The emergence of VR technology in the 1980s has offered viewers with immersive and interactive experience while viewing computer-medicated videos. There are four main components in VR comprising of ‘a virtual world, immersion, sensory feedback, and interactivity’ (Sherman & Craig 2002); however, some VR videos need only a few elements due to the importance of each element to convey the story. Apparently, the mainstream media corporations including Google, YouTube, Facebook so on and forth have incorporated VR technology to project the videos responding to the popularity of VR. VR is basically produced by filming or creating game in 360-degree format. The key aspect of VR filming is to understand the Field of View (FOV) (Rlenlab n.d.). This means the wider view can be captured, the more immersive feeling the viewers can get. To access VR video, the viewers need headsets such as Google cardboard or the high-tech one like HTC Vive, Sony PlayStation, or Oculus Rift.
The use of VR to raise awareness and promote culture and tourism
Due to the proliferation of VR usage, lots of VR projects were produced to raise awareness and promote cultural importance. VR has been used to promote tourism because it is believed that it can stimulate the viewers’ sense through producing the immersive environment (Bulencea 2016; Jacobius 2016). The advantages of using VR to raise students’ awareness about the culture has been proofed by (O’Brien & Levy 2008) following the result indicating that student can notice the different between native culture and other cultures while exposing to the VR technology. In Japan, various VR videos were produced incorporating with the reality activities to promote the culture and tourism sites aiming to attract the tourists both local and internationally, for instance one of the promotional videos is 360-degree virtual tour (Chugoku+Shikoku Tokyo n.d.). The impact of this VR enables audiences to get some more ideas and information especially let them interact and explore the immersive technology making them feel as they are in the real world and this possibly triggers their interest and intention to visit the place. As the new study conducted by Neilsen Research (2017) also finds that VR usage has immensely contributed to the effective branding and advertising. Likewise, the VR campaign was massively successful in Korea to raise the tourists’ awareness and enhance the cultural significances and different tourism sites across Korea and the campaign was organised at the airport to also entertain international tourists (Smith 2016).
Immersive VR utilisation for edutainment
The new tendency of VR usage is to entertain and at the same time educate the viewers. (G´ alvez & Iglesias 2010) claim that students are more engaged and concurrently get more entertainment during their class participation after video games and VR videos are integrated into the teaching method. The SBS has created VR application comprising many projects, one of which is the video of promoting Indigenous Garma festival (Johnston 2016; SBS 2016). The Australian Museum Sydney has also collaborated with Samsung, Alchemy VR, and David Attenborough to produce two VR projects, one was about ‘First Life VR’ aiming to edutainment children and adults about the life evolvement through animation (Stark 2016).
Bulencea, P 2016, ‘How To Use Virtual Reality In Tourism’, viewed 11 September 2017, http://www.gamification-in-tourism.com/how-to-use-virtual-reality-in-tourism/
Chugoku+Shikoku Tokyo n.d., ‘360 virtual tour’, viewed 12 September 2017, http://www.chushikokuandtokyo.org/virtualtour/
G´ alvez, A & Iglesias, A es 2010, ‘Videogames and virtual reality as effective edutainment tools’, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 6485 LNCS, pp. 564–576.
Jacobius ,P 2016, VR in Tourism Destinations, viewed 11 September 2017, http://www.virtual-reality-in-tourism.com/overview-destinations/
Johnston, R 2016, ‘SBS Virtual Reality Gives A First-Person Insight Into Australia’s Culture’, Gizmodo, 11 October 2016, viewed 12 September 2017, https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/10/sbs-virtual-reality-gives-a-first-person-insight-into-australias-culture/
O’Brien, MG & Levy, RM 2008, ‘Exploration through Virtual Reality: Encounters with the Target Culture’, Canadian Modern Language Review, vol. 64, no. 4, pp. 663–691.
Pan, Z. & Chen, J 2008, VR-based edutainment. Virtual Reality, vol. 12, no.1, pp.1.
Rlenlab n.d., ‘Field of View for Virtual Reality Headsets Explained’, viewed 12 September 2017, https://vr-lens-lab.com/field-of-view-for-virtual-reality-headsets/
SBS 2016, ‘SBS brings you the world through VR’, viewed 12 September 2017, http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/vr/virtual-reality
Sherman, W.R. & Craig, Alan B, 2002. Understanding Virtual Reality: Interface, Application, and Design, Burlington: Elsevier Science.
Smith, R 2016, ‘Watch: Incheon airport uses virtual reality and reality- to promote Korean culture,’ viewed 12 September 2017, http://www.prweek.com/article/1413981/watch-incheon-airport-uses-virtual-reality-reality-promote-korean-culture
Stark, L 2016, ‘Australian Museum showcases “future of learning” with VR film’, viewed 12 September 2017, http://www.gadgetguy.com.au/australian-museum-showcases-future-of-learning-with-vr-film/