At the moment, most 360 media created for audiences is designed to be viewed in a Head Mounted Display (HMD) or on a device like a smartphone or computer via a 360 video player (like Youtube).
Viewing a 360 experience could be a great shared experience, like going to the cinema. However in my opinion, neither the traditional HMD or the 360 player are best suited for shared 360 experiences.
Negatives of a 360 video player
- Viewers are confined by the size of the device they have, the screen won’t fill your field of view like a Head Mounted Display
Negatives of a Head Mounted Display
- Viewers use their voice to communicate with each other - usually talking over the video soundtrack
- Viewers cannot be sure where their companion is looking - are they talking about the same thing?
- Viewers are unable to see each other’s facial expressions - missing out on the immediate reactions to the experience
Displaying Immersive Projections Instead...
The umbrella is lightweight and can fit more than one person inside, it could act as a screen for 360 video to be projected onto and make for a good shared experience as viewers could see each other whilst the video will cover more of their field of view. Viewers could choose to change the video by spinning the umbrella. This was done manually in my test by changing the video myself.
- Increase the size of the sides of the umbrella to have more surface area to project onto
- Include speakers inside the umbrella to play sound accompanying the video
- Multiple projectors which cover the whole umbrellaAdding a location tracker to the umbrella (like the Vive Tracker) and triggering experiences based on location
- The viewer could control the video by moving the umbrella. For example, moving the umbrella forwards, fast forwards the video
- Projectors which follow the umbrella as it moves