Recapping the top stories covered on the VRScout Report, a weekly podcast discussing the best in VR, hosted by Malia Probst. YouTube tells you where people are looking in your 360 videos AND embraces 180 degree video, Google’s 180 degree camera, the Meta-Cookie project gets weird and alters your taste, and Intel leans into sports in a big virtual way…
1. YOUTUBE KNOWS WHERE YOU’RE LOOKING
At VidCon, YouTube made several announcements: a heatmaps app to track attention for 360 videos, a new 180-degree video format, and 180-degree cameras. Using color to signal hot spots of where people are looking, if your 360 video has 1,000 or more views you can have access to these metrics. Of course, YouTube has been using these metrics internally– and have found that the majority of people just don’t want to turn around to watch 360 videos. It turns out that 75% of people watch only the front 90% of 360 videos. These results probably informed YouTube’s next announcement…
2. …IN WHICH YOUTUBE SAYS 180 DEGREE VIDEO IS GOOD ENOUGH
Perhaps worried about tasking their content engine personalities with the high ask of creating good 360 video, YouTube has released a 180 degree video format—half the size. Now you won’t have to hide the boom mic and camera crew or learn any new editing skills—you can just point and shoot to get glorious stereoscopic 3D video. Perfect for live streaming as it lowers the needed bandwidth, it’s not only easier for you to get closer to your favorite content creator—but is the perfect match for live performances like sports and music… and let’s face it, we’re lazy and don’t really want to look behind us anyways.
3. GOOGLE’S 180 DEGREE CAMERA
Partnering with LG, Lenovo and YI Technology, Google is making a new category of point-and-shoot 180 degree cameras. Along with their VR180 YouTube video format, this is yet another foray into lowering the barrier to entry for YouTube creators to create more immersive content. The tech and search giant is also releasing a certification program, and Z CAM is the first manufacturer partner—and YouTube has enough power to coerce plenty of other companies to join. As all this 180 content will display as traditional 16:9 videos on flat monitors, this could potentially be more efficient for content creators– essentially making a typical video AND an immersive one at the same time.
4. THE VIRTUAL COOKIE PROJECT
If you’ve ever been defeated by a diet, perhaps this experimental prototype from Japan could help you: the “Meta Cookie” project. By using digital overlays to alter the perception of size of a real world cookie, you would be convinced that a(n actually) smaller cookie was much bigger—thereby reducing portion size. Not content to merely change the size of food, the developmental headset pumps out different scents—and the smell of something like vanilla or strawberry creates the sensation that the bland cookie is actually that flavor. It could be interesting (or horribly dystopian) to add this to institutions notorious for bad food, like hospitals.
5. INTEL WANTS TO CHANGE HOW YOU WATCH SPORTS
Intel has been leaning big into sports as a way to showcase their technology, and they keep getting more ambitious with virtual reality. The chip giant acquired two VR-related companies in the past 18 months: Replay Technology (they paid $175M for the Israeli company, which uses volumetric capture techniques for sweeping 360 replays of big sports moments) and Voke (manufacturer of a stereoscopic camera that live-streams to different devices and channels). Intel is not only working with the NFL to install their system for 360 volumetric replays (they have already been working with the NBA) to pro football stadiums, but the company has also announced a partnership with the Olympics— bringing you that much closer to your favorite international champions.
…and just a few more…
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STUDY SHOW VR CAN AFFECT RACIAL BIASES
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