Since VR is a relatively new media, content creators launch their VR journey with a clean slate. Unlike in graphic design or architecture, there are no long-set conventions about depth, FOV, and storytelling in VR. Developers make up their own rules as they go, working with an experimental approach about how to create VR tours and content. On their path, they encounter challenges, but these are fast being tackled by innovation and the passage of time.
Mass Access to VR Tech is a Process
VR and AR have already been widely accepted in the gaming industry, such as in Sony PlayStation, Pokémon Go and other VR 360 games, but in other industries it’s still in earlier stages. Much of technology adoption is about time and habit forming. Just like with GPS or autonomous devices, people have to get used to the new medium, see it everywhere, use it widely and stop viewing it as a high-end gimmick. People have to be exposed to the whole range of exciting possibilities – from marketing to tourism to wider access to national treasures – to fully comprehend the potential of VR. As VR has started to prove its value in industries such as fashion, hotels and travel, it’s expected to spread fast in 2018.
VR Tours that Enhance the Message
One of the key challenges in creating VR content is being able to effectively convey a place, story, idea or concept, in a way that the VR effects add to the story rather than distracting attention from the main theme. 3D technology should enhance the message, complement it, help build it and not detract from it. It should engage the viewer and keep him/her immersed from beginning to end. With the right content, the viewer should feel as though they actually visited the place or had the experience in person.
The Advance of 3D Tech
During the past few years, VR systems required an external computing device, be it a smartphone, game console or PC. However, along with many other technologies that are enjoying higher performance and more compact dimensions, standalone VR systems are being released to overcome this hurdle.
Online VR also requires high communication rates. Dr. Yogendra Shah, senior director at InterDigital Communications, remarked: “If you want augmented reality in your devices, you want to push your download data rates to 10 Ghz.” Shah said the spectrum currently available for cellular communication is simply not adequate for the demands VR and AR will place on networks. “Today’s 4G communication is based on sub-6 Ghz. That spectrum is not enough. You need to expand the spectrum to much higher bands.” While there is definitely room for improvements, even with current communication rates some online platforms offer high performance for VR experiences.
Driving Down Prices
For many years, VR was a very expensive media, and to create it, you needed programming experts, high performance computers and expensive filming equipment. But this is changing. The Oculus Rift 3D camera, one of the most expensive virtual reality headset options, which was previously offered for $499, is now (only) $399 – true, nothing to sneeze at, but still a considerable drop. Today, you can use everyday devices such as your own smartphone, enhanced with a $20 fisheye lens, to shoot your 360 video. Google Cardboard headset cuts cost to nothingness, and as for creating the VR experience – there are professional online tools available at reasonable prices, requiring no programming or technical knowledge. With these tools, VR has become available to the masses.
Waiting for Comfortable VR Headsets
Headsets are improving in comfort as time goes on, but they still don’t fit each and every size. Many of them are still bulky, heavy and stifling, which has an effect on how long users are willing to wear them, even with the promise of enticing content. Many people find the helmets to be daunting and aren’t eager to use them. In the future, hopefully they will be as ergonomic as eyeglasses.
From Frames to Stability
One challenge in creating VR content is that the user is no longer limited to the traditional preset frame, but has a 360 view in each and every shot. This means that all areas of the space should be considered and examined, to make sure that they support the message. As this expands the scope of relevant space, and could also have an impact on the budget. One way of dealing with this is putting an extra emphasis on selecting spaces that are as close as possible to your requirements to begin with.
Another challenge is avoiding panning to prevent viewers from feeling dizzy and damaging their experience. Using a tripod can generally settle this issue.
VR has yet to enable immersive personal interactions which can truly replace real world experiences. Voice interactions are supported, but that’s it. To simulate people’s true appearances, cameras, graphics and sensors will need to evolve some more. We can’t wait!