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We sat down with YouTube VR Product Lead Kurt Wilms for a closer look.
What kind of community response have you seen to YouTube VR?
Kurt Wilms: The YouTube community has been enthusiastic about VR. For a lot of viewers, YouTube is the place where they discover and experience a VR video for the very first time. We’ll get comments where viewers express their astonishment that it’s even possible to experience content like this—and some people have even declared that the amazing immersive videos inspired them to go out and buy headsets!
YouTube is a platform traditionally centered around 2D, but there’s also a lot of energy and interest in emerging formats such as 360° and VR180 content. We know that both creators and viewers on YouTube are excited about exploring non-traditional mediums of storytelling. From becoming a part of the Brave Wilderness crew on their rainforest adventure to taking a tour of actress Madelaine Petsch’s trailer in Los Angeles, we’ve seen creators embrace VR to create new immersive videos that make their community feel closer and more present.
Which YouTube creators are doing particularly interesting work today? Do you have any personal favorites?
KW: So many! From the star-studded, Emmy-winning animated short Crow: The Legend VR to the eye-opening documentary by the UN on women’s rights, The Courage to Question, it’s been incredible to experience the wide variety of VR content coming from our creators. I’ve also really enjoyed watching Chloe x Halle perform their songs in VR and jumping into museum artwork with SoKrispy Media.
As the technologies behind VR and AR continue to evolve, what would you point to as the most exciting opportunities?
KW: We’re excited about how these emerging technologies can help our creators tell stories and create content in ways that aren’t currently possible. For example, advances in VR/AR technology have made it easier for Virtual YouTubers like Kizuna AI and Combo Panda to embrace new content formats on YouTube. With new VR180 cameras like the Insta360 EVO, shooting and editing immersive video is more accessible than ever before.
Any advice you’d share with new creators and artists looking to build for VR?
KW: It’s easy to get started with VR content on YouTube. There is a wide variety of cameras like the Insta360 EVO, Vuze XR, and Lenovo Mirage that are easy to use and integrate seamlessly into YouTube. We have many resources that give tips on producing videos in VR such as our YouTube Creator Academy course on VR. We are also holding VR Creator Labs at our YouTube Spaces for creators who want to receive advanced education from leading VR instructors and filmmakers.
Why did you decide to bring YouTube to Quest?
KW: We want to bring the YouTube VR app to as many people with a VR headset as possible. With more than 1 million VR videos and experiences on YouTube, we want to make sure all new Oculus Quest users and VR fans are able to able to access the diverse library of immersive content on YouTube.
If people take one thing away from YouTube on Quest, what do you hope it would be and why?
KW: We hope people get excited about all of the incredible content being created on YouTube every day! There’s a ton of amazing videos just waiting to be discovered. We hope that Oculus users can see and experience something totally unique that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise—like rock climbing in Yosemite. You can explore infinite worlds... all from the comfort of your headset.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
KW: We have plenty of resources available for viewers who want to discover great VR content on YouTube including our youtube.com/vr channel. For creators who want to learn more about creating VR content for YouTube, they can check out our YouTube Creator Academy course on VR here.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Kurt. We can’t wait for viewers and creators alike to get hands-on with YouTube VR on Quest.
T-minus five days and counting...
— The Oculus Team