Using Virtual Reality for Real Estate? Avoid Common VR Mistakes
As virtual reality technology has entered the mainstream, it has already begun to create a shift in the way we learn, travel and do business. In fact, it has created a paradigm shift in the way the high-end luxury real estate is developed, designed and marketed.
Like any relatively new technology, virtual reality developers are learning as they go. One barrier to the widespread use of this technology is that when improperly produced, virtual reality can cause motion sickness in some users.
Why Virtual Reality Sickness Happens
Imagine standing below decks on a ship in rough seas. While the entire cabin is moving, but your eyes tell you that you are standing still. You feel the movement, up, down, side to side...you begin to feel clammy, your head hurts and before long your looking for a trash can....
The problem starts in the vestibular system, the series of fluid-filled chambers in the inner ear. As your head moves so does this fluid. Because these canals are situated differently, each sends corresponding information to the brain about different types of motion. This system works in conjunction with the visual system integrating sight and sensation to tell the body where is in space. An immersive virtual reality environment places a “wedge” between these systems.
Best Practices to Avoid Virtual Reality Sickness
Because VR is such a new technology, it's pretty much all experimental at this stage in its development. Early adopters have paved the way regarding learning about the complications and challenges this new technology offers. In just the past year, it's become apparent that VR is not like any other medium!
VR, when used effectively can create a powerful connection that can supercharge the relevance of your property, creating the emotional bond and resonance of a “live” walkthrough without the necessity of a physical location. When used improperly, it can create physical sickness that can damage your brand!
Using best practices when creating VR experiences can help to alleviate the adverse effects and turn VR into your biggest marketing asset. Start by avoiding these four VR mistakes when creating your content.
• Making viewers nauseous
VR production is very different than using a video camera. Remember, you are dealing with an immersive technology that “tricks” the brain into believing it is an actual physical environment. Unlike action movies, too much movement during production can make end users get serious motion sickness!
The viewer needs to be in complete control of the experience. That means as they turn their head to the left to admire the photorealistic Italian marble countertops in the kitchen, they should experience a clear and steady visual. There needs to be a level horizon that the eye can focus on with no close objects blocking the view. Any movement within an environment must be deliberate and stable to keep viewers comfortable.
• Wrong Pacing
In an action film, frequent cuts add energy and drama. That doesn't work in VR. Cutting too quickly can disorient viewers. In a VR environment users needs time to wander and experience the environment. That's not to say that well-paced shots with time in between are to be completely avoided.
The goal is to keep users engaged while still providing time to acclimate. Especially when marketing real estate, think “real-time” and avoid excessively disoriented editing in your productions.
• Using Gimmicks
When marketing a property, the best practice is to keep it relevant and focused. Using tricks like hiding objects, or creating a “game” of your virtual tour is a bad practice. Particularly with the advent of the 360-degree video, some “gimmicky” patterns have emerged in some content. The object of virtual reality is to immerse viewers in an alternate reality to build an emotional bond. This is what sells luxury real estate, not gimmicks.
• Forgetting the Object of the Virtual Reality Exercise!
Like any new technology, the novelty of what it's capable of can sometimes overshadow the end goal. Just because something is possible using virtual reality doesn't mean that it's helpful, or useful. Creativity has its place in the development cycle, but it must be used with the end goal of selling the property in mind.
The best practice is to create a realistic “story” while still using experimentation to push the boundaries of the medium. The technology should bring users into your virtual environment naturally, conceptually and literally.
As with any new technology, you'll make mistakes. It's part of the learning process and a natural consequence of pushing creative limits. By keeping these potential pitfalls front-of-mind when creating content, you can effectively use the technology to create strong emotional bonds without forcing users to run to the medicine cabinet!
Village Features produces strong, emotional and compelling virtual reality marketing content for luxury property developers like Kiawah Island Resorts in South Carolina. Give us a call and let us show you how using best practices, we can create content that will help you to grow your business, give your company a competitive advantage in your market, and sell more homes faster than you ever have before!