360 Video Virtual Reality

This is actually quite momentous, and something I’ve been musing about (how it would work) for a while. High def *video* capture – NOT CGI, not a 3d model, but something that you can experience in virtual reality space as if you were standing there in the real world.

This is a critical shift, eliminating the need for the artificial creation of worlds/experience. Can you interact with it (touch anything)? Probably not. But it will come.

I knew there were companies working on taking moving pictures and interpolating the 3D models out of them (required to move around things, and have them shift as you move your POV), am finally seeing some of it coming to fruition. I’m not actually sure that is the case here (that it’s not just smart faking of 3d perspective), but in order to develop a world where you can interact with things they need to have physical definition – otherwise you won’t be able to touch them, pick them up etc. So you need to not only record a scene, but interpolate the depth of objects and spaces, map that to a wireframe (3d talk for…an object) AND THEN give the user (visitor?!) the ability to move around the scene. That is a *lot* of computing power.

The road is long and steep to get this to be in market, but can you imagine what will happen when this technology is merged with all those 360 camera captures out there? You can literally experience or relive what someone else is doing. Literally travel the world without leaving your comfy Barca Lounger.

Now we only need some smart company to start engineering “Smell-O-Vision” so you can really experience what it’s like to walk around Jaipur (I only pick on Jaipur because I’ve been and can say, you don’t want Smell-O-Vision).

The interesting bit about this isn’t that there are realistic created 3d VR experiences, but that creating them just got one step closer to being easier – and more real. Creating an immersive experience in VR isn’t as easy as it sounds; you know that suspension of disbelief you have to have while watching a movie? And how when one thing is off – say a science fact (umm, maybe that’s just me lol) – you are immediately pulled out of the experience? VR has that even worse. We have a lifetime of experiences in the real world to check against, so any tiny little thing that’s off when you’re there –  say, a shadow not being right – and you’ll be pulled out of the realism. Being able to use 360 footage to do it goes a long way to solving those kinds of problems.

I have a friend who is about to leave the city he’s lived in for 20 years, to move to New Zealand. It’s a long distance and he probably won’t get back to there often – but with this, he could create his own 360 video, and after he moves relive his favorite walks as if he were there, whenever he feels like it. And some day, he can be joined by his long distance daughter virtually, and they can walk together.

Isn’t that a wonderful way VR will add to people’s lives?

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