We recently completed work on a set of virtual reality (VR) tradeshow videos for one of our pharmaceutical clients. The central idea was to help healthcare professionals experience the world from the perspective of six different patients, and the audience reaction was intense.

While this wasn’t our first work with VR, this project convinced us of VR’s potential beyond the realm of video games and theme park attractions. Connecting healthcare professionals with their patients’ experiences was transformational, and it gave us a glimpse of how this technology could be used to tell important, untold stories.

The Brella Blog is dedicating the next several blogs to demystifying the ins and outs of VR video and the production process.

Note that when people talk about VR experiences, they tend to use broad-strokes language, and conflate different media and tech. For the purpose of these blogs, we will be discussing VR video content that you can view in 360 degrees. We invite you to join us on this informational journey. Let’s begin with some basics.

What Exactly Is VR?

The easiest way to understand this type of VR is to think of it as video in 360°. Imagine you’re watching a video of a white sand beach. The beach stops at the edge of the image. You’re looking straight ahead at the image. If you look too far to the left and right or up and down, you no longer see the beach. However, with VR or 360° video, looking left and right or up and down triggers the video to move, mimicking how you see things in the real world, and thus revealing more of the beachfront area. Wrapping the video (and the beach scene) completely around you as if it was projected on the inside of a giant sphere and you are in the center. Immersing you in the experience and tricking your brain into believing you are actually there. It’s as though you were actually standing in the middle of the surf and sand. In that instant, a seemingly ordinary beachfront video becomes far more intriguing and filled with creative possibilities. That’s the amazing power inherent with the VR format.

VR Headset Not Needed

You’ve probably seen people wearing those kinda cool, kinda dorky VR headsets; while it’s true that wearing a headset when watching a 360° video can create totally immersive viewing exploration, the headgear is not required. With current technology, VR can be deployed without a headset. With a swipe of a finger, a turn of the body, or a click of the mouse, you can achieve a similar world-immersion effect just by looking at a phone, tablet, or even a desktop computer screen. In fact, now that VR is freed from the headset environment, the format has moved from being a niche entertainment to a new channel for all types of content.

Join the Storytelling Revolution

How can we use this technology? That is the discussion every company needs to be having right now. Do a quick search for “VR video” or “360° video” on YouTube and you will see the beginnings of a storytelling revolution. Would you like to sit in the cockpit of a jet and fly with the Blue Angels? Go for a scuba dive? Or even take a tour of the British Museum? With VR (with or without a headset), the ways in which companies use video to promote their products and services, tell stories, train staff, or even educate students, is ripe for reinvention.

Creating Good VR Video Requires Expertise

A well-made VR video makes all the challenges that go into the production process seem invisible and effortless. And it’s supposed to look that way. But in reality, developing an engaging VR video requires the right mix of creativity, planning, and technical expertise. As we will discuss in our next blog, that development starts with gaining a solid understanding of the VR production process and working with a knowledgeable video team.

Beyond the Blog

The Brella Blog is just the beginning and so is VR. If your company is interested in having a more in-depth conversation about developing your next video, event, programming, or design project, contact Brella.