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Find Value in VR Training your Workforce

As mentioned in the first of our VR Training blog posts a few weeks back, major brands like KFC, WalMart, and Volkswagen have already begun integrating VR into their employee training programs. While virtual reality experiences can prove extremely versatile and of course – COOL, convincing the C-level that VR is worth the investment is another story.

Sure, there’s value in offering your employees an interesting, virtual experience because of the sheer “chatter-factor” alone. That isn’t going to convince anyone that VR training is the better route, though, unless you can deliver a true reduction in costs and processes. Most training managers also need to show that there will be a recognizable increase in performance and on-boarding for new staff.

At Foundry 45, we have helped global organizations streamline their corporate training programs using mixed reality applications. In skilled trade industries such as welding, plumbing, security, and equipment repair, the value that VR training provides goes far beyond reducing travel costs due to shipping employees around the world. It can also mean that money doesn’t have to be spent on materials to practice on and it allows trainees to repeat work tasks as much as they need to, which means eliminating a lot of costly mistakes on the job site.

Foundry 45 VR Training Demonstration

Below are a few reasons how VR can complement or entirely replace your existing training program:

  1. Your trainees can learn process sequences inside a virtual environment that is true-to-scale and representative of their actual workplace which helps speed up the learning process;
  2. VR training is a cost-saving measure that reduces employee downtime, travel costs, and equipment depreciation;
  3. Management can review VR experiences and test results through automated reports that help position employees for future growth;
  4. VR training can reduce the risk of on-site training accidents, especially when learning how to operate hazardous machinery;
  5. Learning with VR is memorable and fun. Employees are more likely to retain information if organizations provide quality education while on the job site.

If some or all of these points above resonate with you, the next step would be to imagine exactly what type of VR-enabled training most suits your business needs. Integrating VR training into your program can be extremely powerful and save your organization time and money, while improving overall employee productivity by leveraging an engaging and powerful set of new tools.

Be sure to check back for our next post on VR Training in the next few weeks. Our team has years of experience working with organizations that have elevated their operations using VR and AR. From content strategy to distribution of immersive experiences, Foundry 45 provides the viewing solutions for various levels of experiences ranging from easily distributable cardboard to room-scale, interactive VR training environments.

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com.

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Google Cardboard vs Samsung GearVR Virtual Reality Headsets

The two most accessible platforms for Virtual Reality (VR) content right now are Google Cardboard and Samsung’s GearVR. Both only require a mobile phone to operate.

How do they work?
gearvr_vs_cardboard_lenses

Both use a smartphone as the display, and have lenses that make the small screen fill your entire field of view. The phone sensors are used to detect where you’re looking so that a Virtual Reality app can update the display.

Overall Performance and Compatibility
GearVR provides a high-end experience. The lens are bigger and the headset is specifically designed and tuned for a number of the latest Samsung phones, including Galaxy Note5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+. These high end phones provide high resolution, fast updates to head movements, and large screens–overall a very immersive experience.

As opposed to the Gear VR, almost any recent smartphone will work in Google Cardboard. The more high-end smartphones in our opinion yield experiences closer to the Gear VR. An older phone with one of the earlier Cardboard designs will not have as big of screen or respond to head movements as fast which produces a less immersive experience. But no matter the platform, the first time impact using VR is almost always jaw dropping.

Cost
The current Gear VR costs $99, but also requires a new Samsung phone, which range from $600 – $900 off contract. Google Cardboard in single units costs about $20, but can get down to $5 in quantity.

Use Cases

branded_cardboard_virtual_reality

Custom branded cardboard virtual reality viewers

Many companies custom print Cardboard as a giveaway or mailer. Cardboard provides a way for a brand to connect with an exciting new technology, and give a customer a branded takeaway that they can continue to use with many other apps.

virtual_reality_trade_show_gear_vr

Gear VR is best for trade shows or in-person visits. Check out our blog post on how to best use a Gear VR at your next trade show!

