Virtual Reality - Hype vs Reality and NAB 2016

stephencolbertIt looks like the Big Buzz we expect at this tears NAB show in Vegas is going to be Virtual Reality. As readers of the Videoguys blog you know that we are closely following the developments in the VR space. At NAB2016 we are expecting many VR camera announcements and we are especially interested in checking out GoPros new VR camera. We also hope to find additional NLE plug-ins and workflow solutions for creating VR content. PVC by Neil Smith


With less than two weeks to go before NAB 2016 and my inbox regularly inundated with a multitude of VR related press releases, I can’t help but feel a slight concern that VR has joined the hype-stream and is destined to ‘crash and burn’ before it’s had a chance to unfurl its fragile wings and take to the air. As I discussed in my previous article, the adoption of next-gen VR (ie VR 2016) is being led by the video-gaming community, and as such, has a good chance of becoming widely accepted in the vibrant and prosperous gaming industry. On the shirttails of widespread VR gaming adoption, other nascent use-cases are clinging on for dear life in the hope of riding the wave to fame and fortune – education, journalism, advertising, narrative and of course porn, to name but a few. But in the haste to label all things as part of the VR ‘brand’ we’re in great danger of diluting the message and trying to make it appear to be ‘all things to all people’. Doing so will end up reducing the potential awesomeness of PRESENCE to the lowest common denominator of ‘immersive’ and hence alienating the public who are expecting a lot more. There are numerous HMDs (head mounted displays) in our VR Lab – Oculus, Vive, Samsung, Zeiss and Google Cardboard. All offer a fun VR experience in their own way but none of them are perfect yet. They all offer a glimpse of the future, and assuming Moore’s Law continues to drive technical innovation and bring down unit prices, Jill and Joe Consumer will at some time try out the latest VR gadgets and perceive them as viable and enjoyable ‘platforms of experience’ for a variety of entertainment genres. The danger is that if Joe and Jill try on the current iteration of VR ‘platforms of experience’ with unrealistic expectations they will be sorely disappointed. Movies, TV, and Mobile all took years to mature into a satisfying and affordable experience for the majority of consumers and in many ways, with this current generation of VR technology (NAB 2016) we are still at Ground Zero, Year One. The current crop of VR headsets and cameras are miles ahead of anything we’ve had before but we still have a long way to go before the technology is going to deliver on the promise. read more...

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