Right off the bat, in the title I chose to abbreviate. What do I mean by VR and AR, also known as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. I feel these are very important technological advances in our world today, I do feel that one more than the other is going to prove more ubiquitous.

VR/AR Defined

Before we get into the what each of these new technologies will bring to our lives, let’s define what they are, according to Whatis.com:

Virtual Reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment.

Augmented Reality, on the other hand, is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it.

Virtual Reality Limitations

Virtual reality is not something that is new, it’s been around for decades, but is now seeing the technology catching up with the implementation. However, it is not without it’s limitations. For example, you need personalized gear, which isn’t cheap, and you need to have the viewers full attention for it to be effective. Although it delivers a much better experience than 3D, it cannot be a passive storytelling device. I see this technology being used more in training, video games and museums or historical environments. It has it’s uses but is not universal, just yet. Augmented Reality, which is a newer technology, seems to be a much more practical tool with today’s internet of things. I can see the power of the mobile app-mopshere, if I can coin a term, much more easier to traverse with AR being a part of it and easier to adopt in passive ways. Currently we have notifications and with the prevalence of more internet enabled devices mixed in with beacon technology, the sky’s the limit and it will be adopted faster.

In Regular Production

Virtual reality is here to stay, but at the moment, like I mentioned above, it has severe limitations when it comes to a wider audience. It currently cannot be just a video you google or see pop up in your news feed while waiting in line or emailed directly to you. It’s uses are very specific and will be that for awhile. I don’t know if you can just walk around with a headset on, or just want to sit at home with a headset on all of the time. You will still need flat, high quality, videos to help with that. As for AR, I don’t see that replacing video, but to have elements added into the editing process so that AR will work effectively with what you produce. So it will be another layer of post-production that will happen, such as making animated versions of YouTube’s annotations ability.

I love new technology and what we are living through today, but the assessment of this new stuff is what is important to see how it will work into what your client’s needs are. I don’t see VR being as gimmicky as 3D it will have longevity in a limited capacity, and I do see AR adding a different level of the user experience to video. What are your thoughts?


Paul J Schmidt is owner/production director of UnoDeuce Multimedia, a full service video production company based in Lansing, Michigan that specializes in creative visual storytelling for small businesses and non-profit organizations.