Whether Cardboard or Gear VR, companies typically develop a custom app to showcase their products. For example, the New York Times produced an app that contained 360 degree videos, including one from a refugee camp. Star Wars released small videos daily in the days before release of the latest film. Several of our clients like BetterCloud or Probrew have also created Cardboard apps to showcase their experiences. Cardboard apps are usually delivered through the Apple AppStore for iPhones or Google’s Play Store for Android. Samsung has a store for Gear VR, but has so far only allowed very few apps in. This is usually not a problem, as apps can be directly installed on devices rather than going through the Samsung store.

If you have questions about how to utilize Virtual Reality for recruiting or marketing, or would like help producing a custom virtual reality app, please let us know.

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com.

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Becoming a VR Master: Recording

The art of recording in 360, and using that footage to create your own Virtual Reality experience is a practice that any private, professional, or interested videographer is capable of. Period. Seizing the opportunity now to learn this straightforward process will expose you to this burgeoning community, give you familiarity with this new creative format that isn’t going away, and add another tool to your arsenal as a videographer. Don’t be the last videographer to jump on the VR bandwagon! If you are not offering your clients a VR video option, you are missing out on adding an attractive VR venture to your already established list of projects. Though thorough information on this practice is admittedly scarce, Foundry 45 can guide you to be a VR master.

Step 1: Get a camera and some footage!
The market for 360 cameras is a microcosm of the entire industry as you can find a range of high end cameras to rigs optimized for more practical means for most videographers. Foundry 45 has published an in-depth blog post which compares all of our rigs to one another in terms of capability, usability, performance, and cost. Obviously, broad recommendations don’t apply to every person who lays eyes on this post, but among our collection of cameras, we recommend the Kodak 360 PixPro for seasoned videographers who are getting their VR feet wet. At $900, these two cameras are capable of professional production without the technical headache induced by some more complicated rigs. Please feel free to comment with your specific circumstances if you would like a more in-depth recommendation!
hitchcock finalAfter getting a camera, knowing the difference between recording in 2D and 360 will definitely benefit you when it comes time to shoot. 360 shooting revolves much less around how one records, and more on where one records. In 360 videos, the filmmaker’s control over the viewer’s focus is significantly lessened as a result of the user’s ability to look around. This evolution in format takes away the filmmaker’s ability to isolate one key area in an environment, and, as a result, forces the filmmaker to a.) cleverly direct the user’s focus to the key area, b.) choose an environment that has multiple points of interest or c.) put the camera as close as possible to the key area (without getting too close to record!). Put your viewers in the middle of the action, and let them enjoy it in their own way! Also make sure to hide or camouflage yourself from the camera while recording. Seeing yourself in VR becomes way less cool when your realize you just ruined the immersion by being visible.

Scout GO Pro HidingThis video is going to be sweet.

As a side note that could probably go without saying: you still have to capture engaging moments. Yes, new VR technology is fascinating and has the ability to communicate so much more about a space than a 2D video; however, if you are transporting your viewer to boring place, they will absolutely lose interest. Just like shooting with regular cameras, you need to have your 360 camera ready to capture any and all special moments during production. For 360, you will be using the same creative muscle you use while shooting a 2D video, just flexing it in a different way.

stich lines 1

Stitch lines 2Understanding the impact that parallax will have on your footage is also pivotal to creating a solid VR experience. If you are using a 360 rig that involves more than one camera, you will become quite familiar with what are called “stitch lines.” More on this subject will be covered in the next section, but how well a filmmaker deals with these stitch lines can make or break the quality of an experience. The specific formation of stitch lines differs for every camera so becoming accustomed to your own camera’s arrangement is imperative if you want to avoid slicing a line through the most important person or thing in your scene. Though they can be maddening at points, stitch lines can usually be smoothed until they are invisible as long as all objects are at least 5 feet away from the camera. Due to parallax, any object too close to the camera will be sliced up irreparably. SO BACK UP! Above are some examples of stitch lines we’ve run into in our experience. Hopefully this first of five parts has helped you wrap your head around the process of recording in 360! Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date with the rest of our posts. Also feel free to contact Foundry 45 for any questions or inquiries based on our deep Virtual Reality expertise.

