Maximizing Immersion: Best Practices For Virtual Reality
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Maximizing Immersion: Best Practices For Virtual Reality

The rules of virtual reality are still being written, but here’s what we know so far.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Maximizing Immersion: Best Practices For Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is big this year at Cannes Lions. Its presence makes itself known as demonstrations of the technology abound at stations all around the festival. Through these demonstrations, we’re experiencing firsthand what VR can do now. But through the discussions, we’re also learning what it will do in the future.

During Lions Innovation, we heard from some of the pioneers in the field about where VR is heading, and what they’ve learned about making great immersive experiences. The rules of this medium are still being written, but here’s what we know so far:

Utilize The Space

“Virtual reality is not filmmaking,” said Jessica Brillhart, the principal filmmaker for VR at Google. During Adventures in Virtual Reality, a discussion hosted by Google, Brillhart presented what she’s learned since joining Google’s VR team in 2015.

A VR film can have multiple points of interest, she said. Because of that, you need to reward the rebels who will ignore the main focal point of your shot in favor of what’s happening around it. As a VR creator, you need to add detail to the surrounding shots that will enhance your story.

Foster Human Connection

VR has a profound ability to evoke emotional responses. Through VR, you're able to give your viewer the unique experience of seeing the world from someone else's perspective. This means that, when creating a VR experience, you need to be crystal clear on the point-of-view.

Brillhart gave the example of filming an orchestra. By simply adjusting the height of the camera, you can put the viewer in the shoes of either the conductor or the orchestra players.

Create Magical Experiences

Speaking of perspective, because VR gives us the ability to see things from other's point of view, it’s a very human medium with the power to foster empathy. One famous example of this is the Guardian’s 6x9 project, which gives viewers the experience of being in solitary confinement.

On the other side of the coin, VR can also be used to create worlds that can never be experienced in real life. This was a point made by the Director of Sony’s PlayStation MagicLab, Dr. Richard Marks.

During the talk Games, VR and Beyond, Marks emphasized the magical qualities of VR that allow us to experience the world beyond our own human limitations.

“Teleportation is something you can’t do in real life,” he said, speaking about the feature from the video game Portal. “And that’s my favorite thing to do."

Think Beyond Entertainment And News

It's not hard to see the profound impact of VR in gaming, entertainment, and news. But it has applications beyond those fields as well.

During Adventures in Virtual Reality, Clay Bavor, Google’s Vice President of Virtual Reality, discussed the act of preserving memories.

"We place an enormous value on memories," he said. He gave the example that, when you ask people what they would save if their house was burning down, after saving their family and pets, the next thing they list is often photographs.

Through photographs and videos, we can capture intimate moments, like time spent with our family and friends. Now with VR, these moments can be preserved in both time and space, allowing us to return to those memories and experience them like never before.

Top image: PlayStation VR, or 'Project Morpheus' as it was referred to during its development. Courtesy of Sony / Marco Verch via Wikimedia Commons.

 

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