomes a Reality - Part I

Posted on: November 04, 2015 by Nettel Media

Category: General

Virtual Reality Becomes a Reality - Part I

Virtual Reality (VR) is really buzzing. Many products have been created, articles written and even brands are getting onboard. Let’s dive into what virtual reality is, some of the frontrunners making headlines for this technology and how VR could impact the filmmaking industry.


What exactly is virtual reality?

Virtual Reality is a digitally-created 3D space that users are able to explore and engage with as if they were there in person. While the earliest uses were for flight simulation, Virtual Reality can have many uses. It can be used for training, tours, branded promotional content and much more. It is even being used for therapeutic applications, such as this therapy for fear of flying example.


A quick rundown of some of the most talked about VR products


Oculus Rift

Perhaps the product that had gained the most press since Virtual Reality became a mainstream topic. It was developed by 22 year-old Palmer Luckey and was originally on Kickstarter, and gained so much buzz that Mark Zuckerberg took notice and bought the company for $2 billion.


Samsung Gear VR

According to The Verge, this headset is a milestone because it’s the first VR headset “…released without the safety net of an ‘Innovator Edition’ or ‘Development Kit’ label.” In other words, it’s the first customer-centric VR headset. This product is hoping to be ready for the holidays this year, and at $99 it has the potential to be the hottest item on people’s wish lists. 


Google Cardboard

Given out at this year’s I/O Conference, Cardboard is Google’s low-cost foray into the VR space. There are a variety of models you can purchase, and even a zip file available for those who want to build one themselves.


To find out more about augmented reality (AR) and VR headsets, check out this Wearable article.


Filmmaking Implications 

People who use VR describe the experience as actually being in the environment they’re interacting with. For example, saying “I was at Niagara Falls” instead of “I saw Niagara Falls”. Viewers would be able to have their own interpretation of an environment based on the actions that they chose and the amount of time they spend in said environment. 


To take a peek at what one firm is doing with VR filmmaking, view this video short from Nurulize. It demonstrates the different types of focus and zoom modes that could be available to filmmakers. Another example is the animated short Henry, which taps into the childhood notion that the characters in the movies are actually real. It will be interesting to see the variety of film techniques and tools that are developed and used as more people begin experimenting with VR.


We’re excited to see what’s ahead for the future of Virtual Reality. Stay tuned for our next VR blog post, where we’ll dive into some VR content providers. In the meantime, we’d like to know what aspect of VR you’re most excited about. Share with us on Facebook or Twitter!


Image: nanpalmero via Flickr

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