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InstaVR Tips & Tricks: Getting Started 

InstaVR Tips & Tricks is a new monthly article where we teach you how to optimize your InstaVR account. In Volume 1, we'll focus on the things you should consider before signing up for an InstaVR account.

Why Should I Create a VR app?

The first question any potential InstaVR user should ask is: Why should I create this experience in immersive 360? InstaVR has made creating an app simple & fast. However, as you share your app with others, you want to make sure there is a reason for it to exist.

It's not surprising that early VR adopter industries have been real estate, tourism, entertainment, education, and training. Most of these are experience-based. That is to say, the user can experience feelings or sensations by being transported via a VR headset to somewhere they are not physically located at. 

If you want to create a memorable experience, VR is for you. If you want to create a user-controlled immersive virtual environment, VR is for you. If you want to educate users by making them feel present someplace they are not, VR is for you. 

There's a lot of use cases for Virtual Reality -- but before you put in the work to capture and create your app, you want to be sure that Virtual Reality is the best platform to do so.

What Kind of 360 Camera Should I Buy?

This is a question I get often from new InstaVR customers. They know they want to create a VR app, but they don't know how to capture the images or video to incorporate into the app. The first step is purchasing a VR camera.

As to which brand of camera to buy... that's up to you. An Amazon search yields a ton of possibilities, and I generally look carefully at the reviews before purchasing to make sure a camera meets my needs.

Some of the factors to consider: 1. Is the camera designed more for stills or video? 2. How does it do the capture while avoiding including the photographer? 3. What are the resolutions the camera captures in? 4. How often does the company push out new cameras? (i.e. should I wait for the next release) 5. How portable is the camera and will it attach to my existing rigs? 

In terms of entry level cameras for VR novices, we generally recommend two from companies that we are friends with: the Ricoh Theta S and the Insta 360

Any Tips for Image/Video Capture Prior to Upload to InstaVR? 

1. Storyboard. When doing VR capture, you really have to think like a filmmaker. Even if you are doing image capture instead of video, you have to consider each panorama like an individual scene. You'll add navigation between panoramas or videos on our platform, but you want the transitions to be logical. The user flow is important to putting together an engaging VR experience.

2. Always capture twice before moving on. If you're doing a real estate tour, for example, always do two captures of a single room. Why? Because in putting together a 360 panorama, many cameras have in-camera or post-capture stitching. However, unlike with a normal rectangular 2d photo, there may be some blurring on the periphery of your capture. A little blur isn't a huge deal, but a lot can be distracting. So it's better to be safe than sorry and capture twice.

3. Don't forget the audio. Despite VR being thought of as a visual experience, audio is often essential to making your project succeed. This could be captured in-scene for video or as audio narration overlaid on InstaVR for stills. Particularly if you're capturing .mp4 video, consider the audio your 360 camera can pick up. Even the best visual capture of an area can be marred at the app level if the audio is distracting or unclear. A 360 capture of Niagara Falls is awesome -- but to hear the rush of the water makes it even cooler. Don't let the loud tourists next to you on the boat ruin the experience for your audience though -- place your camera where it will have the best chance to pick up the audio that will best complement your experience.

Next Time on InstaVR Tips & Tricks: Enhancing Your Panoramas Through Navigation & Hotspots.