360 Video vs Virtual Reality: Whats the Difference?

Chances are that, by now, you will have heard of 360 and virtual reality video. It’s something that has been rapidly growing within the video industry over the last year or so.

You might have also heard 360 videos being referred to as virtual reality. A lot of people in media and marketing will tend to chop and change between these two words. But in reality (see what we did there!) they’re actually two separate things.

In fairness, it’s an easy mistake to make. On the surface they seem quite similar and are often both viewed through a virtual reality headset. But there are a few key differences that you should know about before you think about getting something similar made.

“Differences aside, they’re both really exciting and will only improve with time.”

Difference in Movement

A lot of the key differences come within the movements. When you’re watching a 360 video, the viewer can ‘look’ around a fixed point in a closed spherical space. But with virtual reality you can actually move around in your virtual environment and interact with different elements within it. Depending on the limitations of the software, your range of movement is almost limitless (providing that you’re not tethered to a computer!).

The simplest way of looking at it is to picture you’re in a car. With 360 video, you’re the passenger. You can sit in the back seat and look around at the lovely scenery that the creator wants you to see. But with VR, you’re the driver. You decide where you want to go and what you what to see.

Computer Power

Another main difference between the two is the computer powered required. Virtual reality needs to simulated environments, either real world replications or fictional creations. This will then be played through hi-tech VR headsets and, potentially, make use of other pieces of equipment such as VR gloves or body kits. So it can be quite a complex and expensive thing to set up.

But 360 video, on the other hand, is often a lot cheaper and easier to set up. Cameras that shoot 360 are becoming more common and more affordable and many websites (Such as YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook) now support 360 video upload. So it’s a much easier and less complicated set up.

Differences aside, they’re both really cool

People can be forgiven for mixing 360 and VR up. Especially when they’re often viewed through the same VR headsets. But the differences are there and can be quite significant.

One thing that they both have in common is that they’re both still on the up and they’re both here to stay. Creators are constantly coming up with new ideas and new ways to innovate. So they’re will both only continue to evolve and break new barriers for the video production industry.

Article Topics:
Video Industry