Method Studios

AR and VR is the new reality for creating immersive experiences to share our culture and stories.

2nd Aug 2018

Written by

I was recently honoured to be invited to speak at the AIS Media Summit in New Delhi, India. The broadcasting industry is exploring new ways of sharing and telling stories, both factual and fiction, and they wanted to hear how new advances in technology could help find new audiences and create new and interesting content.

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my action-packed, albeit short, time in India. Luckily I was armed with my broken Hindi and a healthy appetite for their culture and curry. In just four days, in between a full day workshop, two day summit, nightly conference entertainment, press and interviews, I managed to fit in a walking tour of Old Delhi, an experience on their metro, a wonderful and humbling visit to a Sikh temple, a mini shopping trip, and a gallon of ice cold water.

It was hot, eye-opening, and confronting with beautiful people and architecture marred by pollution, poverty, and over-population.

Here's a summary of what I shared at the summit and how AR and VR can help broadcasters in their quest to find a unique way of sharing their content.

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There are a whole new host of new technologies available to storytellers that are growing in popularity and reaching new heights of immersion. From augmented to virtual reality and projection mapping, these new mediums are allowing storytellers to take audiences on a wonderful journey where stories can be truly brought to life.

The industry is boasting huge revenue figures by 2020 and hardware is vast and becoming more and more readily available and at a more reasonable price point than it ever has. More and more households will have access to hardware needed to view these new experiences.

Broadcasters need to embrace these new mediums and start looking at how they can use these to tell their unique stories, how they can add value to the story arc, and how they can create new, and meaningful ways that engage audiences.

At its core, storytelling is about sharing an experience, good, bad, confronting, sad, or terrifying. All that’s changed is there are now new ways to communicate these stories, and they have their own unique pros and cons in how to make the most of these mediums.

Augmented reality based stories are best served in bite sized chunks but they work well for documentary or factual based stories. You can tell a linear story or create interactive, non-linear paths to get the viewer more involved. Sound, voice, special effects, overlaid graphics and text, 3D animations, can all help to give augmented reality experiences authenticity and more interest. Using real time objects and environments can really enhance a story and create more interest for a user.

Virtual reality is very much single user based currently so building your story to cater for your captured audience is key. Create empathy by letting someone work in another person’s shoes or take them somewhere they may never experience in their lifetime. Create an immersive journey where you can tap into more than just their visual sense, use voice and sound to weave them into the narrative, and for installations other senses can come into play. Enhance video by adding graphic elements or special effects to add more depth to your experience. Be authentic and consider the emotions you’re trying to evoke. VR is also known to be a valuable tool in educating, don’t underestimate this. Experiences in VR are shown to be more memorable and therefore the information is more readily retained.

Most importantly – remember, as like any story, content is key – don’t rely on novelty to carry the experience, ensure your story is genuinely interesting. It’s not about replacing real life or human experiences and interactions but rather enhancing and adding value to these.