I’m mindful that in any conversation about virtual reality (VR) and 360 video, there is always a range of knowledge, experience and understanding, and thus it must begin with a definition.
“Talking about virtual reality is like dancing about architecture.” – Chris Milk.
Virtual Reality vs 360 Video
VR is a computer-generated, simulated, interactive environment in which the observer’s senses are completely immersed. VR allows you to interact with 3D worlds and thus create your own experience. In a 360 video an environment is filmed in every direction simultaneously, allowing the user to place themself inside a video experience and view the full 360 degrees around them.
Have I confused you yet? Refer to the quote at the start. The only way to understand this experiential medium is to experience it for yourself (or at the very least spend a couple of hours watching TED talks on it.
If you haven’t had an experience with 360 video yet, do yourself a favour and purchase a headset for your smartphone. In Australia you can get them for around $20 from places like JB Hi-Fi and Officeworks or even cheaper online. Start with the “Discovery VR” app, the “Within” app or the “YouTube” app, and see what’s out there!
So, what does this have to do with you and your business world? Well, I think there are 5 reasons you should start embracing 360 video:
It’s the future
Firstly and most importantly, this quite simply is the future, and sometime soon you won’t have a choice. It’s a young and immature medium but, with anything of this nature, the spoils can go to early adopters.
Presence is a state or fact of being present. The body is tricked into believing it is somewhere else and the brain is fooled into thinking it is real. If you could take your audience anywhere you want, where would it be? This technology allows you to do that.
Immersion is a state of being deeply engaged or involved. It is all-encompassing for your senses, with no opportunity to multi-task. If your content is immersive, you will have people’s attention like nothing else. If you had your customers’ full attention, what would you tell them?
360 video and VR can be a visceral and emotive experience. It creates a deeper connection by transporting someone to another place and putting them inside an experience. If you could create a deep, emotional connection with your audience what would it be?
You can be in the shoes of someone else, feeling their experience. One application of this would be being transported to a Syrian refugee camp, for example. You can gain a whole new understanding of the plight of those people. It’s a powerful, humanizing experience.
But there are many other, less obvious uses for empathy in marketing and storytelling to inspire and affect people’s feelings towards your brand. If you could make your customers feel anything, what would it be?
Is this relevant to me?
I don’t know what your business is, but I can guarantee no matter who you are you can benefit from a deeper connection with your customers — from having their full attention, from not fighting so much noise (and Facebook algorithms!) and from making them feel something for your brand. Maybe 360 can help you do this?
Smartphones began as an extension of the computer into a more portable and personable space. In the same way, VR has begun as the more immersive and experiential extension of your smartphone. And it’s that smartphone (probably in your hand right now) that is the key to getting started and reaching your audience through 360 video. Get started with it soon.
Want to experience VR and 360 video for yourself? The team at Lush Digital Media would love to show you. Get in touch.
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Brand Newsroom: Dos and don’ts of corporate video [podcast with show notes]