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com.

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The Potential of VR Marketing

future is coming

The Future is Coming

Unless you’ve been living under The Rock for the past decade or so, I’m not going to be the first person to make you realize that digital technology has been rapidly evolving since it was created. Even someone with a terrible short-term memory can point to a common USB drive today, and recall how the same item costed 5x more just a few years prior. You’ve probably heard something about Moore’s Law, and, with that understanding, it might not surprise you to learn of the general exponential growth rate of technology. Expectations for the not-so-distant future vary, but hearing hypotheses from futurists like Jeremy Howard might be shocking when he suggests a designated living wage for the population after computers take all our jobs.

Anyways! I detail the overall growth of technology to help communicate how VR will improve in the coming years. Virtual Reality might be the modern day poster child of an emerging digital medium. This brand-spanking-new technology, though many mistakenly write it off as novelty, has been predicted to develop into a $80 billion dollar industry in the next TEN years! If you consider Virtual Reality to only be a “cool” format to display videos, you are severely underestimating the potential of this burgeoning tech. A user’s immersion within a VR environment blows standard 2D videos out of the water. Even when compared to 360 videos, Virtual Reality experiences are significantly more engaging than viewing a video on a flat screen. If current VR technology is already this compelling to people, imagine what we have to look forward to as it matures.

Future Spongbob gifVideo source: https://youtu.be/yk7IDVzLiQo

Among the plethora of uses for VR (some of which haven’t been fully realized yet), forward-thinking businesses and entrepreneurs have already utilized this technology as the driving force behind marketing campaigns. According to Cotton Delo at Adage.com, “virtual reality could be transformative for the ad industry.” Instead of poking advertisements into the lives of consumers through older mediums like commercials or billboards, VR marketing content actually attracts customers as a result of the level of engagement the content permits. Experiences are so much more stimulating than typical ads that users are much more friendly to brand content as a result. Not only does Virtual Reality provide more enjoyable content for viewers, but the message is significantly more memorable because it is  provided through an experiencenot a video. You’ve probably watched tons of videos today (there are dozens in this post!), but when compared to VR experiences that make you peek around and interact with your virtual environment,  VR becomes much more impressionable on your memory.

The ability to transport viewers to any environment by handing them a VR headset also provides limitless opportunities with a fraction of the budget required to take them there physically. VR specifically allows for viewer experiences that can’t be offered through any other means! For example,  Coca Cola created a VR experience for the 2014 World Cup that permitted viewers to step onto the pitch and play in a convincing fashion that no other medium can mimic. Foundry 45 used a similar development philosophy with their Georgia Tech Immersive Recruiting application which places users on the sideline of Bobby Dodd stadium during the “Miracle on Techwood Drive” play.

This fact cannot be overstated: Virtual Reality is not an updated way to view videos, but a new communication platform all its own that’s capable of previously impossible feats. Strategic implementation of Virtual Reality has the potential to yield never before seen results for your business’s marketing, and recruiting efforts. Companies large and small have pursued VR ventures to large degrees of success. Exemplary marketing uses of VR have emerged from The New York Times, Patrón, Lowe’s, Merrell, Marriott, Red Bull, Land Rover, Volvo, and even Michelle Obama! Make sure to check out all the success Foundry 45 has had with our Virtual Reality marketing efforts by checking out our case studies!

hipster vrI liked VR before it was mainstream…

In a Facebook post announcing his purchase of the VR company Oculus (a 2 billion dollar investment), Mark Zuckerberg detailed his ambition for this “immersive, augmented reality [to] become part of daily life for billions of people.” Though seeing this technology reach that large of a scale may be hard to wrap your head around, the amount of research and financial investment being poured into this burgeoning industry from all directions should communicate how revolutionary this technology can and will become. Modern media is evolving, and the presence of immersive Virtual Reality indicates a large step forward for our digital capabilities. The sooner your business can take advantage of this new technology, the more you can benefit from its innovation before everyone else realizes what they’re missing!

