As of recently, there has been a spike in the use and publication of 360 videos. Although both 360 videos and Virtual Reality have the user in a 360 degree environment, there are many difference between the two. With the use of a VR Headset, the user becomes fully immersed in a digital environment; where the user has full mobility in the digital world, and has the ability to walk, run, lift objects, interact, etc. The immersiveness of this experience means that the progression of the story or events are largely at the hands of the user.
While Virtual Reality takes users into a digital world, 360 videos are live action, filming reality as it is seen at that moment. 360 videos are captured using special 360 degree cameras but can be viewed on any 360-compatible device, including various apps, smartphones, computers, and more. The progression of the video is solely at the hands of the filmmaker, those viewing are not able to influence where the video takes the user; though they can look around during the video, but only from the perspective of the filmmaker. There are a number of 360 cameras currently market, and as this technology continues to grow and improve, its only natural to expect more impressive 360 videos and more affordable and readily available 360 cameras.
Whether you watch a 360 video or have a VR experience you are sure to be wowed; and while the differences between these two experiences are significant, you are sure to have an enjoyable experience either way.
Below is the full infographic by Sara Ullman: