Augmented reality: the new black or just another fad?

Posted on Sep 22, 2017 in Video Content

As video content producers, we’re always looking to push boundaries of video communication be it with traditional or non-traditional technology. In May 2016 we produced a 360 VR brand film for a leading technology company. That 360 video took viewers on a VR tour of the facility, learning about the tech produced in-house. Now, just 18months later we’re seeing 360 cameras move into the “3D” space where images feel more immersive and audio is captured with 3D spherical sound (check out the Nokia Ozo).

Yet despite the advances of VR technology, is AR the new black?
Apple is certainly taking on that bet.

Apple released the new iphone and the iOS 11 upgrade. What’s exciting about this launch is Apple’s commitment to Augmented Reality. Apple’s ARKit provides users with the tools required to build AR. Features include motion tracking, camera scene capture, advanced scene processing and display conveniences. (Watch this video from Apple for in-depth knowledge of the technology.)

The ARKit prompts us to believe there could be an explosion of content in this format. Yes, AR has been in use for a while now. Pokemon Go brought it heavily into pop culture this year. Pepsi used it in 2014 with this awesome piece of brand awareness at a London bus stop. IKEA have also been using AR technology since 2012 – and this week announced the new AR app: Ikea Place.

AR is the hot topic at the moment and those waving the AR flag argue that this technology will become more frequented with brands and consumers due to its “simplicity”. No headsets here, just point the phone and away you go on an augmented adventure. However those on the VR cheerleading squad claim that this technology is more immersive and therefore provides a deeper level of engagement.

As a video producer (and a consumer), I’m excited about the possibilities for telling stories in both spatial surrounds.

My experience with 360 VR storytelling taught me that this format works like Theatre-in-the-Round, where the placement of light, sound and movement must be used to direct the viewers’ attention. If we forget to focus the viewers’ attention, minds can wander and next thing you know the user is looking at the cracked paint in the ceiling – because they can! But, if the story is told with the 360 space in mind, (like a theatre performance attracts our attention to specific actions on stage) we can begin to use VR technology to it’s full capabilities. Thereby telling and experiencing stories that extend the boundaries of the 2D paradigm.

I am yet to produce a video with AR technology, but from a storytelling point of view, we at Good Eye Deer believe that the trick with both AR and VR, will be to find authentic ways to marry the technology with the story. Filmmakers must transcend beyond the gimmick and use the technology to involve the audience – in a way that can’t be done in a traditional 2D video platform. Wether it’s a commercial, a brand film, branded content or a piece of broadcast entertainment – story is the most vital part of keeping audiences engaged. Technology should come second, and it should support the concept (not be the concept).

With all this in mind, I’m excited to see how filmmakers embrace the new technology (be it AR or VR) to explore ideas.


– written by Olivia Olley, Producer, Good Eye Deer