The development of VR films in the Era of experiential consumption - Dr. Qingpu Lee


Abstract: With the rapid development of science and technology, people's consumption level continues to improve, consumer demand from the original basic physiological needs into a higher level of psychological needs. The rapid expansion of experiential consumption has led to the rapid development of VR movies, which has also made VR movies the most important application field of VR. In the future, VR films will shift from the current panoramic images to interactive VR images and dynamic capture VR films, and the era of VR films will really come.

Key words: VR film; Experiential consumption; Panoramic image; Dynamic capture; The development of

The era of experiential consumption


Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory divides human needs into five levels, from the lowest level of physical needs to the highest level of self-actualization needs, which are constantly changing with the growth of economic level. As one need is satisfied, another higher level need is created. As far as the current economic level is concerned, the most basic needs have been fully satisfied, and what people pursue is more psychological spiritual satisfaction. Experiential consumption focusing on process experience is a kind of perceptual demand, which satisfies the pleasure and pursuit in the consumption process to a greater extent. Although this consumption pattern is not a necessity of life, it is another manifestation of people's pursuit of quality of life after having enough food and clothing, and they are willing to pay extra for this experience. They are willing to pay dozens of yuan to see a movie that will be played for free later, hundreds of yuan to hear a concert that the performers may not be able to see clearly, and even tens of thousands of yuan to travel for a long distance. When it comes to shopping, customers who pursue functional consumption prefer convenient, fast and cheap online shopping, while those who pursue experiential consumption prefer to experience the shopping process in terminal physical stores. The more developed the social economy and culture, the greater the demand for experiential consumption. With the continuous development of China's society, GDP is also growing rapidly, and experience-oriented consumer demand is also growing. This kind of experience-based consumer demand also stimulates the development of the market, and more and more experience-based consumer products appear. From single experience to comprehensive experience, from real experience to virtual experience, China is entering an experiential consumption era.

2. The opportunity of VR movies

Undoubtedly, the fastest growing form of experiential consumption in recent years is film, which has grown by 40%. From 2011 to 2020, the number of domestic movie screens in China increased rapidly from 9,286 to 75,581. Cinema's large screen, image clarity and multi-channel stereo provide audiences with a unique movie-watching experience different from watching movies at home. Especially, the popularity of 3D movies and IMAX has greatly enhanced the sense of immersion in movie-watching and largely met people's needs for audio-visual experience. According to iResearch "2016 China virtual reality Industry Research Report" pointed out that by 2016, users' awareness of VR has been more than half. In this group, the most expected use of VR is: ① Watching videos 51.1%; ② Playing games 40.9%; ③ Social networking 39.2 percent; ④ Watch games 33.2%; Education and teaching 28.7%. Further analysis of video preference shows that: (1) 45.4% watch movies; ② Documentary 30.0%; 25.2% of events; (4) 24.9 percent of TV dramas; ⑤ Games cg19.4%. Despite the technology's limitations, the public's expectations for VR films are enthusiastic. In recent years, with the rapid development of high and new technology, many companies at home and abroad are working hard to develop VR film shooting equipment, and there are many mature products.

VR film shooting equipment can be divided into two categories: integrated VR camera and assembled VR camera. The integrated VR camera can not only complete the real-time image processing, splicing and correction, but also increase the real-time preview and shooting control function. It is simple to operate and easy to carry. The scope of use covers panoramic shooting and VR live broadcast, and the picture rendering effect can reach 4K, 6K and 8K. Assembled VR camera is made up of multiple cameras to achieve panoramic shooting. Some VR cameras composed of professional cameras can not only conduct panoramic recording, but also carry out VR live broadcasting. They are relatively common shooting or live broadcasting equipment at present. Although some VR cameras can also achieve very good results in picture shooting, motion capture and stage environment shooting, people may balk at the high cost of site deployment, equipment unit price and transportation. VR viewing equipment also has a variety of brands and categories, each with its own characteristics, like filming equipment, can meet the needs of different levels. Therefore, the maturity of shooting and playing equipment and the increase of market demand have laid a solid foundation for the development of VR films.

3. Current mainstream VR movies

3.1 Panoramic image and VR film

As the most mainstream VR image category at present, panoramic image can be said to be the prototype of the future VR film. Through the 360-degree panoramic image, the scene in reality is truly displayed in front of people. The audience can freely change the viewing content and Angle, changing the traditional mode of passive viewing, as if being in the scene, there is a certain sense of immersion. Panoramic VR completely subverted the traditional film using a variety of techniques and languages, such as lens, scene and montage, to fully and meticulously show the audience the full picture of a scene, and the specific content and screen are controlled by the audience, to a certain extent, to meet the audience's demand for visual experience.

