Virtual reality is a rapidly growing format, but it still needs a push from big companies to make it even bigger. Google is heavily invested in the format, offering YouTube compatibility, its own VR platform, and VR cameras for professionals.
Today, Google is introducing a brand new format for virtual reality videos called VR180. It’s a deceptively simple name for the format, since it takes only the front side of a virtual reality video (or 180 degrees) and creates a video out of that instead of the typical 360-degree footage for other VR cameras.
That might sound overly simple, but for creators and consumers it’s a huge deal. For creators, they’ll be able to shoot VR180 footage with their existing equipment, so they won’t have to run out to buy a fancy new camera just to start shooting virtual reality videos. For consumers, that means they’ll get more VR content that’s almost as good as the regular stuff, since you probably weren’t actually paying much attention to the crowd in the stadium of that VR concert video you like to watch.
You’ll still be able to watch the videos on desktop and mobile, and you’ll still be able to see them in your favorite VR headset. But now we should start seeing much more quantity of VR videos without losing much quality, and you’ll get a more focused video out of it, too.
In case you did want to get a new VR-specific camera, Google is working with partners to create some VR180 ready equipment. It won’t be quite as fancy as 360-degree videos, but it’ll give you a little more flexibility over your current shooter.