What is the difference between 360-Degree Video, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?

Everywhere we look on social media, brands are touting 360-Degree and Virtual Reality Videos to help tell better stories. But we’ve found that those terms when describing video are thrown around a bit loosely, so we wanted to take a minute to break it down for y’all. To make sure you have a leg up on what’s trending in the video world, here is what you need to know about the differences between virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 360-degree video production.

Setting the record straight on Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and 360-degree video

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real life environment or situation. The goal of VR is to be immersive and engaging and to give viewers the opportunity to experience something they wouldn’t normally get to, like riding shotgun for a NASCAR race. All you need in order to get the full VR experience is a headset like the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, or Google Daydream.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is where real life and virtual enhancements collide. Think of it more as a supplemented reality where the viewer sees what is going on around them in the real world, but with superimposed, computer-generated add-ons like graphics and sounds. Augmented reality has its own hardware too, like Microsoft’s HoloLens and Sony SmartEyeglass. If you’ve ever played Pokemon GO, you’ve had a taste of AR’s capabilities.

What is 360-Degree Video?

360-degree video is an immersive, spherical video that captures all angles and puts the audience in the driver’s seat when it comes to what they see and when they see it. It can be viewed on a desktop, mobile device, or with VR headgear. We’ve talked before about why 360 video production rules, and why every brand should be using it.

Are 360 video and VR the same thing?

Honestly, it depends on who you ask. Some people say absolutely not, because while 360 video puts the audience smack dab in the middle of an all-encompassing scene, it is not interactive and the footage is real life instead of a simulation. Others reject this claim and counter it with the idea that there are two types of VR: Computer-generated and “real VR”. Computer-generated VR is exactly what we discussed above, and “real VR” is made up of real footage, which is where they say 360-degree video fits in.

What about AR and VR?

Other than the fact that both of these formats have the word “reality” in them, AR and VR are pretty different. Remember, virtual reality is an interactive simulation that mimics real life, while augmented reality is real life, but with the addition of computer-generated elements.

Fun fact: Even though we hear way more buzz around virtual reality, it is actually augmented reality that is on pace to reach $120 billion in revenue by 2020 compared to VR’s projected $30 billion.

Understanding the similarities and differences between these three types of video technology can be tricky, which is why knowing a few guys who happen to be experts in the field is helpful. If you want to learn more about how virtual reality, augmented reality, and 360-degree video production can bolster your marketing strategy, give us a call. We would love to show you their potential first hand.