May 11, 2018 at 12:54 am #16954
Thomas SharplessIVRPA Professional Member
The just released Oculus Go headset may well signal the beginning of that mass market for VR photography that we have been anticipating for so long.
Go is a really cool product at a very nice price. Like the Samsung GearVR, it is aimed squarely at media consumers, rather than gamers. In fact it is almost a clone of the Gear VR, but with three crucial differences. 1) No assembly required. You have to insert your phone into GVR to view VR, and take it out again to do everything else you do with a smartphone. Really annoying. Plus that phone costs $800. 2) Point and shoot. The little BlueTooth Go controller gives you an agile pointing device that mkes it possible to pick from menus, work a virtual keyboard and so on, with minimal pain. And it has a half-decent trackpad. 3) Speakers you can hear. The sound quality on the Go’s built in speakers is better than acceptable, while on the GVR you really need to plug in earbuds.
Go has slightly higher resolution than GVR, on a smoother but less contrasty screen (LCD rather than Oled) that I actually like better. The Oculus apps for Go (and GVR) now show crisper images thanks to “foveated rendering”. But the big leap forward is simply ease of use.
By happy coincidence, the means of producing and distributing VR content have become way more capable than they were even 6 months ago. The WebVR standard is actually delivering immersive hmd views of tours that also work on PC screens and cardboard stereoscopes. Krpano WebVR tours look fine in the Oculus browser on GVR and Go, so I expect 360Cities and Roundme will soon start supporting HMDs via krpano WebVR. On the app side, Oculus 360 Photos delivers a huge trove of online content, much of it professional quality panoramas from 360Cities. It can also show you all the photos posted on facebook by you and your friends, the 360 ones fully immersive. And you can upload sets of 360s to Gala360app.com and view them on the HMD using the Gala360 app.
The natural mode for VR photos is stereoscopic 3D, which has really powerful presence in an HMD. 360Cities, Gala360, and 360 Photos now support 3D panoramas on an equal footing with 2D panos, and software for creating stereo panoramas is starting to mature nicely. So I expect a lot of the content we produce for the [hopefully] oncoming VR boom will be 3D.
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