Getting Real on Virtual

 

On June 21, 2018, PRSAFTL welcomed Ari Lisjak from Virtual Bird and Jay Miolla from Gramercy to our “Reimagine Storytelling with AR/VR/MR” meeting. Treasurer Britt Peemoller interviewed both speakers on stage, following the five Ws to gauge the actual impact of these up and coming technologies in the communication field.

Why: Both speakers emphasized that Virtual Reality (VR) presents the opportunity to create content that connects emotionally. The reason is that the technology enables full immersion in content. This can be hard to describe, but luckily our speakers came well equipped with all the latest VR gear to try on. With a VR headset on, attendees were able to experience a video shot at night, followed by a video with bright natural light, instantly changing their mood, regardless of the fact that it was 8 p.m.

Who: The race is on between all players in the tech, entertainment, and gaming industries to see who can find the best every day applications of VR. Whoever breaks the code will lead the way to an entirely new market. Currently, speakers explained that VR production is a mix of art and science. A typical project takes a team of five to seven people: a project manager, a 3D artist, a 3D animator, a technician, a sound engineer, voice-over talent, and—crucially—a storyteller to write the script.

How: As with other communications disciplines, you need to understand the strategy and how you will properly use the technology. Is there any benefit in using this technology for your project? Is it a good fit into the overall communications strategy? How will you measure results? The advice is to approach VR as another tool in the toolbox. 3D modeling and 360-degree videos take time, so planning is essential. Once production is done, it’s very common to use the assets for multiple applications. For example, 360-degree video can be used at a live event, and then reused for mobile purposes. It pays to scope carefully so that you can pay for projects. Budgets typically start at about $20,000 and projects can take months to complete.

Where: Retail, manufacturing, healthcare, construction, real estate, tourism, and other industries where training and showcasing are critical, are early adopters of VR. Ask PRSAFTL president-elect Victoria Miklausich, of Ryder, who tried on a headset for a demo of a warehouse training class, an example of VR that would apply to her industry. Product launches and Snapchat filters are also common everyday applications today. Jay explained how having an abundance of data helps the necessary modeling. For example, MRIs are detailed 3D models of the human body. This data makes it possible to use VR for remote diagnosis and surgery, bringing about a “rebirth of medicine.”

Victoria and Ari
Victoria Miklausich and Ari Lisjak @PRSAFTL

When: Ari explained that there is an 18-month window of opportunity to reach first-time users of VR. Some everyday applications are already happening, in gaming, medicine, and other areas. For everything else, Internet bandwidth is still a limitation. Gear pricing is coming down: new headsets go for $200. Once certain scenarios are better exploited, like connecting people over social media, the uptake could be quick. The VR market is expected to go from $13 billion in 2017 to $143 billion in 2020.

A big part of the experience was really being there to try on the new technology, but here’s the presentation if you want to catch up with this amazing new technology.

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