360 video, virtual reality or VR are the buzzwords of the moment. Marketers are quickly trying to work out how this developing medium can help to promote their brand experience. One of the most immediate and obvious benefits must be for a hotel video production.
Indeed, at The Marketing Café we recently completed the filming of a 360 VR video for The Waldorf Astoria, Edinburgh and we expect the demand from our luxury hotel video production clients to continue to grow over the coming months and years.
Many of the hotel videos we produce are short trailer style teasers designed to inspire and capture the viewers’ imagination. The idea is we want to tease the viewer with a brief glimpse of what it would be like to work, relax and play in the hotel.
However, a 360 video is a different concept altogether with typical videos lasting 10 minutes rather than 90 seconds. As opposed to showing the best highlights of the property, every detail in all the important rooms is filmed, even the unsightly radiator or fire extinguisher in the corner. But, there is a demand for this level of detail, particularly from corporate clients. This is because they don’t always have time to visit a hotel, but they need to understand the spaces and how their event or conference can be accommodated.
Filming a 360 video
The process of filming a 360 video is a strange one for the traditional cinematographer. The camera is placed strategically in the room and anyone or anything not to be included in the shot needs to be out of sight. That includes the cameraman, director and any equipment such as lights. We believe in live action for our videos so any performers need to do their bit without direction or monitoring. Generally, it is a quicker process as there is only one shot to be taken in a room with close ups and cutaways being redundant for the virtual reality experience.
So how does the viewer experience virtual reality?
Whilst scrolling from left to right within YouTube on a desktop computer can facilitate 360 video viewing it is hardly what you would call a ‘virtual reality’ experience. The next level of viewing is from a smart phone or tablet device in Facebook 360 or again YouTube. As you watch the video you can simply move the device in any direction to view another part of the hotel room. This is a more immersive experience, but it requires action from the viewer. For corporate hotel clients, this is probably okay as it is work, not entertainment.
In pursuit of the next level can we realistically expect clients to wear a full VR headset in order to experience a fully immersive virtual reality tour around a hotel? We all know what happened to 3D television because people weren’t prepared to wear the glasses in their living rooms.The jury is probably still out on that one, but there’s no doubt this is an exciting and evolving new digital medium that needs to be exploited quickly in order to gain market advantage.
For a luxury hotel video production you can see the possibilities and when the new 360 video we have produced for The Waldorf Astoria is available we will post it here so you can judge for yourselves.