The Intersection of OTT and Virtual Reality: A New Frontier for Content

OTT media is constantly evolving. As new technologies emerge, platforms are experimenting with ways to give users new experiences. However, content creators will also need to implement new tools to deliver the best experiences in these new environments. Most notably, there's a lot of talk about virtual reality in the OTT space. With the launch of Apple's new Vision Pro headset, it seems clear that VR will play a major role in the future of content creation.

The Intersection of OTT and Virtual Reality: A New Frontier for Content

OTT Media Meets VR

It's important to make a distinction between traditional OTT video and true VR video. Currently, anyone can watch a traditional video within a VR environment by using a headset such as the Oculus Rift, Meta Quest, or Vision Pro. Users get to experience content in an environment that simulates the feeling of being in a massive theater and watching on a huge screen. However, the content itself does nothing new.

Nevertheless, new features are starting to enable VR content that gives the user some control over what they see. The key difference is that within VR content, users control the camera with their head and eyes. Instead of a fixed camera angle decided by the content creator, users can follow whatever catches their attention as if they were really there. This has significant implications for content creation.

How to Create Virtual Reality Content

In order for a video to function well with VR headsets, it needs to go beyond the standard 1080p or 4K resolution. A full 3D environment needs to be captured and uploaded for users to be able to turn their heads and see something else. There are two ways to accomplish this. 3D rendering can create immersive environments, while 3D recording can capture real-world spaces and give viewers control.

It's worth noting that you may need to adjust some of your editing practices with these techniques. Jarring cuts could be disorienting to viewers. Longer pauses in audio are also helpful to give viewers time to take in the scenery, as they may not be paying attention to what you want them to focus on.

3D-Rendered Environments

The first way to create a VR experience for OTT media is to use 3D rendering. Using tools like Unity or Unreal Engine, it's possible to build fully 3D spaces in much the same way a video game developer or Hollywood VFX artist would. These tools are getting easier to use, so don't feel intimidated! Educational apps are using these tools to give students VR and AR experiences.

3D-Recorded Environments

An easier way to capture environments for VR is to use a 360-degree camera. These cameras capture everything in every direction. OTT platforms like YouTube already support 360-degree-video uploads. Viewers can click and drag the video to reposition the camera and look around. In VR, they can simply turn their heads to get a different perspective.

If you're eager to try out these new techniques, schedule a callback with Lightcast to learn how we can help you. Our Media Cloud allows you to upload to multiple platforms in various formats, and we can help you find the best places to publish your VR-ready content.