Immersive Experience: the content you want, when you need it
Get ready to hear the words “immersive experience” everywhere in the coming years! This will be the brand new phrase used to describe the new audiovisual formats that have just arrived on the web and that you can already find on sites like Youtube and Facebook.
You no longer just have to imagine being at a basketball match played on the other side of the planet, or what it would be like to experience extreme situations with emigrants off the coasts of Lesbos, or what the Gran Canyon in Colorado looks like. Now all of this is available on Youtube and you can watch immersive content as if you were really there. You just need your Smartphone and a pair of cardboard glasses that you can build yourself. Virtual reality (VR, or 360º videos) has really arrived.
The 360 degree videos have amazing effects on their audiences (people were screaming and even felt a bit sick at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, while they were checking out Samsung’s VR system with a video that simulates being on a rollercoaster). But let’s make one thing clear: we are not reinventing the wheel.
On to new audiovisuals formats
VR is creating new audiovisual formats in which the audience is an active subject.
they can choose where they want to look and what to watch by simply turning their heads, a like they would in real life. But this is not suitable for all kinds of audiovisuals.
Virtualizing the content
In this sense, mistakes that were made by the prophets of 3D technology are not being repeated with VR. Not all kinds of stories can be told using this immersive experience and today’s audience, used to quick video editing, begins to loose attention after 10 minutes or even worse, starts to feel sick.
What content will use 360º support as standard? Today, technical and artistic research and experimentation go on, like headless chickens. We can already watch documentaries, reports, music videos, concerts… You can find 360º rigs everywhere, shooting anything and everything. During the Fallas in Valencia, even a cremá was filmed. But not everything is about entertainment, the fact of being able to isolate the audience and control its senses allows campaigns like this one from the Ligue Braille in Belgium to be made, where the audience was able to understand and experience the effects of vision loss caused by diabetic retinopathy.
New VR products will go as far as our imagination will take us. While different companies are developing the best production solutions (GoPro, Nokia, Ricoh…), new kinds of audiovisuals are being created and will consolidate the face of online content, going to places that traditional offline broadcasting stations are not able to. The average audience can already decide what it wants to watch, how much of it and when, without depending on schedules. All around the world, we audiovisual professionals are working hard to try and understand where the limits of VR are and what can be produced that is new and actually useful. In Valencia, production companies such as NOP Films are experimenting with all these new possibilities as it prepares new content in these formats for the local public television station RTVV, which aspires to be an interactive TV platform.
What’s the limit? As Einstein said, “Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you anywhere.”
Oscar Corrons – AV Director at NOP Films