3.2 Mainstream communication channels of mobile Internet and mobile APP platforms

With the rapid development of smart phones and mobile Internet, mobile phones have become People's Daily necessities. All kinds of practical small software life needs has inadvertently affected all aspects of life. For example, a large number of mobile apps such as physical examination, education and learning, travel and tourism, short video platforms have emerged, which is also an important way of network image transmission. Without leaving home, users can watch VR images on their mobile phones anytime and anywhere with the help of VR glasses. Now simple VR glasses need to be used with mobile phones, but the cost is low, easy to use, very popular with consumers. The Internet and mobile APP platforms are the main communication channels of VR images, and almost all the VR images transmitted are non-interactive panoramic VR images. This is the mainstream video that can be viewed with simple devices due to labor and cost constraints.

In general, non-interactive panoramic VR images can be divided into the following five categories: (1) panoramic display of tourist attractions or Spaces; ② Panoramic live broadcasting; ③ Panoramic news reporting; (4) panoramic plot short film; ⑤ Panoramic cinema environment, movies on the screen, to simulate the immersion of cinema watching movies. The shooting, production and viewing of such panoramic VR images are relatively simple and easy, without the need for additional procedures and complex equipment. Users only need the simplest VR glasses and the gyroscope built into mobile phones to achieve VR viewing. At present, although VR images on APP platform have a certain immersion experience and active viewing mode, the interaction level is limited, which cannot truly realize the active viewing of the audience, let alone the real interactive experience.

3.3 Interactive VR movies

Compared with panoramic VR movies, interactive VR movies greatly enhance the interactive experience. Users can freely walk and choose in the virtual world with VR glasses and controllers to interact with the movie content. At present, there have been some interactive VR movies, such as "Deep Sea" and "Eternal Flower Dance". Due to the enhancement of interactivity, VR movies also enable the audience to have a strong subjective immersion experience. At present, interactive VR films are just starting to use 3D animation and interactive engine to make them. There are relatively few works and the threshold is relatively high. However, there are still a large number of independent creative teams and film and television companies at home and abroad trying to explore interactive VR films. For example, Pixar's VR production Coco is an interactive VR film, although it was only used for the early preview and promotion of Coco. However, users can select characters in VR movies and interact with other objects in the movie, greatly raising the audience's expectations for the movie. However, limited by existing technologies, most of the current interactions have explicit interaction points that affect the immersive experience. How to elevate VR films to the level of interaction, exploration, social interaction and sharing, hide the interactive interface, and achieve the real sense of subjective free interaction, is the direction and goal of the future development of interactive VR films.

4 VR film attempt based on dynamic capture

4.1 VR based on dynamic capture

Dynamic capture originally originated from the capture and generation of animation action, in order to bind the animation character, make animation action more real and more natural. Along with the development of virtual reality technology, dynamic capture combined with space positioning technology begins to be widely used in the creation of virtual reality, to achieve the object to walk freely in a virtual environment, and motion control, thus brings more intense immersion experience, it can even reality environment and virtual environment of the object to the actual situation, the user can touch an object. The earliest VR with dynamic capture and spatial positioning is the world's first VIRTUAL reality game experience center developed by Australian Company Zero Latency. It covers an area of about 400 square meters and consists of 129 PS Eye cameras for spatial optical positioning. Game participants can walk freely in the space and complete the challenge. In recent years, the technology of this kind of equipment has been growing rapidly. HTC, SICK, Noyitom and other major domestic and foreign companies are constantly developing and innovating these technologies based on their own technologies, such as optical positioning and image recognition technology, motion sensing infrared camera technology and lidar technology.

