IVRPA Conference & Meetup 2017 – 5 Lessons Learnt | Blend Media

The International Virtual Reality Photographers Association (IVRPA) annual conference was held in Vienna this year and brought together by over two hundred 360˚ video and VR content creators from across the globe for four days of keynotes, workshops and social events. Together the Blend Media team and Facebook 360 partners attended the event and got to know Vienna’s vibrant community of 360˚ video creators by hosting a meetup, workshop and getting involved in a number of panel discussions.

5 Key Lessons from IVRPA 2017

Here are some of our key observations from the event.

1. Brands need scale, so forget about the headset, just for now

Brands need and expect scale for their campaigns, and a key friction point is that headset experiences currently don’t deliver this.

VR headset adoption will of course increase over time, but brands that want to scale should look at developing more immersive experiences for handheld devices.

The industry needs technology solutions that can easily be used by brands, their agencies and publishers to create 360˚environments that can be published across social channels via WebVR Technology.

2. Fixing friction and scalability will deliver creators clearer paths to revenue

Directly related to lesson one, 360 VR creators need clear paths to revenue to enable them financial and creative sustainability.

Solve the issue of friction and scale for brands and the demand for content will increase. This in turn will enable creators to monetise their assets and fund their future creative projects.

3. Keep making mistakes, stay curious - and put the hours in

From dealing with oscillating drones, to overheating 360 degree video cameras and tourists crowding the ultimate shot, planning, patience and experimentation are key to creating premium 360˚video experiences.

“Stories were shared of mistakes made, lessons learnt and innovative adjustments”

Stories were shared of mistakes made, lessons learnt and innovative adjustments to rigs and kit to achieve the perfect result.

No matter how much creative talent you have, or technically advanced your kit or post production software is, you’re not going to create your best work without time invested in planning, a bucketload of patience and a curious mind.

4. Technology advancements and software

Some people assume that the VR industry is just a few years old. However, members of the IVRPA have been experimenting with pano and 360˚ imagery for over 20 years.

Back then the post production process was a highly manual and timely process, no automated stitching, colour correction or stabilization.

“The rate of advancement in post-production software has accelerated dramatically”

The rate of advancement in 360 VR post-production software has accelerated dramatically and will continue to do so as more players enter the market and investment grows.

From a hardware perspective we’re already seeing exponential growth of the 360 degree video camera market in 2017, with new consumer and professional cameras seemly launched on a monthly basis.

We’re also noticing that the increase in the specifications of these consumer cameras, combined with improvements in software, is making the ability to produce 360˚ video content more and more accessible to a larger audience.

Although these technological advancements are an obvious benefit to the industry, even experienced creators are still working out the best ways to shoot high quality 360˚ video content. Therefore, as more unpractised new entrants get their hands on 360 degree video cameras we’re likely to see a flux in the volume of poor quality content until the sector matures.

5. The ongoing importance of education

Although many members of the IVRPA have been creating immersive content for over 20 years, the message from the community was clear – we’re still learning, we’re still working it out.

“Collaboration between creators and the provision of educational opportunities is a necessity”

Collaboration between creators and the provision of educational opportunities is a necessity in this nascent industry.

Joining an organisation like the IVRPA that prioritise collaboration and education is key to ensuring the creator community is empowered to create their best possible work and push the creative boundaries of this format. Education isn’t a necessity just for creators – it’s also crucial for the brands, agencies and digital publishers using the content.

Clients need to better understand why, when and how 360˚ video and immersive experiences can be used to engage audiences and meet business objectives. We need to create spaces and places for collaboration and to enable the industry to reach its potential both creatively and effectively.

This article first appeared in Virtual Reality news in June 2017