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Youtube feels like a permanent foundation of the modern digital world. It is sort of like the OG Doom. If your machinery system is worth its salt, it can run Youtube and Doom. Wouldn’t you know it, that includes Virtual Reality! So, what is Youtube VR?
What kind of content exists for Youtube VR? Can I upload YouTubeVR content myself? Can I, somehow, save myself some money by using Youtube VR?
Well, wouldn’t you know it! I have been studying this matter myself. Time to lay out everything I have discovered about YoutubeVR, its genres, and the videos you should watch to familiarize yourself with the subject.
Bottom Line Up Front
- Search 180 VR or 360 VR on Youtube to find Youtube VR videos.
- Download the Youtube app from the Meta/Oculus Quest 2’s native app store.
- You can view VR videos on a desktop PC or mobile platform minus the virtual world optical illusion.
- VR Videos can be simulated on the phone using auxiliary devices such as Google Cardboard.
- Be careful of motion sickness.
What is Youtube VR?
Youtube VR is both the name of the headset available version of youtube and a genre of Youtube video. The video is either captured using specialized equipment, usually a 360-degree camera, or digital modeling software to create and then output an animation into the proper format.
180 vs. 360
Not all YoutubeVR Videos will act the same. For example, a 180 VR video, as the name implies, was shot with only a 180-degree field of view captured. While, as you would expect, the 360 types were captured with a special camera that can capture perfect 360-degree video.
VR vs. NonVR Viewing
As with VR games and programs, Virtual reality videos are processed by imitating how the eyes calculate depth perception.
One screen projects the scene from one viewpoint simulating the left eye. Another screen is positioned accordingly but captures a slightly varied angle. This creates the optical illusion central to Virtual reality. The other key feature is turning your head and keeping the illusion of immersion.
A VR video compensates for these necessities by capturing either a 180-degree or 360-degree view of the scene. The data within each frame acts somewhat like a panoramic, allowing for the software used to process and then view the data to accommodate depending on the intended end result.
This, basically, also allows for these videos to be viewed with similar novelty but without the illusion of depth. The world around the camera is captured. A viewer on a desktop or mobile screen can manipulate what portion of that captured reality is viewed as if the viewer were in control of the camera.
Where to Find Youtube VR
VR is, technically, a genre of a youtube video. It might be more precise to call it recording style, but the point is that you can find all these videos on Youtube.
While putting one onto Youtube is a matter of recording, formatting, and uploading it in the proper format, finding them is simple. It merely takes using the search term 360 VR or 180 VR. If looking for something specific, start with one of these terms that search to your heart’s content.
Youtube VR Genres
Official YoutubeVR channel: A collection of the best VR videos from YouTube. It is organized in several convenient playlists, which helped me manage these ‘genres.’
In the time Virtual Reality has been around, it has given users the chance to experiment and gain a taste for what makes superior viewing. This is only scratching the surface, as with anything that warrants ‘genre’. These are all genres I consider worthy of your views, so give them a little love.
Aerial Views and Travel
Time and money make it difficult to experience the world as we dreamed. Thankfully, this is where VR Videos excel. So the rabbit hole is deep in this genre, making it easy to feel like you spent a fortune on a traveler’s package that only the uber-rich could experience.
Just throwing it on youtube will let you experience guided tours of Bangkok and Venice with only the one wielding the camera having to deal with your fellow tourists. Likewise, Aeriel views let you experience New York and the Emirates (UAE) skyline even if you couldn’t bring yourself to board a real helicopter.
You didn’t hear it from me, but I even hear there is a way to pursue the Forbidden City thanks to this technology.
Theme Park Rides
Going to a theme park can become terribly expensive, if not more so depending on your venue, like travel. Best to avoid the lines and the sullen bank account by searching your favorite ride on youtube. You might be surprised to find someone, somehow, managed to film a 360 tour of the place!
Wait. You don’t think I mean simulated or fictional theme park rides, did I? No, not some rusted bucket of a roller coaster either. I am talking Splash Mountain. How about a ride through the Pirates of the Caribbean that inspired the movie?
Oh, is Disney not your thing? How about the Six Flags Superman Coaster?
Extreme Sports & Front Row Seats
Devil-may-care as I might be, my boot heels aren’t made of stone. The idea of sky-diving in a wingsuit? Oh, that makes me quake! Maybe you want to snowboard but are nowhere near fresh powder. For a truly majestic experience, take a wiki-walk through 360 VR Surfing.
Would you rather experience the front row rather than be in the eyes of the athlete? Those exist too! Here is Kobe Bryant’s last game.
Maybe traveling the world doesn’t interest you; for all I know, you have seen the world and been the most exciting human. So let’s take our travels to the extreme!
I am a huge nerd. However, there are a few specific fields I geek out at the drop of a hat. They are some of the most extreme things in the universe, and now we get to experience them!
