VR/360

A 360 Virtual Reality about 360/VR Video in Times Square

I’m a firm believer that Virtual Reality is a BIG part of our future and because of that 360 video is a big part of our future. It's unique and comes with a new set of challenges that we have never had to think about in the past. In this episode of the vlog I share 4 tips when capturing 360 video content. I also shoot this video in 360 using the Insta360 camera connected to an iPhone X.

What I’m Learning about 360 Video and Virtual Reality

I’ve been obsessed with Virtual Reality (VR) since the first time I put on Oculus Rift VR Goggles for the first time about 2 years ago. Shortly after that Google released Google Cardboard and it seemed that VR would be here before we knew it. Adoption and development of this technology has been slower than I anticipated, but it makes sense as the ability to create VR experiences has been so challenging. More than ever I believe VR is going to be HUUUUGE (said with Donald Trump voice)! I just think it’s going to take longer than I anticipated.

I’ve purchased and given away several Google cardboard devices over the past 2 years and made my first big purchase with a 360 video camera in January. I bought the Insta360 nano from Amazon for 2 primary reasons:

  1. Simplicity – I love how it connected to my iPhone and could be uploaded easily from my mobile device and directly to Facebook or YouTube
  2. Affordability – not only was the device easy to use, it was also one of the least expensive devices on the market

Since buying the device I’ve helped Insta360 in their sales as I’ve had several friends see my pictures and videos asking where they can get one of these cool cameras. The quality of these videos has been much better than I expected and the simplicity to upload the videos to Facebook and YouTube has been even easier than I anticipated. I’ve yet to try and edit any videos, but the capturing and distributing has been awesome! The reception to the videos has also been pretty great.

Here are a few of the key things that I’m learning about this new technology:

  • 360 Video is Captivating – the wow factor of these videos has been incredible, especially when people view them through VR googles.
  • Anyone is now able to create 360 videos – as easy as it is to create 360 videos today, it will be even easier tomorrow.
  • Not All Video Should be shot in 360 – while it’s interesting for many experiences, it is not optimal for many if not most video experiences. With 360 video it is harder to control the focal point when you are trying to tell a story.
  • Shorter Videos are best for 360 viewing experiences – currently the VR viewing experiences can be nauseating for most and a long experience is not ideal. I think this will change for experiences like sporting events and even church services, but like mobile video, I’m finding that shorter is better when it comes to VR videos.

All in all, I am more excited than ever about this medium and think ministries need to be paying attention to this space. I believe in the next couple of years many churches will offer a VR worship experience both On-Demand and Live. Beyond worship experiences I believe VR will be an incredible opportunity for Bible reading, Holy Land tours, gospel presentations and more. It’s a consuming media engagement experience with seemingly limitless opportunities for creativity and innovation.

8 Technology Trend Predictions for 2016

Technology moves fast! Really fast!  From Virtual Reality to Flying Drones to Snapchat and Periscope, it’s hard to know what trends to pay attention to and what to ignore.  

 

Here are 8 Technology Trends that I’m Predicting for 2016:

 

  1. Smart Everything – as I’ve watched the maturation of the Amazon Echo and the Apple Watch I expect to see a smart everything. As we think of things like smart phones and we move that logic to the home through smart refrigerators, coffee pots, light bulbs etc. Then move that to the car with smart features that include unique settings from auto changing seats, mirrors, temperature and radio functions without our even having to push a button. I expect all of our devices to get “smarter” and more effectively communicate with each other. For instance our phone will talk to our car and it will know we are approaching to then start the car, set the temperature, unlock the door, etc.  

  2. There will be an Apple TV App for that – remember when apps were the rage and we joked about there “being an app for that” and there really was an iPhone app for pretty much anything we could think of? With Apple opening up development for the Apple TV I expect to see many apps developed along with Bluetooth integrated devices (similar to the Guitar Hero guitar) created to integrate with the TV. There will be more shopping opportunities, security functions, video conferencing options and possibilities we never dreamed possible on the TV. As a sports fan I’m really pumped about these possibilities when I think about a customized screen with multiple views, custom stat views, etc.!  

  3. VR/360 Video will explode – I’ve talked about this a lot, but as 360 Degree Video Cameras become more affordable and accessible I expect to see an explosion in 2016. I suspect that 360 video (you can view in browser or on TV, but use arrows to adjust view on your screen within the view box) will trend fast and Virtual Reality goggles will quickly follow. We learned that people didn’t like wearing the 3D glasses when this began to trend, but I believe the VR Goggles experience is so incredibly immersive that it will be better received. Being that Facebook is so heavily invested in this space through Oculus Rift speaks volumes about this development being prioritized as well.

  4. Live streaming will dominate social – live streaming isn’t new to the Internet, but it is somewhat new to social media. Periscope and Meerkat broke the ice in 2015 with mobile live streaming, but I think Facebook will see the greatest explosion when it comes to live streaming on social media in 2016 as it becomes available to all users and isn’t limited to mobile.

  5. Group Video Conferencing will become a norm – Google was onto something with Google Hangouts 5 years ago. It was pretty cool if you could ever get everyone in the right hangout or however it worked.  Skype lagged in the space, but Zoom is crushing it and making video conferencing easy for anyone anywhere. I believe Facebook will integrate Group Video Conferencing into Facebook Groups in 2016 and we will see families, friends and businesses using group video conferencing as a norm in so many online interactions. I also see FaceTime expanding to multiple simultaneous users as well.  

  6. Facetime Everywhere – I’m an Apple guy and genuinely believe that while Innovation happens in so many places, adoption continues to flow through Apple’s distribution channels. I believe the next generation of Apple Watches will include a camera for Facetime and there will be hardware that will integrate with Apple TV for Facetime as well. This will make Facetime available on our watch, phone, computer and TV. I’m a digital guy, but still prefer face-to-face interactions and this personalization of digital interactions is a huge feat when it comes to technology and our digital communication.

  7. Podcast user base will double again – podcasting isn’t new technology, but the user base doubled this past year with maturing technologies and content creators prioritizing this media platform. Podcasting is to AM Radio what Netflix was to TV.  It’s talk radio On Demand. Listening live isn’t nearly as critical as it used to be as we’re so highly connected to news on most other channels and we seemingly have internet access available everywhere. As Apple takes over car dashboards in the coming years I expect this to not only be a trend for 2016, but for the next few years. The advantage that podcasting has over video based media is that it’s a passive engagement experience. People can listen to a podcast while commuting or exercising, so there is a unique engagement opportunity here.

  8. The thinning wallet – it almost seems silly when you look through your wallet: ID cards, credit cards, discount cards, insurance cards, etc. Can’t your phone store all of these in a much more secure way? The answer is: YES! Just as the checkbook became irrelevant about 5-10 years ago, I think 2016 will see most wallets get much thinner and less relevant. I don’t think we’re ready for them to disappear, but I do expect to see them becoming much less essential.  

 

 

So, what does this mean for you? We will talk about that more in 2016! I think there are immediate implications and some long term ones as well.  

I would love to know your thoughts and predictions. I would also love to know your thoughts on these technology predictions and which ones you agree and disagree with.