If you want to take advantage of this cutting edge technology for your marketing or recruiting efforts, waste no time in contacting Foundry 45 for premiere VR content.
Also make sure to check out our blog filled with other information as well as tips and tricks for VR tech.

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com

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360 Video Camera Comparisons: GoPro, Ricoh Theta, Gear 360, Kodak PixPro SP360 4k

At Foundry 45, many of the Virtual Reality apps we develop rely on 360 video. While we directly shoot 360 footage for some projects, other clients ask for suggestions on 360 video cameras they can use to shoot video themselves. This blog post compares 4 popular 360 rigs, on the cheaper end of the spectrum, capable of recording spherical 360 video (both vertical and horizontal).

The video below shows camera output comparisons as well as a lot of our learnings from using the different rigs. You can also directly download the 4k 360 comparison mp4 (2.5 GB!) to view the video on Gear VR headsets.

Overall, the GoPro ball provides the best output resolution, but it comes at the expense of time and money. The GoPro rig not only costs the most, but also requires a lot of extra hardware, a decent computer, expensive stitching software, and time to learn the more sophisticated stitching. Also, with seven independent cameras, there are more things that can go wrong, like a single battery dying early, an error on one of the SD cards, or one of the cameras overheating.

While certain specific use cases will alter this advice, our general recommendation is the Kodak SP360 4ks. These have better image quality than the Gear 360, especially in lower light (not outside). However, the Gear 360 has a lot of advantages over the Kodaks. It’s less than half the price, nearly 4k, incredibly easy to use (just hit “save” in the phone app), and lets you preview a full 360 from the app. And since the cameras are perfectly sync’d, you don’t run into stitching issues with moving scenes.

With either the Gear360 or Kodaks, it’s easy to orient the stitch line away from the action, avoiding some of the more difficult stitching issues entirely.

360 Video Camera Comparison Chart

360_video_cameras_GoPro_Kodak_pixpro_sp360_gear360_ricoh_theta

Overheating and Battery Life

Sadly, we’ve had the GoPro rig, Kodak PixPros and even the Gear 360 overheat during shoots. In this regard, the Ricoh Theta seems the most reliable in our experience. If shooting with any of these rigs, we highly recommend at least one backup camera if the shoot is important. And, if at all possible, plan to only record for 5 min at a time so the cameras have time to cool off between takes. While these rigs theoretically have enough battery life for almost an hour of shooting, we’ve had fully charged GoPro batteries die in 15-20 minutes.

Parallax and Stitch Lines

Parallax is when the scene looks different from one camera to the next due to the cameras being at different locations. There is no way the differences can be blended together to recover from this, and the effect gets worse as objects get closer to the cameras.

Parallax effect causes differences between cameras. Credit bucknell.edu

There are parallax effects at 8-10 ft for the GoPros, Kodak PixPros and Gear 360, but there is only one line to worry about with the Kodaks and Gear 360. Even if you have issues with the one line, you can usually position the camera so that nothing important is on that line. For instance, have one camera face the performer, and the other face the audience.

The small parallax issues on the Ricoh Theta are its best feature. There are almost no issues beyond 3 feet away since the cameras are so close to each other.

You’ll see stitch lines from this parallax effect, and also from a lack of synchronization in the source files. The GoPro and Kodak remotes don’t start the cameras at exactly the same time, and there’s no electronic syncing of the start of each frame. Stitching software can line up the footage based on audio or visual motion, and is usually pretty good. But if you have lots of motion, it’s sometimes extraordinarily difficult to get rid of the lines. We just did a test shoot with the Kodak PixPros mounted underneath the wing of a plane, and one of the cameras was vibrating slightly more than the other. This led to a very obvious stitch line that would take a lot of post production to clean up. Since the Gear 360 and Ricoh Theta S are electronically synchronized at the hardware level, there’s no need to do an imperfect sync of the resulting footage in software.

