Everyone’s asking themselves ‘What’s the next big thing?’ All we can do is guess, and if we’re lucky, we might hit the jackpot. Many of us start salivating whenever we hear the words ‘virtual reality’. We just can’t stop dreaming up all the possible experiences we’ll be immersed in, from climbing mountains to walking around in exotic worlds. VR hasn’t exploded yet though; we’ve just scratched on the surface of what it can be. There are a lot of technical hurdles for companies like HTC and Facebook to overcome before VR becomes mainstream. With that in mind, there are still tons of exciting things happening in the near-future, especially when it comes to 360-degree video. New York Times, for example, has done a great job creating 360° video, carried by storytelling, rather than the novelty of VR.
Should you get into 360° video?
If you want to be an early adopter, a pioneer in an amazingly exciting field, then the answer is ‘Yes!’ You should jump in and start creating 360° videos as soon as you possibly can. Since it’s an unexplored field, you’ll be able to play around a lot from a creative point of view. I can’t imagine something more fun to do as a creator than that. If you do, consider the limitations and constraints associated to working with technology that isn’t mature yet, as opportunities for you to get your creative juices flowing. Of course, if you’re jumping early onto this, there’ll be some risk involved. One of them being that you audience simply isn’t ready. Consider also what exactly you’re creating and how it can impact people watching it. Since VR is such a new technology, we don’t know its effects yet.
There are various solutions out there for recording, editing and distributing this type of content. It ultimately boils down to your budget and getting used to a new workflow. Casey Neistat is among the first YouTube megastars playing around with 360° video. He uses a Samsung 360 Gear camera, which makes it possible to record, edit and share your video with only your phone. Then there’s the GoPro Omni—a full end-to-end solution. However, the price for this piece of toy is steep. You’ll have to shell out 4,999 USD to start playing around with it. The Samsung 360 Gear is more affordable, costing around 345 USD.
All of this aside, you still must keep in mind that there’s a limited amount of VR headsets out there. Fairly few people will be able to fully enjoy your creation—but someone needs to be first, right?
The best way to experience a 360° video is with a VR headset. However, I’ve had quite a few great moments using my smartphone looking around. While I do look a bit goofy flailing around with my phone in public places, I’ve still managed to feel somewhat immersed. It’s no secret that giants like YouTube and Facebook are looking at how to make it as enjoyable as possible to watch and share videos.
The future of VR is exciting, indeed. While there’s a lot to take in now in the beginning, those that are willing to jump in will get a head start. If you’re lucky to have a VR headset, and have seen Netflix immensely popular TV show Stranger Things, then you need to check out this video. With all of this said, I hope to see you get creative and am looking forward to seeing your creations.