As more and more visual platforms are introduced you could be forgiven for getting a little confused. Especially when so many people use the term 360° video and Virtual Reality (VR) so interchangeably. The reality is they are different mediums and have totally different characteristics.
Here are some of the features of 360° video:
Its real live action video footage that unfolds around the viewer.
The 360° view is from the camera’s perspective controlled by placement of the camera by the filmmaker but the view is controlled by the viewer at all times..
The video progresses along a timeline created by the filmmakers camera movements and placement of still footage.
It is available on your Desktop & Laptop via 360° compatible players such as YouTube
Is extremely immersive when viewed through a VR headset
Virtual Reality (VR)
In comparison here are the features of VR:
It is a digital environment that simulates a real experience
It is a virtual world that you can move around inside
Navigation of the space progresses as and when the viewer decides through their movement and choices
Full experience needs a VR headset
The Key Differences
Live Action v. Digital
There are a number a significant differences between the two platforms. Firstly, one is real life footage and the other is computer generated. When you are trying to capture a special moment live action footage is what you are looking for.
VR uses quite complex software to recreate the environment, which can be fun but ultimately is not a true reflection of your experiences. Using 360° video is the only way to recreate that environment so you can relive it.
Second, is the accessibility of 360° video is a little easier. VR needs a headset for you to enjoy it, however, with 360° video you can access it via a headset, your phone, your desktop or laptop computer. This allows you to share the experience a lot easier with your loved ones, without the need for any extra bit of kit. However experiencing 360° footage in a virtual reality headset goes some way to bridging the gap towards an actual virtual reality experience and is, by far, the most immersive way to re live a special moment
Finally, each format has different benefits in terms of building a story. When using VR you can construct an entire world in which the viewer is in control. They can walk wherever they want, experience whatever they choose and ultimately construct their own story.
By contrast 360° video is about the filmmaker constructing a story with the added element of immersing the viewer. It is a balance between storytelling and freedom of movement for the viewer.
If you are looking to film a 360° video of your wedding for example, you can work with the filmmaker to construct the most engaging story of your memorable day. It gives the expert storyteller, the filmmaker, the ability to give the viewer a totally immersive experience.
After examining all the differences between the two platforms, it is safe to say that they both have the capabilities to provide a truly unique experience for the viewer. Both mediums create a truly immersive environment for the user to fully sink into.
360° video is giving filmmakers a new way of creating truly engaging stories for the viewer. It provides the opportunity to recreate a special moment or event on a new totally engrossing level. As this technology develops and new techniques are created, 360° video will really provide new immersive experiences that will allow you to live those moments again and again.