Mary Sawyer
Vice President of Public Relations

The Lowdown on 360-degree and VR Videos

With the widespread popularity of 360-degree and Virtual Reality (VR) videos, we’re getting a lot of questions about whether it makes sense to incorporate these immersion technologies in marketing programs.

Every company and situation is unique, but we thought you might be interested in the insights of one of our great production partners, Tom Petrie, who is director of photography for Bad Dog Pictures.

Tom explains that both 360 and VR allow viewers to interact with the content, instead of just sitting back and watching. The big difference is in how much interaction a user has, and where the videos can be viewed. Both have the ability to capture the entire scene in a 3600 view. However, the real advantage 360 video offers the marketing community is that viewers can watch them on Youtube, Facebook and company sites.

VR takes 360 to the next level, Tom explains. It is meant to be multi-sensory, so a headset, special glasses or other optical devices must be used when viewing the video to get its full effect. VR can incorporate a variety of ways the viewer can interact with the surroundings and currently is used more in gaming applications than marketing efforts.

“With 360 and VR videos, you invite someone to become more involved. The viewer is in control of what scene appears on the screen, decides what is of most interest and determines how long to view it. If you are using 360 and VR properly, by allowing him/her to make choices, you are getting a more engaged, more educated prospect or customer,” Tom says.

From the production standpoint, both involve filming a view in every direction at the same time, using one camera or a collection of cameras, and stitching the scenes together. “Since the technology has become more widely available in the last few years, production costs have come down and companies are finding 360 applications more attractive. For example, you no longer need to buy expensive viewers. Cardboard devices are now available and can be branded.”

Tom agrees with a recent New York Times article that marketers are going down a somewhat tricky path in producing these attention-getting videos.

“360 and VR can deliver increased customer engagement, but there has to be a good strategy in their use. The videos should add something beyond what a traditional video can provide. They should be more engaging. And they still must be strongly connected to your brand so that the viewer doesn’t get completely lost in the experience and forgets about your message.”

Here are a few examples of how 360 videos are used to deliver strong messages in engaging, successful campaigns:

A company tour: Shinola factory with Luke Wilson

A company charitable effort: A Walk in Their Shoes – TOMS

Showcasing a new sophisticated product: Tier 4 Locomotive Experience – GE

If you are interested in hearing more about 360 videos and how you might be able to use them, please give me a call. I’d love to discuss it with you.

And check out: 10 Reasonable Ideas On How To Use 360 Videos In Your Marketing Mix