Google’s new 360 degree video experiment is pretty awesome

Google I/O is home to new experimental applications and implementations, and this year Google has shown off a new way of creating virtual reality film experiences. In their new film Pearl, Google puts viewers in the passenger seat of a car with a father and daughter, allowing the user to explore the scene from every possible angle. But Google has another trick up it’s sleeve. While most 360 degree videos are pre-rendered and then converted to video for consumption, Google’s new film is rendered in real time within a game engine.

This is exciting for quite a variety of reasons, but the most glaring benefit appears to be the ability to manipulate scenes on a whim, showing off the possibility of interactive cut scenes within a game or film. While Google doesn’t include any form of user manipulation for this film, developers could easily set different scenarios for rendering based on what the user has done in the story so far. This allows for stories to be more fluid and unique to the player, adding yet another level of interactivity to games.

The director, Patrick Osbourne, mentioned the difficulty of crafting a film when you can’t be sure exactly what it looks like to the player at any given moment, but he says that’s the point, in a way. The user should be able to experience something new every single time.

Apparently it’s hard. When you’re immersed in a story, it’s all around you. How do we tell you where to look? How do we prevent you from getting lost or missing an important part of the story?

While this can be a concern for many directors who are eager to get their vision across to the viewer, the new method could prove incredibly useful to those looking to change the way they create film or games. Interactivity is one of the key selling points of virtual reality, and adding unique experiences on a per-viewer basis could be an entirely new reason for developers to get in the game.

What do you think the future of the tech will be like? Adding real time rendering creates an adaptive landscape for the viewer, and sets even higher expectations for the future of the media. We’re hoping developers take to the idea quickly, but with any new technology, the new concept may take a while to really take off.


via: Tech Crunch


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