‘VR’ is a term that gets thrown around a lot these days, and rightfully so as it is the future of media. But it is important to know, both for yourself and for clients, what it is and what it is not, particularly vis-a-vis 360 video.

Here’s a basic rule of thumb to distinguish between what’s truly VR content and what’s just a 360 video: If you can move forwards and backwards, left and right, that’s a VR environment. If you can only look around you, and the entire scene moves with your head, that’s 360 video.

It’s like being in a planetarium. 360 video is like sitting right in the middle of the space, and only being able to look around at what’s projected on the walls around you. While in VR you would be able to walk around the space and potentially interact with items.

Some recent examples to help further the difference. This is a 360 video, even though they call it VR (an extremely common mistake, often made on purpose to get clicks):

Whereas this and the below is VR (note that you can move around and interact with things):

They are also produced in very different ways. 360 video is relatively easier to make, as you just need a 360 camera like this:

14-360rize-6-7-8-camera-360-video-rig-for-blackmagic-design-micro-cinema

Whereas most VR experiences need to be ‘rendered’ and created in a game engine to make it a 3D environment people can move around in.

There are some other important distinctions, which may vary by client. Some people say that anything you watch with a headset is ‘VR’, while 360 video is the kind of stuff you see on Facebook. If clients want you to communicate this way, I’d say go along with it, but technically it is not correct.

More and more clients and people will want ‘VR’ experiences, so it is important to know what it actually is vs what can realistically be created. We should be looking to create experiences like these to keep on the cutting edge of #brand #content.
Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you may have.

-Nestor