from the ontology-rules dept.
Google is launching VR180, a format which ignores the world behind the camera:
Google is launching a new, more limited cinematic VR format that it hopes will be almost as accessible as regular YouTube videos. It's called VR180, a collaboration between YouTube and Google's Daydream VR division. And it'll be produced with a new line of cameras from Yi, Lenovo, and LG, as well as other partners who meet VR180 certification standards.
As the name suggests, VR180 videos don't stretch all the way around a viewer in VR. They're supposed to be immersive if you're facing forward, but you can't turn and glance behind you. Outside VR, they'll appear as traditional flat videos, but you can watch them in 3D virtual reality through the YouTube app with a Google Cardboard, Daydream, or PlayStation VR headset.
Creators can shoot the videos using any camera with a VR180 certification. Google's Daydream team is working with the three companies above, and the first of their VR180 products are supposed to launch this winter, at roughly the same price as a point-and-shoot camera. So far, the only image we've seen is the one above, a line drawing of Lenovo's design. It appears to have two wide-angle lenses that can shoot stereoscopic video, and it's a far cry from the expensive alien orbs that we often see in VR film shoots.
Highly Related: Virtual Reality Audiences Stare Straight Ahead 75% of the Time
Google's video vault offers that advice on the basis of heat maps it's created based on analysis of where VR viewers point their heads while wearing VR goggles. There's just such a heat map at the top of this story (or here for m.reg readers) and a bigger one here.
The many heat maps YouTube has made lead it to suggest that VR video creators "Focus on what's in front of you: The defining feature of a 360-degree video is that it allows you to freely look around in any direction, but surprisingly, people spent 75% of their time within the front 90 degrees of a video. So don't forget to spend significant time on what's in front of the viewer."
YouTube also advises that "for many of the most popular VR videos, people viewed more of the full 360-degree space with almost 20% of views actually being behind them." Which sounds to El Reg like VR viewers are either staring straight ahead, or looking over their shoulders with very little time being devoted to sideways glances.
A video channel wants people to treat VR like video. Hmmm. Perhaps the answer to their question is in the question: people should be considered "participants" instead of an "audience."
Facebook is attempting to make virtual reality a mainstream product, and hopes to reach one billion VR users "one day":
In its continued effort to take virtual reality mainstream, Facebook has announced Oculus Go - a standalone headset that will be released in 2018. Mark Zuckerberg said the device, priced at $199, would be the "most accessible VR experience ever".
Sales of the company's VR hardware have been slow since launching the first Oculus Rift headset in March 2016. "If VR doesn't go mass market at this price point, I think we can conclude that it never will," said John Delaney, an analyst with IDC. Facebook's previous budget VR product, Gear VR, is $129, but requires a high-end Samsung smartphone in order to work. Speaking at Facebook's yearly virtual reality developers conference in San Jose, Mr Zuckerberg acknowledged the slow adoption of the technology to date. But he said his company's goal was that one day, it would get one billion people into VR.
Oculus Go is not being sold anytime soon, and the Oculus blog warns that "Oculus Go is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until [FCC] authorization is obtained". Facebook says that the devices will be sent to developers within the next 12 months. Specs and battery details are also unknown (maybe they need to use one of these for you to feel safe strapping it to your head).
Previously: Google Partnering With HTC and Lenovo for Standalone VR Headsets
Virtual Reality Audiences Stare Straight Ahead 75% of the Time
Google Bisects VR
Facebook/Oculus Reportedly Working on $200 Standalone VR Headset
Google has published code and details for VR180, a video/photo format intended for simpler devices to capture or display content for virtual reality:
For Google's VR180 to become successful, manufacturers and developers have to be onboard, creating devices and churning out videos and apps that use the format. That's why the tech giant is now opening it up to hardware-makers and devs by publishing the remaining details on how they can start engaging with the format and offer VR180 products. When Google-owned platform YouTube introduced VR180 last year, it introduced the format as a way for creators to shoot immersive photos and videos for VR headsets that still have a normal perspective when viewed on a phone or PC.
From Google's blog:
For VR180 video, we simply extended the Spherical Video Metadata V2 standard. Spherical V2 supports the mesh-based projection needed to allow consumer cameras to output raw fisheye footage. We then created the Camera Motion Metadata Track so that you're able to stabilize the video according to the camera motion after video capture. This results in a more comfortable VR experience for viewers. The photos that are generated by the cameras are written in the existing VR Photo Format pioneered by Cardboard Camera.
Good news for the stereoscopic 3D imaging enthusiasts out there.
Previously: Google Bisects VR