Updated: Jan 3, 2020
Written by: Evan Goodfellow
YouTube makes a strategic move to bridge the gap between current 2-D video and the future 3-D by creating VR180. They also have gone to great efforts to make the transition easy for those using the software.
Hints of the Future
Working in the market research online community business has me hyper aware of what people are doing, and what trends are slowly forming. The other day I was waiting in line for my coffee and to no surprise, everyone around me including myself was transfixed to the phone screen. I knew what I was looking at and began wondering what everyone was looking at? Over the course of the next couple of days I began to pay attention to the screens of those around me, without being overtly nosey. The majority seemed to be going back and forth between Facebook, and Instagram, and some form of messenger with friends. Facebook seemed to feature videos, articles that people would click and read through, while Instagram was looking at photos of others. The question I began to wonder was, what will we all be looking at in 10 years from now?
Immersive Content is the Future
We have seen from our own SaskWatch Online Research Community the desire many have for more immersive content in the websites they enjoy going to. The newest technology seems to be a push towards more immersive content. If people are willing to spend so much time staring at their friends still vacation photos on Instagram and Facebook, it is a safe bet that they would like to experience those images in an even more immersive format. In a recent article by Wired entitled, “With VR180, YouTube steps gingerly toward virtual reality,” the author David Pierce looks at YouTube’s efforts to create a VR friendly side to the platform. The author sets out stating that many claimed that this was going to be the year of VR but the technology is not where it needs to be. To create VR content requires a lot of money, and special cameras and editing software, for a market that just isn’t there yet.
YouTube is betting that this market for VR is coming soon, as they recently announced VR180 which is a format they are creating to make creating VR content more easily. They partnered with LG, Lenovo, and Yi (a Chinese company) to come out with VR180 cameras. The goal being to move from the current 2-D video to 3-D. Pierce is quick to point out that “VR180 does not in any way qualify as virtual reality. Rather, the format renders 180-degree video in stereoscopic 3-D.” The picture is wider than your field of view so you have to turn your head slightly, and the stereoscopy helps provide depth and scale.
But what makes YouTube’s efforts at VR unique is their ease of use. Erin Teaque, YouTube’s VR product manager states, “ There’s no need to master new editing techniques, stress about what sits behind the camera, or waste time telling viewers how to move their smartphone around or drag a video on their laptop. Best of all, in a perfect world, VR180 frees people from choosing between making high-quality videos for everyone and making immersive videos for early adopters.” To the average user, VR180 video looks like other video. But when you put on the Daydream headset the footage fills your field of view and the effects are fully realized.
YouTube worked with Adobe to ensure that their editing software would be able to handle VR180. Their hopes is that other editing software such as Final Cut and Avid will follow suit. The benefit of VR180 is that it creates an immersive feeling without having to deal with the file size of 360 video. This new effort also was able to gain partners with LG, Yi, and Lenovo to make special cameras to film 180 degree.
Strategically Bridging the Future Gap
This move by YouTube was strategic to bridge the gap between where consumers are now, and where they think they will end up. Rather than wait in the distant future for customers YouTube is creating a product that is more immediate and will be instrumental in carrying them closer to the end goal of immersive 3-D virtual reality.
We believe that market research is important to understand where your customers are at, and what change they are willing to adopt. We work with companies helping them implement Market Research Online Community software so that they can understand where their customers are, and to help them introduce new products and ideas.
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