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posted by Fnord666 on Friday June 23, @03:03PM   Printer-friendly
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


Original Submission

Related Stories

Virtual Reality Audiences Stare Straight Ahead 75% of the Time 44 comments

YouTube's revealed the secret to making an engaging virtual reality video: put the best parts right in front of the audience so they don't have to move their heads.

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."


Original Submission

Facebook Announces Oculus Go for $200 9 comments

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.

The headset is a standalone device that does not require a smartphone, headphones, or tether to a desktop computer. The high-end Oculus Rift headset has had its price cut to $400 (for good).

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).

Also at Washington Post and TechCrunch. Oculus Blog.

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


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, @03:37PM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, @03:37PM (#530049)

    After VR360 and VR180 comes VR120 and then VR90 which is just wide-angle photography. Not everything that's possible is a good idea.

    • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Friday June 23, @03:47PM (7 children)

      by Pino P (4721) on Friday June 23, @03:47PM (#530055) Journal

      The 180 degree format sounds superficially similar to the IMAX Dome (formerly OMNIMAX) format [wikipedia.org] used for documentaries.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, @04:28PM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, @04:28PM (#530068)

        There are two cameras, one for each eye, so you get 3D and can usefully move your eyes -- there is more than you can see without moving your eyes.

        What you can't usefully do it tilt your head (ruined 3D effect) move your head around (no data for behind you).

        Now of course, what happens if you do tilt and move your head around? If there is head tracking, you can see a black hemisphere behind you. If there is no head tracking, nausea is likely, because the whole world moves with your head.

        • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Friday June 23, @05:01PM

          by Pino P (4721) on Friday June 23, @05:01PM (#530080) Journal

          What you can't usefully do it tilt your head (ruined 3D effect) move your head around (no data for behind you).

          Drawbacks that IMAX Dome shares. Perhaps over a certain amount of roll, the viewer could fall back to 2D.

          Now of course, what happens if you do tilt and move your head around? If there is head tracking, you can see a black hemisphere behind you.

          Or this hemisphere could be filled with cartoonish heads of a virtual audience in the seats of a dome.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday June 23, @05:09PM (3 children)

          by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday June 23, @05:09PM (#530086) Journal

          I was thinking that the same footage could be mirrored to cover 360 degrees. Or black void. Or some crazy visualization that might be based on the video. Or a cartoon audience. There are many possibilities.

          How about a UI? You check out front facing video, and when you're done you can turn around and select something from a catalog. Thumbnails + UI elements on a background.

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          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, @06:28PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, @06:28PM (#530143)

            > black void...select something from a catalog

            "My God, it's full of ads!"

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 24, @02:12AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 24, @02:12AM (#530385)

            Pirouettes after every 5-minute youtube video? With perhaps a side order of mad powerglove gesticulation to flip through the "catalog"?

            If you can convince Americans to do that, you'll have solved our obesity problem.

            • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday June 24, @03:34AM

              by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Saturday June 24, @03:34AM (#530422) Journal

              Of course the YouTube autoplay feature + VR180 could kill any chance at slimming Amerifats.

              At least with Cardboard, you know there is content behind you. Now, nothing! Just lay on your bed, stare straight up, listen to foley artists and watch GoPro spelunking.

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        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, @06:20PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 23, @06:20PM (#530136)

          Can't wait to see the remake of A Clockwork Orange in this new format!

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday June 23, @04:43PM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday June 23, @04:43PM (#530075) Journal

      Pairs well with this article:

      https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=17/06/19/1436221 [soylentnews.org]

      The major VR headsets have a FOV of about 90-100 degrees. They'll probably go wider in the future, but still...

      Now it would be cool to do a number of things with this format, such as render some sort of visualization in the unused area. Or you could just do a mirror image of the 180 video.

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  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday June 23, @04:30PM (3 children)

    by kaszz (4211) on Friday June 23, @04:30PM (#530070) Journal

    Couldn't they just make a format that has a variable scope of view. Instead of limiting beforehand on what can be done?

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday June 23, @05:04PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday June 23, @05:04PM (#530083) Journal

      It's about the hardware. Apparently, their cheap front-facing camera design can take video with a 180 degree field of view. It sort of looks like a normal camera and will be much cheaper and easier to use than the 360° camera balls. Although I'm sure there will be a lot of video taken with somebody's thumb in the field of view.

      Making something that could do 240 degree video, for example, would be a more complicated design than the mockup from TFA.

      180 * 2 = 360. There could be some software advantages to that. Easier to calculate stuff since it's just half, possibility of mirroring the same footage exactly to cover 360 degrees, etc.

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      • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday June 23, @05:34PM

        by Immerman (3985) on Friday June 23, @05:34PM (#530104)

        Don't forget the possibility of stitching together the footage from two 180* cameras into a full 360* view. It'd still have lots of limitations that I (think) don't apply to decent VR ball cameras, but for "youtube VR" enthusiasts it should make for a decent enough entry point.

    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Friday June 23, @06:26PM

      by cafebabe (894) on Friday June 23, @06:26PM (#530141) Journal

      Google VR180 seems to be completely contrary to Google's royalty-free AOMedia Video 1 codec [soylentnews.org] which could provide field-of-view angles and/or wrap-around flags. Instead, this requires "VR180 certification" and, presumably, a cryptographic signature or a proprietary format. It also reminds me very strongly of the 180 film format which was popular at theme parks.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 24, @05:38AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 24, @05:38AM (#530476)

    I have constantly wondered why VR has been, relative to where many thought it would be, a complete and epic flop.

    The problem is I think that device was absurdly commercialized before it even hit store shelves. Companies are so used to relying on coercion and inertia to sell products they seem to have forgotten the old school business strategy actually making people want your product on its own independent merit. Instead of selling VR (in the non-economic sense) they chose to immediately go for the 'modern' coercive tactics. The game should have been buy VR hardware - you have VR. It wasn't. Instead it is this compatible with this storefront or another? Do I have to register some account on this store to be able to play the games? Is facebook going to spam me with ads if I buy their stuff? Can I use games from this store on this hardware? If I buy this hardware will I get to play that game? I heard they're platform exclusive. And all of this other completely inane pettiness. They actually managed to destroy my interest in VR, and that's an incredible accomplishment.

    VR should have been sold as an accessory - like a modern take on the mouse. Instead it was sold like a Nintendo Powerglove.

    Such a shame too. Luckey selling out was supposed to be something done for the greater good (hah hah) to help ensure and protect the future of VR. Instead it turned out pretty much exactly how every single person expected once it was announced Facebook was involved. Screwing the customer for a buck doesn't work until you have the customer ringfenced. Then you can engage in amazing modern business practices like forcing them to pay $60 to be able to use their own internet all the while being force fed advertisements. And now that every major company has a few dozen patents trying to monetize it, it's going to be even harder the next time somebody tries to 'kickstart' the technology again.

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