Progress in VR: when the content is more interesting than the technology

edits this blog. Twitter: @chblm

If you want to make virtual reality more real, it helps if you can mix it with a bit of real reality. That’s what happened when the BBC took its new VR project to the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire.

Setting up their tent a few yards from a runway on which planes were taking off and landing in front of thousands of spectators, the BBC team offered a chance to escape from all that – into a Lancaster bomber on a raid over Berlin during the Second World War.

The combination of sights and sounds through the VR headset with the wind blowing through the tent and the background noise of planes made for a powerful visceral experience. One woman took off the headset and said the VR had been so immersive that she could even smell the aviation fuel in the Lancaster bomber.

Here are some other reactions, together with an explanation of the project from BBC VR Hub producer Dinah Lammiman and VR specialist Chris Long:

Many of those trying the project at the air show were new to VR. What was impressive about 1943 Berlin Blitz was that people emerging from the headsets were as likely to comment on conditions in the Lancaster, the age of the air crews or the length of the flight as they were to say anything about VR.

If VR producers can make something so engaging that their audience’s attention is on the content rather than the form, the medium must surely be coming into its own.

The BBC’s guide to VR

BBC VR Hub

The BBC’s VR app

The making of a 360 video BBC documentary

 

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