Google has now introduced a new cinematic VR format. The MountainView based giant is calling it the VR180. It believes that the new Google VR180 format would help drive the popularity and production of VR videos among cinematographers, especially YouTubers. Instead of the typical 360-degree format, the VR180 videos would come with 180-degree field of view.
Google realizes that making 360-degree video content for VR is far from reality. YouTubers aren’t yet ready to make a move as gear for producing such videos are quite expensive. Editing such videos takes a lot more time too. Further in markets like India with low data speeds, these videos would take ages to buffer. So, it’s pretty natural for both viewers and content providers to stay away from the VR videos.
The latest cinematic VR180 format from Google aims to solve these niggling issues. As the name suggests, the Google VR180 certified videos would offer a 180-degree field of view. This effectively means that you wouldn’t be able to turn your head and look behind, just like you did in a typical 360-degree VR video. Instead, the VR180 videos are supposed to offer an immersive experience if you are forward. Needless to say, you would require a Google Cardboard, Daydream or a PlayStation VR headset to get the 3D virtual reality feel. Just in case you don’t have a VR headset, you could still watch the content just like any traditional flat video.
Google is also introducing a range of new camera with VR180 certification. A leaked prototype image of the camera reveals that it will consist of two wide angles lenses capable of shooting stereoscopic video. Google has tied up with leading hardware manufacturers including Lenovo, LG, and Xiaomi subsidiary Yi Technologies for developing the VR180 cameras.
Lucid VR may, however, be the first company to launch a 180 degree supported camera. That said, the LucidCam VR camera wouldn’t come with the VR180 certification. Google may, however, certifiy the camera soon after launch. For the uninitiated, LucidCam was initially listed on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo about three years ago. And finally, after some delay, the camera is ready to be shipped. LucidCam will ship to its initial backers by the first week of August.
The first Google VR180 certified camera will launch somewhere around winter. It will cost similar to a standard point-and-shoot camera. Google also reveals that YouTuber could loan a VR180 supported camera from one of its YouTube Spaces located in nine major cities of the world.
The introduction of the new VR180 format indeed appears like a sacrifice on Google’s part. It doesn’t however, mean that VR is in trouble. The immersive VR 360 degree videos are here to stay. It just that current scenario doesn’t allow it to gain popularity the way Google expects it to. Hopefully, the Google VR180 would do the trick for the Sundar Pichai led company.