How Event Professionals Can Think About “Reality” Technologies: Part Two – 3D Video

There has been a lot of press lately about how technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Technology (AR) are going to change events. To best know how to utilize these technologies in a cost-effective manner it is best to understand that these tools are in a continuum ranging from the relatively simple and inexpensive to the complex and costly. To simplify this continuum, it might be helpful to look at these emerging “reality” and “3D” technologies in four different ways.

This week we look at 3D video. You probably have experienced 3D in the movie theaters. In fact, 3D has become so popular in cinema that it has expanded beyond the domain of IMAX movies to becoming a major consideration in the release of any special effects-centric release.

3D video has an interesting place in the spectrum of reality technologies. While 3D is a key part of the virtual reality experience, it also has its own use independent of that technology. On the other hand, 3D lacks the ease of production and reduced costs that 360 video offers.

A recent development that helps 3D video is the introduction of inexpensive viewers for the average consumer. Perhaps the best product of this group is Google Cardboard. Available starting at $15.00 (most VR headsets start at $500), Cardboard avoids proprietary software but instead works on your Apple/Android smartphone. The advantage of this is that you can use the apps from the Apple and Google stores for the 3D experience. Google has also opened YouTube up to 360 and 3D videos. Wareable has producted this list of best 3D/360 videos on YouTube.

Check out this video “How to Survive a Bear Attack in VR!” to see 3D and 360 working together.

The cost of production for 3D video is dropping quickly. Big players like Google, Samsung, and GoPro are big players in the drive to make production of these videos affordable to the consumer. With these changes, 3D videos can now be made by skilled video professionals and not just big production houses. That said, the process is much more involved than for 360 video, so you will probably need to get a skilled vendor to create a video of any quality.

In terms of its application for events, 3D can be better thought of as a transition technology between 360 video and virtual reality. Hence, it is of limited usefulness for event related videos at this time. On the other hand, 360 videos can be really terrific for applications such as site walk-thrus as in the below Bellagio example. Adding 3D to such a video would probably be an unnecessary expense.

Here is the virtual tour of the garden and front desk of the Bellagio in Las Vegas.