The popularity of VR is constantly increasing and pushes the boundaries. Thus the question how to create VR content becomes one of the most frequently asked. Virtual reality still has not made its grand breakthrough due to the reliance on many technical factors and the progress done by other disciplines. But we can state that the process is accelerating as the VR technology finds its way to hearts of the mass consumer which also makes marketers and manufacturers more interested in it.
Production of the high-grade content motivates the adoption of VR because it is exactly the thing that excites people the most. Everyone is tired of traditional media and ordinary delivering of the information. That is why it so important to concentrate on creating engaging content that will further popularize VR. But in order to create this content, you must understand the method and basic principles first.
The art of creating VR content
When we’re talking about content that will be used for building a virtual reality application there are two ways far popular than the rest:
- Making an immersive 360-degree video in the real world environment;
- Rely on 3D animation that goes beyond real life limits.
The first one is certainly way cheaper, though it does not mean it is bad or inferior. A 360-degree video is a perfect solution for creating an ultimate immersive experience of any event from the real world. It requires certain equipment to do so. For example, a spherical camera with the 360-degree lens to do the shooting, tripods, and Steadicams to make the video smooth and even, etc. Using a drone is also a viable option. For post-production work, you will also need special editing software like Videostitch that will help with the footage stitching ensuring high quality of the end product. When you cannot produce a video using the real world environment, then it is time to seek answers in 3D animation.
With 3D animation, you are limited only by your fantasy. Your viewers are free to check and explore the place they have been brought into. Unlike 360-degree videos where users are not allowed to move as they are fixed in one place. Sure it is still possible to rotate the camera to see the full picture, but the 3D animation is just another level of freedom. In the virtual 3D space, you can go wherever you want and interact with certain objects.
These two methods are rather distinctive, so we think it would be wise to give you a quick breakdown on best practices concerning each technique. In addition to that, we will also name some benefits of using each way of creating VR content below.
Making a perfect 360-degree video
Just like any other ordinary video, your footage must be entertaining in the first place. Otherwise, no one is going to watch it even with VR technology attached. This is why shouldn’t be afraid to experiment, use multiple entry points, and bold angles. Also, bear in mind that you’re creating content for viewers that have different levels of familiarity with VR. It is important to get everyone satisfied, so you must think of multiples ways to interact with the content. Also don’t forget about clear instructions, choices, and hints to remind users about VR options.
Are you ready to change your reality?
Make sure that your VR content is looking good on every device that can be used for viewing 360-degree videos: a desktop, smartphone, tablet, or gadgets like Google Cardboard and Daydream. Viewing 360-degree images on a computer with a mouse must be as smooth as moving or sliding a tablet for the same purpose and vice versa. Getting positive reactions from interacting with the app is just as important as the content itself.
Just as we mentioned above – user guiding is crucial for your success. Don’t hesitate to put instructions at every stage: on your website, in the app, etc. You might think that it will alienate newcomers, but if done properly it will educate them allowing to get full VR experience. This way you can be sure that people are not just staring at room corners, but exploring the environment.
Little necessary things
When it comes to the production of 360-degree videos some practices tend to perform better than the other. Be sure to use at least one these in every clip.
To make your content more exciting use an element of surprise in your videos. It works extremely well in VR. You must surprise, make people wonder, or even scare them to get emotions. Just don’t go too far with scaring techniques as they can easily transform into a negative experience. Remember: the presence of the unknown frightens the most, not mindless jump scares with extreme voiceover. Imagine a scene where you’re going through a long semi-dark corridor, and then an apparition suddenly appears in front of you only to disappear before reaching your face. That would be a good example of surprise technique.
As for shooting techniques – they are many. So we’re going to mention just a few, most important, here. Acceleration of the camera movement is one of those methods that can make any 360-degree video cooler and more exciting. Just like with the previous technique – don’t over-do the speed limit and acceleration time. In other words, no one wants to see «the fast and furious» camera the entire time. A good example of using acceleration technique would be speeding up during a short segment of an intense chase after peaceful exploration. It can be a car chase, parkour escape, etc.