Comparison of various VR movies


4.2 Body perception VR movies

In recent years, people have applied the technology of motion capture and spatial optical positioning to the production of VR movies, in order to achieve a full-range immersive experience with body perception. Although very few finished products have been released so far, some organizations have been developing body-sensing VR movies based on the successful experience of VR game experience centers. Audience based on dynamic capture VR movies emphasize physical awareness, can walk freely in virtual movie scene, and be able to use your body to touch, sense part of objects in the scene, the real and the virtual boundaries blurred, produce strong immersive and the sense, in the true sense realize like science fiction movie "super big players" in the virtual world of experience. However, due to the existing technology, the creation of VR movies is also very difficult. VR films need a perfect combination of dynamic capture technology, spatial positioning technology, interactive technology, shooting technology and animation special effects technology, which not only ensures good presentation effects, but also ensures the accuracy and stability of positioning. At the same time, dynamic capture VR movies have high requirements on the scene space for watching, which requires a large independent space and a certain degree of matching with the movie scene. Participants also wear devices that allow positioning and motion capture data feedback. Compared with panoramic VR film and interactive VR film, dynamic capture VR film is still in the experimental stage, the difficulty is the biggest, but it is definitely the future development trend of VR film, but also an important embodiment of the application of virtual reality technology. Dragon Quest is one of the few motion capture VR films, produced by the Optical Experimental Institute of Beijing Institute of Technology and Huayi Brothers. The film tries a new film form and narrative structure, and distributes the story in spatial scenes. Using optical positioning technology, participants can follow the story to "find the dragon" and "explore the secrets" in space. Although the comprehensive effect of this film still needs to be improved, it shows the development direction of VR film in the future, and will overturn the form and standard of the film industry. It is an important breakthrough of the film development in the next five years.

5. Development and problems of VR films

There is no doubt that VR films are the target pursued by consumers in the era of experiential consumption, and also the trend of the development of future films. However, science and technology directly restrict the development of VR films, which is mainly reflected in the following three aspects. ① There are some practical operation problems at the technical and equipment level. In reality, there are various defects in VR shooting equipment, VR glasses display equipment, and spatial positioning equipment. Even the resolution of VR images captured by the most professional VR cameras is far less than the observation clarity of human eyes, and the resolution of VR glasses is even worse. It has always been difficult to achieve ultra-high resolution for the display screen, and it is also the key point that device developers have been constantly researching and innovating. Spatial positioning and body capture technologies also face challenges, and how to enhance the stability and accuracy of both to avoid dizziness is also an urgent problem to be solved. While corporate research teams are using their own technology to improve, there is still a lot of room for improvement. (2) There are some problems in the narrative structure and creative language of VR films, which completely subvert the shooting and embodiment techniques of traditional film montage. The strong interactivity of viewers makes VR films have to construct a set of new creation and narrative methods. This also makes many people have been not optimistic about VR films. ③ There are still some obstacles on the investment level. VR films have relatively high shooting and presentation costs, but their short-term returns are relatively low. Under such high cost operation, whether VR films can have high commercial returns is the first question investors should consider. Only when VR films generate certain commercial value can they form a virtuous circle.

6 the conclusion

Although VR films are still in their infancy, and many technologies and ideas are not mature enough to be popularized in the market, the experience expectation of VR films is also improving under the continuous stimulation of new consumption concepts in the era of experiential consumption. ABI Research estimates that the total VR market will reach $141 billion by 2025. According to the Guidance on Accelerating the development of virtual reality industry released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the overall strength of China's virtual reality industry should be among the top in the world by 2025. In addition, the arrival of 5G information era will greatly improve the overall network efficiency, will also bring new vitality to VR industry. In the near future, VR professional theaters will be popular, more people will pay attention to VR movies, and we will usher in the real ERA of VR movies.


[1]} Li Bin, Xu Yi. Future state, interactivity and movie sense of network film in 5G era [J]. New Film,2021(02):31-40.]

[2] Zhou Jian. VR Film development stimulated by experiential consumption [J]. Wide Angle Publishing,2019(23):76-78.

[3] zheng shuyi. The influence of VR technology on film creation and its development direction [J]. Research on transmission power,2019,3(31):277.

[4] Li Bingjie. Development assumption and analysis of VR movie viewing mode [J]. Publication Wide Angle,2018(20):65-67.

[5] Zheng Yansheng. Research on the current predicament and development prospect of VR film [D]. Guangzhou University,2018.

[6] Zhou Shiming, Song Ji. Barriers and prospects of VR film development from the perspective of technology [J]. Digital World,2018(06):13.

[7] lu leiru. Research on VR film and its development prospect [J]. News research guide,2018,9(10):144+169.

[8] Dong Qizhang, Wang Ping. The change and development trend of VR technology on film [J]. Media,2017(17):51-52.

[9] Ling Benxin. Brief Analysis of the development prospect of VR film [J]. Popular Literature and Art,2016(22):182-183.

[10] Wang Xufeng. Looking into the development prospect of "VR film" from previous film technology revolution [J]. Film Review and Introduction,2017(09):10-13.