Apr 24 2017
Virtual Reality video is both a confusing and exciting opportunity for marketers. To help with the opportunity side, we’ve written a quick idea guide for Virtual Reality specifically with smaller and medium size businesses and brands in mind. This article here serves as a quick guide to clear up the confusion around the four most common misconceptions we hear about Virtual Reality that make companies hesitate when it comes to producing Virtual Reality or 360 video.
Misconception 1: Virtual Reality Production is Expensive
Not necessarily. Budgets are just calculated differently.
With Virtual Reality, we immerse the viewer in your brand, your offering, and your solution. Viewers need time to look around and experience the presentation. Edits are longer, and fewer shots need to be filmed to produce a video. This usually means less production time, but can mean more setup time.
Investment in production does not necessary require more than traditional video- in fact, it can sometimes even ask for less if you already have a great ready-to-shoot environment.
Virtual Reality can be more costly if post-production (animation, visual effects) are needed or if elaborate lighting and camera setups are required to pull off a 360 degree shot. For example, we produced a VR video shot in an office with complex LED lighting and subject walking around the camera. This production for Avant Communications required a few custom-built lighting setups to light our subjects and some complex editing without appearing in the frame (since the VR camera can see all around, above, and below!).
If the project calls for complex visual effects, special camera rigs like cranes or drones, or requires a location where people on camera need to be lit from multiple angles, Virtual Reality video production can require a larger investment. But if you’re looking to shoot outdoors in great locations or don’t require animation or unusual light setups, VR video can be produced for lower-than-expected budgets.
Misconception 2: Viewers need a headset to view VR Video
One of our own initial misconceptions with Virtual Reality video was that since VR headsets aren’t necessarily widespread, we shouldn’t produce content that can only be consumed by a limited audience.
However, VR/360 video can actually be viewed on nearly any smartphone, tablet, laptop, and desktop. 360 videos can be posted on YouTube and Facebook, and the viewer controls the perspective of the camera via the mouse or the position of the device- exactly like you might explore Google StreetView.
In addition, custom-branded Virtual Reality googles can be produced cost-efficiently, turning any smartphone into a Virtual Reality headset.
It is true that a full VR headset like the Occulus Rift or the HTC Vive are bigger investments consisting of both the VR goggles and a powerful computer to run the system. However, if you’re looking to attract viewers to your exhibit or a table at your event, Virtual Reality can make a massive impact not just with the viewer, but with the audience. These headsets can output HDMI through their host computer, allowing everyone around the subject to watch what the viewer sees on an external screen, creating a shared experience.
— Craig Galbraith (@Craig_Galbraith) April 12, 2017
Misconception 3: Virtual Reality is a fad for gamers
Actually, Virtual Reality is merely a platform for immersion. Games, pictures, video, live news- the content is flexible and adaptable. While Virtual Reality has actually been around since the 1990s, the gyroscopic and accelerometer sensors in nearly every mobile device has unlocked the potential of billions of devices to experience content in new ways.
This point reflects the process of how we work as an agency- we are invested in the platform of Virtual Reality only as a way to better create a stronger connection between brand and audience. Virtual Reality shouldn’t be produced just because it’s the latest marketing fad- it should be used to showcase your brand in a way that no other platform can. Virtual tours, stories, brochures, books, galleries– adapt anything visual that can be used to help your audience anywhere in the world better understand what you offer and why you can help them grow.
Virtual reality may thrill the gamer market, but thinking of it as a content-specific technology would be a mistake similar to thinking that websites can only be used as digital billboards, or that YouTube is only for bloggers. VR is a new and innovative content platform that if used properly can lead to massive successes in growth for anyone.
Misconception 4: Virtual Reality is for Big Consumer Brands
This may feel true because big consumer brands with big brand budgets have the resources to be among the first to invest in new technology and grab all of the headlines. They like to show off complex and expensive projects, making all of Virtual Reality feel unrelatable and unattainable to smaller B2B offerings without the deep pockets of a global consumer brand.
However, going back to our first misconception, VR doesn’t necessarily have to even be any more of an investment than traditional video. It simply has to be properly thought out, and address a problem best solved using this immersive technology.
While it’s true that not many small and medium size companies should probably not be starting their marketing efforts with a VR video, a simple virtual video tour, for example, can instantly transform a cookie-cutter WordPress website into a more immersive experience. Add some voiceover narration to your tour and an endcap and you now have a unique brand asset that sets you apart from others in your market.
Take techniques and ideas from the big brands, simplify them to their very core, start small, and build on your success.
How to get started in Virtual Reality
If you’re looking for more ideas on how VR production can be used to help accelerate revenue, we’ve written an reach out to us for ideas and advice on how these new opportunities can be used to overcome marketing challenges and return investment to your brand.
Be quick, be strong, inspire and call your smallest and most potent audience to action.
If you’d like to read more of our thoughts on the future of branding, video, virtual reality, and more check out the rest of our blog, and if you’re feeling truly inspired, reach out to us. This is our passion, it’s what we love to do, and we’re always happy to have interesting discussion.