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com

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Trade Show VR Best Practices

So it looks like you’ve made the right decision to use a Virtual Reality Experience to enhance your upcoming trade show event. Prepare to be the talk of the town! By taking on this new storytelling format, you’ve effectively swallowed the red pill, and through this rabbit hole, you will discover several amazing opportunities not available through other means. But be wary, you may want some help navigating this new virtual world. This post shall be your guiding light.

Swallowed the red pill | Foundry 45

 

Equipment checklist:

  • 2 phones per Gear VR headset
  • Swivel chair(s)
  • Fast chargers for phones
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Lens cloths
  • Headphones
  • Stickers with your brand to put on headset

Step 1: Do a Dry Run Before the Show

This will work out any unexpected issues, both with the equipment and process. Be sure to tell guests to turn their heads to look all around!

Step 2: Prepare to Teach VR Newbies

Considering the cutting edge nature of the technology you are using, you are almost guaranteed to expose someone to their first VR experience. Hardwire a short instructional bit into your presentation, and be eager to answer any questions you encounter!

 

dana_putting_on_gearvrBooth Visitor: So I’m gonna be able to see really far away when I look into it, right?

Step 3: During the Show

Nothing will damper your amazing virtual reality experience like a dead phone battery or constant extraneous notifications. Take several measures beforehand to ensure your visitors maximize their immersion.

  • Fully charge all phone batteries prior to the event
  • Put all phones in airplane mode and deactivate Wifi
  • Every time you start app and put in GearVR, turn the volume back up (buttons on side). The volume resets every time the phone is removed.
  • Swap out phones in the headsets to cool down and recharge every hour
  • Remove phones from headset to charge and do not charge via the port on the newer GearVR units (this will allow them to cool off)
  • Make sure the app is at the start screen for new guests. If the previous person did not finish, just point the headset straight up for 5s to reset.

Step 4: Create a safe Virtual Reality zone

Just like The Matrix, when people are “jacked in” to a virtual world, their actual body can still be subject to harm.

Swivel chairs are your friend and your most trusted companion in order to avoid hilarious incidents like that one. You need to have a swivel chair for every VR headset you are running. Also to increase immersion, be generous in granting your visitors enough space for them to turn around freely. Consider roping off the area near each chair.

roped vr

Step 5: Concentration on Sanitation

If your event goes according to plan, your VR headset will come into contact with hundreds of people’s faces. Taking proper measures to guarantee that your equipment is functionally clean between every use is imperative in order to garner a positive response.

lol

We recommend wiping down the face pads with alcohol wipes and the lens with lint-free cloths in between guests.

Step 6: Help out your Marketing Team

Taking pictures and recording videos of people enjoying a VR experience will undoubtedly help your publicity efforts. Showing people that your event was a success rather than telling them will help with online posts and articles concerning your trade show experience. Record quotes from people who really engaged with your VR content, and try to obtain an honest opinion of their experience. Keeping record of these positive interactions increases the likelihood that your company will invest in future virtual reality endeavors.

Step 7: Cardboard Headsets!

Branded cardboard is a great giveaway that will keep your brand top of mind, and also provide access to hundreds of other Cardboard enabled apps in the app stores. If you’ve developed a custom cardboard app, we recommend helping people find and download the app from the store. This can require WiFi depending on your app.

ll See how happy they make people!

Now that you have been fully trained in the art of hosting a Virtual Reality trade show booth, you are ready to reap the rewards of all your hard work and preparation. Following these steps are all you need to do to guarantee that your event will run smoothly. People will receive a solid impression of your product and mission statement through your effective use of a Virtual Reality Experience. By learning all these helpful tips, tricks, and preparatory steps before your trade show event, one could say you have dodged a bullet.

If you’re interested in utilizing VR at your next trade show event, be sure to contact Foundry 45 for VR premiere content!

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com

Follow Us!

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