From Reality TV To Virtual Reality

After the phenomenal success of Survivor, other reality TV shows followed suit from American Idol, The Bachelor and Real Housewives of Orange County. Real Housewives became a franchise and TV viewers started to follow the lives of some of the most affluent women in the country.

The main focus of networks is on reality television but virtual reality (VR) technology is steadily gaining an audience in more mediums from video games to short films and some people in the industry believe that it will soon reach mainstream audiences through broadcast television.

Television is more focused on HD and 3D but the immersive nature of VR will offer a seismic shift from what is currently available in the form of narrative. This was one of the topics at the inaugural of SouthWest VR in Bristol. According to Edward Miller, head of visuals at 360-degree video app immersive.ly, television and games are converging and VR has more impact than simply improving sound and image quality.

Miller believes that virtual reality is still at the same stage of “wow effect” of cinema more than a century ago. Images of trains approaching the audience provide the shock value but the question is whether this content can go beyond the novel amazement or whether it can be used as a new method of storytelling.

In order to explain the potentials of virtual reality, Miller used the term “telehora” that is similar to a telephone (hearing from a distance) and television (viewing from a distance). Telehora describes how to actually experience something from a distance.

Miller brought the idea of telehora to news journalism through the 360-degree video on the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. This was the first time that a world event was captured with the purpose of viewing it from a virtual reality headset.

However, people have issues on wearing virtual reality headsets because it is known to cause motion sickness. This is prevalent among those who switch from a stationary to a moving scene. However, Miller says this is something that video producers have to overcome so that they can make use of the immersive form of journalism.

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