Our Approach To Virtual Reality Content
The Pulse VR is a leading Virtual Reality company designing ground-breaking experiences and expanding the possibilities of next generation communication. A VR film is designed to connect you to the story in the most profound way possible – by putting you at the centre of the action. The Pulse VR films are crafted to a client’s brief and infused with creative techniques honed by our experience in this genre. Our VR films range from live action to CG environments and composited VFX. Years of experience in animation, filming and large screen storytelling ensures that The Pulse VR uses the 360 medium to its maximum effect.
It has been said that 2016 is the year for VR and we wholeheartedly agree. For the first time consumers, educators and corporations will have the choice of powerful new hardware that has the potential to fundamentally change the way we interact as human beings. More importantly though is the need for great content. Great content is at the very core of a virtual reality experience whether it be for games, simulations, education, marketing, entertainment or training applications. The viewer must become truly immersed in the story that unfolds before them and driven to engage with the continuing narrative arc.
With YouTube and Facebook releasing native 360 players, there has been a huge output of branded and user-generated 360 content. This is making the medium a lot more accessible and viable from a marketing perspective. The most common question we are asked by clients and partners is, “what is the difference between 360 video and virtual reality?”
The simplest distinction is that:
360 Video – is a passive experience. The user is placed in the centre of a spherical piece of content that plays out linearly, with audio and visual techniques to help guide the viewers direction of sight. This can either be live action footage, a CG generated environment or a combination of the two.
Virtual Reality – is an active experience. The user has the ability to move around a space, interact with objects, and have control of where they go, what they see and what they do. In other words, be transported to an alternate reality, a ‘virtual reality’.
At The Pulse VR, we develop applications for businesses that are transformative and disruptive – and entertainment experiences that are engaging and fun.
Our development team is hardware agnostic and every experience is designed to maximise the potential of the platforms for which we develop. To date, we have delivered experiences for Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTV Vive.
This is by far the most affordable and accessible Virtual Reality headset currently available. At a low price of less than $20 per unit, it is literally a cardboard frame that (after a bit of DIY) you slide your mobile device into.
Google Cardboard is a great solution for mass rollouts and you can even custom print on the device for a bit of branded personalization.
Our experience with Google Carboard is that besides the fact that you are relying on a headset being built correctly by yourself or your customers in the first place, it’s a little flimsy and not as immersive as other Virtual Reality headsets. It doesn’t completely wrap around your vision, therefore not successfully transporting you to an alternate reality. The user also has to hold the device to their face, which affects the experience quite dramatically.
The other thing to consider is that there is no way of knowing which mobile device the user has so image quality results vary significantly.
Overall, we’ve had a lot of fun developing for Google’s take on VR hardware, but our customers generally expect much higher level results than cardboard can give us.
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung’s Gear VR is extremely comfortable to use, has the best resolution in comparison to the others, and has allowed us to break new ground with VR experiences. Not to mention it looks really cool. The Gear VR is an Oculus Rift-powered device that uses a Samsung Galaxy smartphone as its processor and display. It has a 96-degree field of view with a Quad HD super AMOLED display from the mobile device.
Less than $200 per unit, we’ve spent most of our time plugging the Gear VR to our partners, clients and friends. Our current workflow has been catered to this headset, as it is very user-friendly and quite accessible because the phone replaces the chunky computer of the Oculus and VIVE units.
We are now able to link several headsets together and allow multiple users to experience the same virtual world from their unique position. Along with other small add-ons, we can include gesture control, voice control and recognition, plus positional 3D audio.
One of the first to market, the Oculus is an amazing piece of hardware. We’ve been working with the DK2 for our main development and it is certainly a very powerful headset. The Oculus Rift was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion last year and currently has the largest ecosystem of apps and developers of any of the non-smartphone virtual reality headsets.
Completely immersive and quite comfortable to wear (hands-free), it gave us the building blocks for creating engaging and robust VR content as well as paving the way for a refined and efficient workflow. The consumer version of the Oculus also has the added bonus of controllers for gaming and built-in headphones with positional 3D audio that really takes the experience to the next level.
The disadvantage – it’s a tethered headset, meaning you have to be plugged into a computer for the experience to work and you cannot move through the scene physically.
Fortunately, we have been developing with the new VIVE for some time and we are pleased to report that this piece of hardware (when it goes on sale this year) will be the game changer, for now at least.
Not only does it come with seamlessly integrated haptic controllers, it also allows you to move around the physical space but within your virtual world. And as a final optional extra you can include an integrated pair of headphones.
Visual quality has improved to be among best in class and responsiveness is everything you’d expect from the newest kid on the block.