Ask the Board – September 25, 2017 | JONATHAN DODGE


Do trends like 3D, VR and AR offer content producers more or less flexibility for expressing their message? Why or why not?”

While the ceiling is high for virtual reality and augmented reality, trends such as those and 3D reduce the flexibility of content producers when expressing their message. 

First of all, what is virtual and augmented reality? Virtual reality is a digital environment that shuts out the real world through the use of visors and goggles.  VR can block out the room the user is in and immerse them in completely new surroundings.  Augmented reality places digital content on top of the world you see around you.  Objects in 2D or 3D are layered on top of real objects surrounding the user, therefore digitizing the real world around them.

According to Eric Shamlin, Senior VP at Secret Location Production Company, “Hollywood got a black eye from 3D.”  Despite how much TV networks and makers were promoting the concept, there wasn’t enough compelling 3D content. While it is not too late for virtual and augmented reality yet, if compelling content is not created, VR and AR can still flop like 3D did.  Now, let’s get into why there is less flexibility for content producers when it comes to virtual and augmented reality.

First of all, being able to find legitimate content creators is a big issue.  Creating content for VR and AR requires much different skills than the traditional movie, TV or game creation.  This can result in bad content being released.  Not only is finding legitimate content creators an issue, but another is finding those creators who can create compelling content that leverage the 360-degree mediums of VR and AR.  Again, this can generate bad content that doesn’t draw in the end user.  At that point, one must ask, “Is bad content worse than no content at all?

Lastly, content creators lose flexibility because changes and revisions after beginning a project are extremely hard to do.  This can make production a lot longer and/or prohibit  a content creator from being able to  revise specific elements of a project.  Creating compelling content that gets users to buy into the experience can be much harder to do without revisions.

All the barriers to flexibility for content creators has led to a lack of content out there.  When there is less content out there, it is hard to convince an end user to buy into the experience from a time perspective as well as a financial perspective.  The user is less likely to buy the goggles, download the extra application, set up an account, load the content, etc. if they are only getting one or two good pieces of content.  So, while the ceiling may be high for VR and AR, if compelling content is not produced, it may never take off.

Cass, Stephen. “Lessons from CES: How VR Can Avoid the Fate of 3D TV.” IEEE Spectrum, 8 Jan. 2016. 

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EVP, Business Development
Freshwater Digital Media Partners

Content Council

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