Reach out and touch
This is probably the best way to tease your viewers. Get the object very close to them urging to touch it. They will surely try to do so and won’t be disappointed even after failing to grab a nonexistent thingy. On the contrary, such mind games are pure fun. When doing this «reach-and-touch» trick, it is advisable to go with the stereoscopic technology, though this effect can be achieved with monoscopic as well. Who can resist touching a virtual hand of the protagonist that reaches you from the screen?
Benefits of using 360-degrees videos
According to recent research and surveys, such videos are motivating the audience to watch more, interact, and immerse into the action. So it is a perfect instrument for creating engaging 360 video advertisements. Although retention rates of such ads are lower in comparison with standard ads, they have a higher CTR. This means that viewers are interested in full-length video contents. So using a 360-degree video as a promo of the ad works just great. Even the smallest (but well-presented) bit of the promo in 360-degree format is enough to motivate consumers and make them want more.
Interesting fact: the interaction rate parameter – which indicates how often the 360 functionality has been activated by tilting or scrolling – is higher than the view-through rate for longer 360 ads. It allows concluding that such ads grab people’s attention via interaction functionality, even if users didn’t watch the full clip.
360 video as the motivating factor
Besides unlimited creative options for viewers and creators of the content as well, 360 videos offer better engagement with increased conversion rates. The masses are more likely to answer your marketing efforts when you can make them a part of the event, not just an outside observer. 360-degree ads and videos surpass conventional clips on all action metrics: views, shares, comments, etc. This is what you want from your presentation – attention plus feedback.
On average 360 videos earn 40% more actions in comparison with standard ads.
With the recent popularization of this technique, we believe that 360 videos have a lot of potentials to discover. This method puts viewers in control of the action with all options needed for comfortable and exciting exploration. The innovation in watching not only draw people’s attention but also urges them to share VR content. So it is the easiest way to make your brand known on the Web. Creative mind-blowing videos become viral and earn millions of views – just get the idea right! We hope that in the nearest future this technology will continue to evolve making more brands interested in the format.
3D Animation and VR
3D animation is the way to go when you want to achieve better immersion and give your app a more real feel. Users are free to move wherever they want, take a closer look at objects around, and interact with them as they would in real life.
One of the easiest ways to create a virtual environment is to use Structure Sensor that will work as a 3D scanner while being attached to a tablet. Everything that catches this scanner in the real world becomes a virtual 3D model. It includes rooms, furniture, and even people! Structure Sensor is compatible with Android tablets and Apple’s iPad.
If you want to go big, then you can try using game engines like Unity or Unreal. These are game development tools in the first place, but nothing prevents you from using them to create 3D models, constructions, and interior designs. With the help of detailed tutorials and dedicated team of professionals, you can deliver a solid 3D VR experience on both engines. For developers familiar with Adobe After Effects we would also recommend checking Mettle’s Skybox Studio.
Why use VR?
All in all, it is an effective marketing tool! With the virtual reality experience, it gets much easier to attract people’s attention, convince them to check your product, and make them talk about it. The better VR content you create, the bigger buzz you get. So betting on entertaining content with full 3D animation is totally justified if you have the resources. Powerful marketing campaign backed up by such bold experiments will yield immediate advantages over the competition.
If you think of it, virtual reality has a great impact on the consumers and purchasing process. Choosing between classical advertisement and innovative experience( which is also useful and entertaining!) shouldn’t be hard, right? In addition to that, you can offer your customers a journey into the brand universe taking interaction with a client to a whole new level.
With more virtual reality devices appearing on the stage many brands begin to use VR headsets in their boutiques offering unforgettable shopping experience. Right now we’re witnessing the reinvention of sale points along with the evolution of applications for wide marketing usage. So it is crucial not to miss this pivotal moment and join the stream. And believe us there are tons of areas to flood with VR content: event management, promo campaigns, trade shows, sightseeing tours, virtual trips, etc.
Informed, armed, and prepared
Of course, it still requires time for VR to be fully integrated into marketing strategies. It still needs some aspects to be perfected for mass usage. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t neglect the opportunity this technology provides you with. Issues like low resolution, latency, or device bulkiness will be resolved very soon as the technology evolves. Virtual reality is already looking promising and fascinating, so it is just about time to hop on this train with your own vision of creating VR content.