Google’s latest leap into VR content creation is literally a half measure

Google has announced a new VR platform, which it hopes will inspire video creators to produce content offering a 180-degree field of view.

The VR180 format, which is a collaboration between the firm’s YouTube and Daydream VR teams, will see the launch of specialist dual-lens cameras from LG and Lenovo before the year is out.

The idea is based around the fact that full 360-degree video is expensive and complex to produce and an observation from Google that most people viewing VR only explore the areas directly in front of their eyes.

Videos uploaded to YouTube using the new format will be viewable on screens and in headsets where the YouTube VR app is available.

Related: What is Daydream VR?
VR180

In a blog post, the company wrote: “VR180 videos focus on what’s in front of you, are high resolution, and look great on desktop and on mobile. They transition seamlessly to a VR experience when viewed with Cardboard, Daydream, and PSVR, which allow you to view the images stereoscopically in 3-D, where near things look near, and far things appear far. VR180 also supports livestreaming videos so creators and fans can be together in real time.”

Google hopes VR180 and the affordable point-and-shoot style cameras will help get more content creators involved in VR, and help them develop skills before they step into full 360-degree video production. This apprenticeship could ultimately raise the standard of VR proper.

Google says current creators won’t have to alter their filming techniques, while adding that editing tools like Adobe Premiere Pro will soon be compatible.

The blog post adds: “These cameras are not only great for creators looking to easily make VR content, but also anyone who wants to capture life’s highlights in VR. They will be as easy to use as point-and-shoot cameras, for around the same price. Videos and livestreams will be easy to upload to YouTube. Cameras from YI, Lenovo, and LG are on the way, and the first ones will hit shelves this winter.”

Is this a necessary step to help improve the overall quality of immersive video? Or is Google simply muddying the waters? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.