Truly immersive VR is just around the corner. With its arrival, marketers will need to know the key components of VR storytelling. We collaborated with Fueled to look at the VR storytelling frontier.
Imagine what it’s like for a viewer being brought directly into a football game when the quarterback throws a last-second play.
Ask yourself what happens in the heads and the hearts of news viewers in the aftermath of a devastating bomb attack.
Or, imagine being a traveler who can create the perfect itinerary for a travel destination by seeing what it’s actually like to be there.
Visual media professionals have always tried to deliver important messages to viewers with rich emotional flavor. Now, they have virtual reality tools to provide an emotionally engaging experience to users.
Today, it’s possible to integrate VR into almost any visual medium.
Filmmaking, mobile VR apps, advertisements, news stories, games, and travel websites can all use VR to their advantage.
Emotional triggers created with VR have little to do with the conventional two-dimensional screen experience. That’s the beauty of it.
With VR, journalists and filmmakers don’t just tell the stories – they let people live the stories. This interpretation of the powerful technology says it all:
“Virtual Reality [VR] is a magical alternate universe where all of your wishes come true and where pain and suffering don’t exist.” In a way, everything is possible in VR. Viewers now have the freedom to remain passive observers or become active creators in the story as they live it.
What You Need to Know About VR Storytelling
If you want to start telling VR stories, there are skills you need to develop and tools you need to possess. Acquiring new skills can be a challenge.
Firstly, you need to learn about how to approach an entirely new version of the viewer’s reality. Then, you need to study exactly how to achieve true immersion in this reality.
The possibilities of VR storytelling as an immersive medium are wide open. However, you still need the appropriate gear and the right technology.
But, if we are to listen to Google’s wisdom about going beyond VR apps and into virtual storytelling, your most important task is to understand what is different about experiencing virtual reality from the user’s perspective.
The possibilities of VR storytelling are practically limitless. | Image via Storyblocks.com
Let’s explore the three most important elements of the user experience in VR stories: presence, perspective, and participation.
Presence is at the heart of virtual storytelling. That’s what makes VR so special and new. VR gives users the feeling that the viewer is not an outsider, but a player immersed in the story, sharing the events and the destiny of the characters.
Presence goes beyond neutral observation, making the viewer a person with intent, someone who can live the story actively and play a role in it.
With VR, you don’t even need to plan the active role. Because of the immersive, real-time feel of the medium, the user will naturally dive into the experience. However, it’s vital to make a distinction between 2D and VR user experiences.
In essence, VR lets users interact with the medium and the role they play in the story. If you want to nudge viewers in the right direction, this is critical.
VR gives a new face to objective reporting and storytelling. News tends to become more popular when it comes from objective sources.
But, for many different reasons, media outlets cannot always avoid opinionated stories and spicing up the story with the reporter’s or the director’s subjective point of view.
In virtual stories, the user owns the power to interpret the story from a personal perspective. When the story includes fewer visual details, the viewer can investigate, explore, and imagine, constructing reality in the desired way and choosing his or her own story.
Creating participatory experiences with VR can help viewers develop a sense of empathy with the story protagonists and become more engaged.
However, when they allow the viewers to participate in the desired way, filmmakers don’t have extensive control over the focus and the directed attention of the audience.
VR storytelling is the most interactive form of visual communication where participants play a role on a stage.
Therefore, when you create virtual reality stories, you need to be aware of the unpredictable direction VR development can take. You need to patiently test and develop the best approach to really reap the potential rewards.
VR Storytelling — Worth the Resources
Apart from honing your storytelling skills by learning more about how users engage with virtual stories, you shouldn’t disregard the significance of VR gear and technologies.
There are multiple tools connected to VR storytelling, including VR headsets and goggles, 360-degree video creators, and VR apps that enhance the already produced content.
There may be a steep learning curve ahead of you. The technology is new and just now gaining serious momentum. However, in this budding industry, now is the perfect time to see what you are capable of with VR storytelling.