2.2 - That's CGI VR vs. 360 Immersive Experiences!



Senior Learning Experience Producer, Destery Hildenbrand, joins me to talk about the differences between 360 immersive experiences and what most would consider typical VR (virtual reality) experiences. We also chat about some use cases for both types of learning experience, as well as where the technology might be going in the corporate workspace in the near-ish future.


Learn more about CGI VR for learning at Motive.io.


Connect with Destery on Linkedin.

The following transcript was auto-generated and may contain spelling errors or typos.


Leslie Early

Okay, today we have Destery Hildenbrand on the show. Destery is a Senior Learning Experience producer at Motive, as well as a pretty prolific speaker on immersive technologies. Like I see you everywhere, you're at all the ATDs and all the things, teaching all the classes. And today, I'm so excited because we're going to be talking about the differences between virtual reality versus 360 experiences, which I think sometimes people tend to overlap a little bit. But before we get into that, I want to hand it over you to Destery, would you like to take a moment to just introduce yourself real quick to our listeners?


Destery Hildendbrand

Oh, sure thing. Thanks. Thanks, Leslie. Um, so yeah, my name is Destery and I, I'm very fortunate, as you say, to be able to go and speak to a lot of different groups. here locally in the Midwest, I'm based out of Iowa. So the flyover state where you guys all go to the cool places you fly over and look down at where I'm living here, right? So um, but yeah, I'm, I'm super, I'm very excited about the opportunity to go out and share all this knowledge. About five years ago, I started by immersive reality journey. In augmented reality, I found a calendar just laying around, and I got to scan it with an app. And that was it. My trajectory had changed. And I was off like a rock. And I was like, ah, everybody has to know about this learning and development needs to know about this. So that's where I've been spending most of my time and about, yeah, about seven months ago. Now, I guess, right about the beginning of the year, I started at motive and working with motive. And, you know, really focusing my efforts on content creation in virtual reality. It's been, it's been a lot of fun. So,


Leslie Early

yes, it sounds like a lot of fun. And I see some of the posts, like your blog posts and different things. That motive also puts out and it's like, really cool. And I think this is a very, we're getting into a tangent very early in the episode. Usually it gets a couple questions. And before I go on tangents, but I will say, I, I think we're still at the beginning of the curve of early adopters, because I still hear a lot of people saying, Oh, this is not really ever gonna be a thing and l&d. But I disagree.


Destery Hildendbrand

Yeah, no, I would, I would disagree to you know, but I think you're right, I think we're still very early on the technology itself. Although it's been around for a long time, it is still very much in its infancy, especially how we're trying to adapt it, how we're trying to utilize it for learning experiences. And like the the, the S word right scale, how do we scale it affordably and make our organizations be able to do that? So? So yeah, I think you're exactly right, this really is going to be it may not be the entire future. Like we may not all end up living in the matrix. Right. But I think it very much could be a very effective It very much is an effective part of a blended learning solution for for almost any organization. So


Leslie Early

yeah, yeah. So I think I got a little ahead of our conversation. But I just needed to make my stance known on that. But I guess we can start with a little bit of a definition. So when we say immersive technologies, like you mentioned, augmented reality and virtual reality already, we're going to be bringing 360 into that. What does immersive technologies mean? Like, what if you had to, you know, give a really basic definition of that? What does that mean to you?


Destery Hildendbrand

Sure. So it's kind of it's actually funny, you asked, because a lot of the conferences and a lot of people I talk to there's always some new term, or some new abbreviation that shows up, right? So we've got augmented reality, we've got virtual reality. And we would group 360 video or immersive video, inside of that, that kind of group as well. So immersive reality is really if you think about any way that we're enhancing the world around us. So augmented reality starts off, and it is a digital overlay of information on top of the real world. So if you think about anything that could be imagined, you have a poster in front of you, and you scan it with your phone. And that poster brings up additional information, right to curate some content, pulls up a couple of videos, maybe a couple links for you to do more things, you know, things like that. It could also be so augmented reality kind of evolves, it evolved into what's called mixed reality. And mixed reality is really that next level, where you start to scan the world around you and you can interact with it, you're still in the real world, right? You still see what's going on. But I can scan street signs, I can scan tables and walls, and I can attach things and make things happen that way. So augmented reality, mixed reality, they're kind of going down that same path. When we get into virtual reality, though, that's where it really kind of changes. They're all sort of in the same family. But this is the distant cousin, right? So this one, immersive or virtual reality takes us completely out of the real world. So we are putting on a headset. We're completely isolating ourselves from what's happening in the world around us and it is a fully virtual simulation. So it's computer generated, we add in whatever content, whatever information we need, and the user goes through this completely simulated environment. And then as we will get going here, too, but 360 video or immersive video is a full capture, right, we have cameras that have lenses on both sides, they capture 360 degrees all the way around us. And this immersive video gives you a little bit higher fidelity that can be experienced on either a headset, so you could be in a headset looking around this 360 video, or you could actually be on a mobile device or a web browser. You know, it's it's sort of it has more traits of augmented reality a little bit in that way. But it can kind of live in both worlds a little bit. And I think, to our point into the conversation today, that's where VR and 360 video can sometimes get a little bit like the definitions can get a little blurry. They're like all VR, anything you put in a headset, right? That's like, right, not quite.


