Virtual & Augmented Reality in modern day media
What is Virtual Reality?
In short explanation, Virtual Reality (VR) is simulated environment that sets you inside its generated world, providing immersive experiences interaction with 3D generated world. It provides a new way for people to interact with media.
Virtual Reality technology
Now the question is how to use VR and how does it really work? Surprisingly, It is easy to access to VR and it is not as complex as it may sound, but the only limitation of obtaining this is the price of itself. One of the best VR headsets is Oculus Rift.
Oculus Rift, one of the VR headsets available on the market on market.
To use VR, you will need to have a compatible hardware such as PS4 or mid-range to high-end computer. Then you simply connect VR headset to your computer or any device that can run it. What it will do is to trick you to its 3D world by using its ability that plays with our sense perception from seeing, hearing to interacting. Basically, in every VR headsets, there are sensors and controller that allow you to freely move in simulated word.
With its richness to expand sense perception experiences; VR applies into many different fields, for instances entertainment, education, health, manufacturing, tourism and advertisement and military.
- Media and Entertainment – Well known to many, VR is commonly used in many industries; from movies to gaming. The game titled Beat Saber, a reality rhythm game, is a great example of a popular VR games that let you be a two-sworded Jedi who has to slash the boxes according to the music beats and evade the obstacles at the same time. The game itself receives a lot of positive feedbacks.
Beat Saber gameplay interface.
Unfortunately, there are not as many VR games as the mainstream platform games, still more game developers has invested lots of their resources into making more VR games that would bring audiences more immersively stunning experiences.
Besides from gaming, VR is also recognised in some movies’ production stage, for instance Ready Player One where Steven Spielberg used VR set to decide where he would lay down the cameras in CGI shots.
Here is the Clip of Steven Spielberg using VR to direct Ready Player One.
Steven Spielberg using VR technology to decide where to place cameras in his CGI scenes movie, Ready Player One.
2.Education – with the advancement of technology, we can now have more advantages of engaging studies. It can so much be beneficial and big improvement in education quality because of its immersive experiences that sparks the joy of learning. It drives students to engage more compared to original learning formula that we are now using. One example app related to this is VReddo a virtual reality education platform. It has a virtual classroom that has everything identical with real world classroom where both instructor and students can gain access from anywhere around the world. Moreover, it allows the instructor to use powerpoint presentation, projection of 3D hologram into the classroom or even bring student into ancient places using 360 video in history class.
VReddo classroom where students and teacher can fully engage with contents.
What is Augmented Reality? (AR)
Augmented reality or what we called AR for short, takes the capabilities of computer-generated display, sound, text and effects and combines these elements with reality-based display which offer us users better better and enhanced view of the world. The term AR can be associated with mixed reality and computer-mediated reality.
Augmented Reality Technology
So how does this little technology work you might be asking, Augmented Reality works by acquiring all sorts of data and information – camera sensors acquire user’s surrounding information, processing depth information and mapping in order to directly shows content that users are looking at. An example would be when you’re using AR navigation, the camera captured the image and the computer process the location and recognizes the objects. Then the application put labels onto the image on screen. Many modern devices already supported AR: smartphones, tablets, computers to Google Glasses and many more.
Augmented Reality Notable Application
With its ability to alter reality, augmented reality has been in use in many different fields & industries all over the world. Here are some notable ones.
- Games – Gotta catch ’em all! Pokemon GO is one of the biggest mobile game release that takes full advantage of AR. It uses smartphones’ GPS to locate, catch and train these virtual creatures we known and love called “Pokemon”. The game topped the iOS App Store’s “Top Grossing” and “Free” charts in no time. Crossing more than 1 million downloads by February of 2019, and grossing over $3 million dollars in December 2018.
- Fashion – the AR trend recently has sparked some brand retailers to implement AR into their shopping experience. Experimenting with the technology helps brands boost engagement with audience and thus more profit can be made. It also provides users better shopping experience. One example would be the LCST Lacoste AR app, this app lays down windows display, postcards and in-store sign. Users could virtually try on shoes through this app. American Apparel also did the similar approach, users can use mobile app to scan their in-store product sign and the app will pull up the product information, all of the colors, availability, and other users reviews.
VR and AR on the Media
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality present a whole new distinct format for media companies. Transitioning from expensive and niche gaming equipments, to a new mainstream mediums of news, social media, and entertainment. Therefore, AR and VR brings up a new market and opportunities for new media companies. Many media companies across the globe, from The New York Times, to Vox, to social media companies like Facebook, have heavily invested in this new technology whether in research or content creation. Although, this technology is still in its experimental phase.
We’re going to take a look at how each media company adapts VR and AR: first with big legacy news company, and then contemporary company, and then its social media take.
New York Times
It seems to be faster for New york times for being the very first knowing the current trend among other fellow news companies. They created a dedicated app for VR content called NYT VR, examples for their spectacular VR content would be “The fight for Falluja” a 360 VR documentary that has more than 3 millions views on youtube. This documentary is about Iraqi forces retaking the their homeland from ISIS.
Sam Dolnick, an associate editor at the New York Times who oversees the company’s virtual reality projects said: “It started off as a dare. We got excited about the storytelling opportunities offered by immersive video, and wondered, ‘How it can make you experience stories in a different way?’ We’ve got journalists out in interesting places everyday with notepads and cameras,” he said. “So we said, ‘What if we outfitted them with a 360 camera?’”
We all are already familiar with Buzzfeed, but now this time they are regarded as the pioneer in using innovative VR technology creating its viral contents. They recently partnered with youtube to create content for Youtube VR app and after the launching of support of 360 VR video, Buzzfeed uploads most of their content there.
Here is some of their popular 360 VR videos. “How Animals See The World”
How Animals See The World video demonstrating how different kind animals see the world.
Ok, since most of the media companies largely invest a lot of money in to VR technology. Let us now take a look at Social media company that is well known for using their AR technology. They make AR technology more approachable, interesting and become less unfamiliar. According to article of Adweek, stated that “To casual observers, Snapchat’s applications of AR might look whimsical and trivial. But they matter very much. When people use AR to play games, create content and socialize, they’re enhancing natural behaviors—behaviors that make us more comfortable adopting technology because they don’t feel forced. Then when an AR app comes along that asks users to accomplish more complicated tasks, such as learning a skill on the job, AR seems less foreign” credit:https://www.adweek.com/digital/why-snapchat-matters-to-the-future-of-augmented-reality/