virtual reality video formats

Virtual Reality Video Formats Explained


Not every VR experience is similar. Did you know there are multiple VR formats? If we mention terms like monoscopic 360, or stereoscopic video, do you understand the difference? It’s challenging to keep up with the advancements in VR tech, and it seems like there is something new coming to market every quarter. VR is accelerating at breakneck speed, with more industry applications for the tech coming up with every month that passes. After the launch of YouTube 360-video support in 2015, the masses experienced the premiere of this immersive technology – and the response was overwhelmingly positive at the user level. Since its unveiling, releases of altered formats of 360-video began implementation, such as the use of 3D-stereoscopic 360, and VR180. It wasn’t surprising to see the social behemoth Facebook get on board. They welcomed the new formats and provided the support needed to get the tech into the hands of millions of keen tech-heads. We know it’s challenging to wrap your mind around the different VR formats and how they work. Fortunately, we decided to help you out with your understanding of the subject today but putting together this brief guide to VR video formats that will give you everything you need to know about the topic. Monoscopic 360 Video This VR video was the original format that took the world by storm, introducing users to an immersive virtual realm experience. Mono 360 video typically uses a 2:1 aspect ratio, with rectangular resolutions of 3840×1920, 4096×2048, 5760×2880, and 7680×3840. The best way to get an idea of this format is to imagine taking a globe of the world and flattening it out. Example – Mono 360 Frame Mono may mean singular, but it only refers to the single video channel available with the tech. It’s important to note that the video still plays to both eyes through the headset. Stereo 360-video features two channels, giving you a slightly different perception through the headset. With stereo, you get more depth and texture to the video, similar to what you might expect from a 3D-movie at the cinema. As a drawback, while the 360-video format is typically 4K, it still can look blurry. With 360-video, the user is viewing only a small section of the 360-footage at any time. This format results in a 3840×1920 video only showing around 1280×720 in the viewing area at any one time. It’s for this reason that 360-video content occasionally looks like you’re watching TV back in the 90s. Stereoscopic 3D 360-Video Stereo 3D-360 video is different from mono in that it utilizes two video channels in the same VR headset, one for each eye. This viewing perspective provides the user with greater depth and separation of objects between the background and the foreground. Most stereo VR formats for 360-video platforms are top-to-bottom, or side-by-side. As a result, they contain identical video content from the same file, with differing perspectives. Creators use specialized cameras to capture both of these perspectives simultaneously. As a drawback for creators, these stereo cameras have a high price tag, and the footage is time-consuming to work with in post-production. 3D and 360-Stereo Perspectives 3D stereoscopic video creates a sense of depth in animated video files by creating a shift in perspective. This shift occurs due to the channels receiving storage in the same container, cutting resolution in half to the user. Stereo 360 compensates for this drop in resolution by delivering content at twice the resolution of mono. Unfortunately, this type of format is challenging for both hardware and streaming platforms to utilize. Typical stereo 360 resolutions include; 3840×3840, 5120×5120 and even 7680×7680. Lower-end hardware receives delivery in 3840×2160 resolution, and the stretched stereo channels packed into a single headset. Unfortunately, at this level of resolution, we lose a significant amount of detail in the video. Stereo 3D x 360-Frame With these types of frames, we notice two independently stacked videos in each eye inside the VR headset. This format supplies 3D 360-video at a resolution of 4096×4096. By now you’re probably wondering how anyone can play 7680×7680 video on a device? VR companies Visbit and Pixana developed viewport-biased 360-players for this exact reason. These two platforms display the pixels in your viewing field at the highest resolution, while preserving processing power and bandwidth by generating out-of-view pixels at a lower resolution. When you move your head, the feed adapts seamlessly, with no blurring. Unfortunately, these player technologies do not have the same type of industry reach that permits use on platforms like Facebook and YouTube. It’s also critical to note that users need to be wearing 3D glasses or a VR headset to view the 3D. If the user sees the content on a standard screen, it appears like any other standard monoscopic 360 videos. 180 3D or VR180 Video? In recent months, video platforms like Facebook and YouTube began to provide users with support for VR video content in 180 degrees. VR180 describes a video file that contains two channels of video, with one for each eye. However, the medium only shows the user the front-facing field of view in 180-degrees. Example of VR180 Frame Front-facing field of view is the best type of content that suits this format. It doesn’t have the same immersive qualities as a complete 360-experience. However, the format does provide the user with a sense of presence. They can move their head around, and experience other areas of the virtual realm you’re experiencing. At the moment, VR 180 has most of its applications in adult content. However, its gaining traction as a medium for storytelling as well. VR180 doesn’t have the same restrictions on file size and bandwidth as stereoscopic 360. As a result, the user gets more detail in their VR experience, because you aren’t wasting processing power or bandwidth to generate the pixels behind the user. Deciding on the Right Format Deciding on the VR format to use in your projects ultimately depends on your needs as a creator, Virtual Reality Video Formats Explained

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