360 degree videos have exploded onto peoples screens thanks to Facebook and YouTube now accepting the format. The reaction to these videos have been extraordinary, with even simple 360 videos racking up millions of views. We’re starting to see more and more of these videos uploaded to content sharing websites every day, this is because 360 degree cameras are entering the mainstream market in a price range that normal people can afford. I believe this will revolutionise the way we create and absorb media in the next 10 years, let me explain why.
User Generated Content
There is a reason why we’re seeing 360° cameras entering the marketplace now and that’s because of the reinvention of Virtual Reality. VR headsets look set to dominate 2016 as the new must have technology and they will add a whole new exciting dimension to gaming, I’m particularly looking forward to what horror game creators can come up with. If you look beyond gaming, what else are we going to be using VR headsets for? If you believe the hype, a whole multitude of things, but the most likely is watching video
“imagine watching a 360 video filmed in the centre of Times Square, it’s going to be the closest you can get to experiencing that environment without actually going there”
Watching a 360° video using a VR headset is intended to make you feel like you’re actually in the video itself, sounds exciting right? VR headset owners are going to be demanding a huge number of 360° videos and this is where the first generation of 360° cameras come in. Professional studios and film makers can only make so much, if millions of people want to experience the world of 360° video then there needs to be new videos created daily to justify the expense of buying a VR headset. Now that affordable 360 cameras are on the market, anyone can make a 360° video. You’re going to start seeing YouTube vloggers using 360° video so you actually feel like you’re in the room with them. Travellers filming their adventures with 360° cameras; imagine watching a 360 video filmed in the centre of Times Square, it’s going to be the closest you can get to experiencing that envirnment without actually going there. Normal people creating 360 content is what is going to push the virtual reality revolution into overdrive and it’s only possible thanks to affordable and usable 360° that can be used by anyone.
TV and Film
Imagine your favourite action movie, now imagine this movie filmed with a 360 degree camera and you being able to experience being inside that movie. Whilst we are not quite there yet, I can guarantee that there will be movies made primarily for Virtual Reality headsets within the next 5 years and these will trump any normal cinema experience. Forget 3D movies, VR movies will be the ultimate immersive experience. Instead of feeling like an outside observer, you will feel like a participant in the movie and that will take story telling to a whole new level of detail. The cameras required to do this will be highly advanced and limited to use of major studios, but no doubt there are already plans to get a full 360 movie developed for the millions of people likely to buy into Virtual Reality.
TV networks are going to want a slice of the action too. TV could be revolutionised when the networks develop the technology to live stream 360 video to their entire audience. Imagine TV interview show like Ellen or the Graham Norton Show with a 360 Degree camera placed just in front of the host and guest, you’ll feel like you’re within touching distance of your favourite starts.
Going to miss a family wedding because you’re stuck on the opposite side of the country? Never mind, just ask one of the guest to take a 360° camera with them, pop on your VR headset and give it a call. The 360 camera will let you experience the day just like any other guest. OK, that might be pushing it, but you’ll still be able to look around, see the venue, the bride and speak to all the guests. This could be the future of video calls. 5 friends could be on opposite corners of the country and yet interact with each other in a 3D envirnment thanks to 360° cameras and VR headsets. What will this mean for social interaction long term? Will it discourage people even further from actually going out and meeting people? This could happen to some degree, but I also think it will do much more to connect people who are separated by distance.
This is how I see the future of entertainment evolving with the help of Virtual reality and 360° cameras. Whether this future actually happens is mainly down to the scale of which the technology is adopted, I’m hoping that millions of people jump into the VR revolution and spark an entertainment revolution.