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Bride With a VR HeadsetVirtual reality technology has been slow in catching on. VR headsets have been around for several years, and their use started to take off during the late 2010s. The New York Times’ Kevin Roose mentions that VR sales have gone up during the COVID-19 pandemic. More VR apps are rolling out, and many popular standalone headsets are back-ordered. It seems we’re growing fond of this technology again while sheltering in place, but does it mean anything new for wedding photography? The answer to this question is more complex than you may think.

VR and the Wedding Industry’s Early Adopters

The Knot’s Kate Traverson describes how VR innovations could change how we look back on wedding-day memories. VR wedding videos present in 360 degrees and with three-dimensional graphics. Photography and videography pros in large metro markets have already started to offer VR wedding videos. This technology creates an incredibly immersive viewing experience, surrounding the viewer with action on all sides that looks real enough to touch. That’s the idea, anyway.

Of course, producing virtual reality films requires specialized equipment. VR and 360-degree cameras are now available to everyday consumers; Pocket-lint lists several offerings such as the GoPro Max and the Samsung Gear 360. Virtual reality and 360-degree video are closely related but not synonymous. The BBC’s Academy Guide explains that VR video production must also account for spatial sound as well as pacing and interactive elements. Producers must also ensure that they don’t accidentally trigger motion sickness in some viewers.

Why Isn’t VR Usage More Common?

Even despite the renewed interest in VR during the COVID-19 pandemic, its adoption is still relatively slow. In his NYT piece, Roose points out some obstacles that the technology must overcome to become more widespread. Virtual experiences exist in many other places, and they don’t require headsets. From video games like Fortnite and Animal Crossing to video chat platforms like Zoom, shared virtual events are easily accessible on computers, gaming consoles, and mobile devices.

Meanwhile, augmented reality projects digital elements into real-world spaces. The popular mobile game Pokemon Go uses augmented reality, as do Snapchat’s filters. Again, no special equipment is required. Your favorite smartphone is perfectly adequate.

Until recently, cost was also a significant barrier to widespread VR usage. The Oculus Quest, one of the best-known standalone models, prices out at around $400 for the 64G version and $500 for the 128G edition. These remain as “niche products for nerds like us,” as Roose puts it. However, VR headsets used with smartphones cost a fraction of the standalone models — $30 to $50 depending on the brand and features.

Other VR Applications in the Wedding Planning

Even if VR wedding videos don’t take off, the technology could offer other advantages. Southern Bride describes how virtual reality can help couples tour and envision their event spaces. All that’s required are a smartphone app and a pair of VR goggles to view the location in all its 360-degree splendor.

With the ability to remotely view their venues, couples may be aided by VR when choosing table layouts, decoration, seating charts, and more. AllSeated is one such popular VR app, allowing users to design two-dimensional floorplans and walk through them in 3D. With social distancing still recommended, apps like AllSeated become invaluable planning tools.

What Does the Future Hold?

Sometimes, predicting trends isn’t easy. That’s especially true during a global pandemic that’s majorly shifted our former ways of life. It’s still uncertain whether virtual reality will gain ground in the ways previously imagined, even with more users during this viral outbreak. Even if you may not be able to relive your wedding with a VR video and goggles, the technology does offer some benefits. With its powerful visualization capabilities, it could make remote wedding planning easier than ever.

Category: Wedding Materials

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