What You Should Know About VR Technology and How It Works

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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By Golden Shovel Agency

Virtual reality and augmented reality are transforming how we view and interact with the world around us. In many cases, the world half a continent or several states away. Virtual reality creates a sense of presence where viewers are transported into a realm full of experiences and possibilities. Rather than simply watching something, viewers feel as though they are actually there through a full immersion experience. A viewer can now walk through a virtual site tour, experience a day hiking in the mountains, or see a factory in action, without needing to leave their office.

Virtual Reality Is A Revolutionary Change In The Marketing Landscape

By creating new ways to communicate and share experiences, virtual reality is allowing consumers to connect with brands, buyers to view real estate and tourists to visit new attractions, without actually being there. It is so effective that Volvo is using virtual reality which allows people to test drive their vehicles in a fully immersive virtual world. Due to the vast potential for diverse applications, Goldman Sachs labeled virtual reality as the next computing platform. In their ‘Profiles in Innovation’ report (Goldman Sachs , 2016) they estimate that the hardware alone will be an $80 billion industry, all within the next decade.

So how does virtual reality work?

Virtual reality is possible because of how our eyes work. Each eye sees the world slightly differently because they are around three inches apart. This is why when you cover one eye, you will see the room in front of you from a different perspective. The brain stitches these images together to create a 3D image of the world around us and to create a sense of depth. By calculating the differences between the images both eyes see, the brain knows how close or far an object is. VR recreates this through stereoscopic displays.

For a virtual reality video to be shot, it must be taken from two slightly different perspectives that are offset from each other (this is stereoscopic). Filming requires a level of skill and experience in shooting videos for VR; in other words, you can’t do this from your regular video camera or cellphone.

The videographer must also capture the correct field of view (FOV), which is typically 180 degrees when looking straight ahead. To replicate what someone sees naturally, the FOV must account for peripheral vision as well, since people can see around 270 degrees with simply eye movement. However, the FOV cannot go any further since the human eye cannot see a full 360-degrees. For an immersive experience, the FOV needs to be high, while allowing for viewers to see more through additional movement.

For a 360 degree video, that is 3D, a videographer needs to use several cameras to capture 360 degrees worth of images. If a video is meant to allow someone to “walk” through it, the cameras must capture 360-degree views of a large area. The images are then stitched together to allow viewers to move through the image like they would in real life. By moving arrows, hands, the head or through eye tracking, the viewer can see aspects of the image that they would not by looking straight ahead. This is what gives people the sense of actually being in a place and makes the experience fully immersive.  For economic developers, this creates an opportunity to provide site selectors, executives and tourists, a full community experience that takes place in the virtual world.

Quality Matters When Creating an Immersion Experience

When it comes to a 360 video the technology used, along with the skill of the videographer and editor makes a significant difference to whether the video feels realistic or just makes a person sick. It is possible for people to become motion sick when watching a virtual reality or 360 video because of issues with latency (delays), an incorrect FOV, or delays between what your body is doing (moving your head, for example) and what you are seeing. This is called simulator sickness and hiring a professional marketing company to create the VR video will greatly reduce the likelihood of a viewer experiencing it.

Audio Is Critical For A Full Immersion Experience

Virtual reality can be a dramatic and full experience, where viewers are virtually transported to a destination. For it to be complete, the audio must recreate real life, as closely as possible. Using spatial audio sound is placed, virtually, in a three-dimensional environment. This 3D audio allows viewers to hear sound coming from different angles. For example, if you were strolling through the forest, you may hear birds chirping to your left with the crack of a branch at your feet while walking towards the sound of rushing water. Natural sound is literally all around us so 3D audio is essential for VR to truly be immersive.

Head Mounted Displays (Hmds) Are Used For Viewing

VR hardware makes it possible to view these 360 videos with relative ease. Affordable solutions like Google Cardboard can be used to watch 360 videos on an app, YouTube or Facebook with a smartphone. More expensive HMDs can incorporate features like hand movement recognition and even placing the hands within a virtual environment, something that is more desirable with gaming platforms. VR headsets function in two main ways. The video is either sent to one display where lenses could even be between the eyes, or to two LCD displays. By focusing and reshaping the picture, the HMD works to create a stereoscopic image.

Regardless of the price, VR hardware places viewers within a virtual environment that is devoid of the traditional boundaries associated with “watching” something on television or a tablet. Instead of watching something happen, a viewer becomes part of the experience by entering this fully immersive world. Economic developers can use this to create virtual site tours, transporting prospective customers and transplants, directly to their environment.

Virtual Reality Creates An Incredible Opportunity

Economic developers often struggle to explain what their city, county, region or state is like to someone who has never been there. When site selectors and CEO’s are located in other areas of the country or even the world, this inability to “picture” the area can become a stumbling block. Now, Elite Communities are learning that, through the use of immersive virtual reality, they can offer a full community tour to someone sitting in their office in Singapore, Amsterdam or New York. These virtual site tours make it possible to capture interest, showcase community assets and attract attention from companies looking to locate somewhere truly innovative.

Elite economic developers have realized that VR is the ideal way to showcase their communities and grow their portfolio.


Stay connected,

Golden Shovel Agency.

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