What is VR Video? And how is it different from standard & HD video?

Law Jackson
Jul 21, 2017 · 2 min read
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Virtual reality (VR) video enables viewers to interact with a three-dimensional image or environment as if it were real life. 360-degree technology takes viewers on an adventure that makes marketing stories more memorable than ever!


The tech to create VR video has been around for a long time- probably since the beginning of digital video. These immersive videos are created by a multiple cameras or a single omnidirectional 360 degree video camera. Several videos are recorded at the same time but the resulting footage is stitched into a single video. This is conveniently done by the camera itself, or by special video editing software that syncs and links the footage.

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An ever increasing number of cameras under $500 are becoming available to record 360 degree video, which is needed for VR video content. Popular retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart have these regularly in stock.


Surprisingly, VR videos are saved in common formats such as .mp4, .webm and .mov. but the spectacular virtual effect is a result of the movie playing on the inside of a sphere, as opposed to a rectangular frame.

Most VR is a single video directed to both eyes but true stereoscopic 3D directs two slightly different videos to each eye. VR video viewed via smartphones or dedicated head-mounted displays use internal the gyroscope to pan the video based on the direction of the wearer’s head.

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VR headsets also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The ones pictured above don’t have any hardware and all use smartphones to manage and display VR video content. Other headsets have their own internal gyros, processors and special engineering to create a virtual or augmented reality experience.

The file size of a VR video is not necessarily larger than your usual SD/HD/4K non-VR video either. However, unlike 4K UHD, VR video won’t tax your computer’s performance.

Since 2015 YouTube and its parent company Google, and Facebook have all added 360-degree video support to their platforms. Since about that time Facebook users have watched more than one million hours with Samsung VR gear.

It will be fascinating to see how this specific aspect of video consumption trends over the next 5–10 years!

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