Let’s start on the calming side of the extreme: The depths of the ocean. It has never been so easy to swim with the dolphins and never so safe to experience a Kraken eating a ship.
Let’s kick it up a notch. Not the full 11, but a solid 10 still. Let’s look at natural disasters, shall we? Ever have your morbid curiosity pondered the epicenters of Nuclear explosions? No? Well, how about a destructive asteroid strike? Don’t tell me you didn’t have a Titanic phase through your childhood!
Oh, you are impossible to please. To the moon with you! Go get stuck in a black hole while you are out there. That isn’t a threat; that is a promise of a good time.
It is so hard to get tickets on broadway. Might as well stay in and throw on the headset!
While full broadway experiences aren’t available or quickly taken down if they are, there are still some jaw-dropping experiences. For example, should you need a motivational boost, the cast of Hamilton surrounding you and singing ‘Wait For It‘ through your headset’s 3d audio is soul stunning. Likewise, there is no seat better to view the Lion King’s ‘Circle of Life‘ than center stage.
Live music experiences are plentiful in the VR video rabbit hole. Eli & Fur takes you to a forest and allows one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be relived like you were there. Susato ‘Renaissance Suite’ allows many music fans to live out their dreams of viewing a live orchestra from the composer’s pedestal. Indeed the ultimate view.
Music Videos take on a new trippy form when you get to properly go all Take on Me and experience it. Auragraph’s ‘Sans Everything’ is a prime example of this.
VR presents an exciting new way to tell a story. MMCA VR even proves this platform can be used to better explain the story an art piece is trying to convey. Marketing has clearly noticed this, as blockbuster shark-thriller movie The Meg made a virtual reality experience for Youtube VR to help promote their film.
The animated short ‘Invasion‘ was one of the first to jump in on this style; watch as an adorable rabbit has to deal with aliens. Disney similarly marketed one of their franchises to not be left in the dust.
The Duck Tales reboot and its animation style present themselves well in Virtual reality, as do their cartoony antics. Star Wars also got a lovely experience thrown onto the platform; who can pass up a chance to sit in the cockpit of an X-wing and look down the nose of their starship at the Death Star?
A quick aside on the matters of motion sickness and VR.
Unlike many games which might involve the same visuals and actions performed in a VR Video, you are not in control. Not being in control of the action in a video can easily lead to a known issue in VR to the points’ Virtual Reality Sickness’ in a common term.
Like motion sickness, your mind views movement, but your inner ear and physical body do not register activity. Thanks to this, your mind freaks out, thinking a problem has occurred.
If you experience motion sickness, please take off your headset and avoid anything that might exacerbate the problem for 10 to 30 minutes. Then, sit down and have plenty of water if the issue persists.
Remember: Bare-knuckling through motion sickness will make it more challenging to combat.
Question: Do I Need a Virtual Reality Headset to Enjoy Youtube VR?
Answer: No! So long as you can access youtube and the video, you can still access the video. Your level of immersion will vary.
On PC, you will be able to click and drag to screen either 180 or 360 degrees based on the video.
On Mobile, you can move the phone around and see the video like you are peering through a window. You can also, like a PC, drag the video about using your fingertip.
The closest option to a headset without a headset is using an additional product such as a cardboard headset. With these, you slide your phone into a foldable cardboard contraption made to hold your phone inches from your face. Look for the symbol on your mobile video that looks like a pair of goggles to activate the cardboard headset mode. The leading option available in mobile phone VR accessories is Google Cardboard.
Question: Can I Create and Upload my Own Youtube VR Videos?
Answer: Yes! Though it might take you a little added studying, I believe in you. It is merely a matter of understanding the stitching software and the camera you will be using.
Luckily, there are guides across the internet. Here is a google guide on uploading 180-degree and 360-degree videos to Youtube. A good muse believes in his readers and scoots them onto the journey into virtual Youtuber-dom!
3D modeling and animation software will also allow for these feats of VR animation. For example, I know that Blender 3d has been working on updates that will enable creations to be viewed in VR.
Question: Why Would I Want Youtube in VR?
Answer: Thanks to the genres of videos uploaded under the 180 VR and 360 VR search queries, there are countless experiences that you might have only dreamed of.
Traveling the world from land to sea and even going beyond our solar system are all possibilities when you have a headset on hand. Some creators have even made content based solely on VR experiences.
That ‘new shiny’ side of our brains has never been so spoiled. The Oculus Quest or Oculus Go is a cost that is much easier for you to justify than a round-trip to Europe. Round-trips to Europe don’t allow for free reruns! Far as I am aware. Contact me if you know the secret to free travel reruns in real life.
I was hesitant about how useful Youtube VR could be on my headset. Even that tiny amount of storage space could go to a game or interactive experience, but sometimes the muscles are tired. Sometimes we simply want to experience the world rather than deal with it.
Thankfully, a manic muse told you about the wonders of Youtube VR.