Leslie Early

Yeah, I think you're right. I think that's some of the confusion is that for 360 video, or photos, or experiences, you know, something like scenario VR, or even, yeah, things like that. If you're in a headset, or for it to truly be immersive, you should be sort of in a headset, because that then you feel, you know, immersed in that environment or whatever. But that's doesn't mean it's virtual reality, because virtual reality in the sense of like, we're creating a virtual world is a little different in AI, so how do you how do you so they're both immersive in the sense that you have a headset on, you feel like you're immersed in a different place. But 360 video, the way I differentiate it in my mind, 360 video or photo is still a 2d image like I can't in when I'm in that virtual space, I can't reach out and touch or interact with a 360 object, the way that I could react with something that's created specifically for a virtual reality environment. That makes exactly


Destery Hildendbrand

it. No, it does. 100%. And that's when you start really kind of identifying some of the differences and some of those nuances between the two. So if you think about 360 video, exactly what you said, it's a 2d image, I mean, imagine a video that you shoot on your phone or on a video camera, right? I mean, I guess video camera kind of makes me sound old, right? Because we everything, so but imagine capturing a video in some way. And you've got it on that rectangle in front of you, whether it's a TV, whether it's you know, computer screen on the phone itself. So it's a 2d image. And essentially what we're doing when we're capturing 360, as we're capturing two of those one in the front, one in the back, and then we're using the term stitching, like we're stitching them all together, software goes in and connects the dots on both sides. And then it essentially wraps it on the inside of a big sphere, and then it drops the user right in the middle of that sphere. So now we are literally just spinning around in a circle looking at imagine as though you were a participant in a location. So imagine you were there sitting in a chair sitting in the stands sitting on the ground, wherever you're at, right. And you're seeing everything as though as as a passive, you know, kind of bystander in this particular scene. So it is essentially wrapping that 2d image around a sphere, and then we get to look around and see everything that's happening in that sphere. Now, it could be an image, it could be a video, either way. But But yeah, and it does limit what you can do, it isn't it doesn't let you walk around most of these 360 images there, they would be considered, you know, they give you three degrees of freedom, essentially. So they call it three off in the in the biz, right. So we can move our head up and down, we can tilt side to side, we can kind of you know, pitch and yaw all around in our head, but we can't really move around, I can't walk to objects, I can't, you know, do that kind of stuff, at least not effectively. So you can create some bigger spaces that will work that way. But it really is a fantastic way to transport people to another place or to give them a little bit of or the visuals of an experience without actually being there. So you see a lot of a lot of museums use 360 video a lot of a lot of I can't think of what it's called when you travel places. I travel, you know, travel videos, exactly, you know, travel videos, so you can go find videos of going to the Statue of Liberty or going to the Great Wall of China or all of these different places. So I mean, there's lots of different things that you can do, but once you're there, you are limited. There is some interaction you can do you mentioned scenario VR, Articulate Storyline, and captivate 360 and not Captivate. 360. Captivate 2019 Both give you the option to work with 360 either images or video depending on what it is. So you can make it interactive at The same way you make elearning interactive, right? So you can have buttons, you can have some extra videos, stuff like that pop up. But it really isn't, you know, you're not actively going through this particular space, you're more of a passive sort of viewer and observer inside of it.


Leslie Early

And so comparing that then to, like VR, right, VR is like, constructed, like you're constructing a 3d space with with 3d assets that are much more grabbable interactable, for lack of, I don't even know if that's really a word. But you know,


Destery Hildendbrand

those are both perfect ways to describe it. 100% So, one of the other things before we leave 360 video is that the fidelity is usually a little bit better, because it's essentially a picture or a video, right? So one of the things we do see is when we move into VR, or we can refer to it sometimes as CGI VR. So it's really that completely simulated environment, created using 3d assets created you inside of the computer, you know, very similar to game creation, you know, video game creation and virtual reality experience creation, things like that. So inside of this is VR setting, the fidelity you go in, and you know, right away, it's not, you know, it's not a real picture, it's not a real video, but you have the ability to move around, it has what we call six degrees of freedom. So not only can I move my head around and see what's going on, but I can walk forward, I can walk backward, I can run through it, if I wanted to, I can, like you mentioned, pick things up, I can interact, I can, you know, cause things to happen, open doors, closed drawers, you know, you know, throw things, these are all things that we can do. And that gives us a lot more, a little bit more potential when it comes to actual hands on learning experiences. So real like so real VR, not necessarily real VR, but CGI, VR is really that active engaged, you've got that interactive scene that you can go in and do stuff with. And that's where you can really create all of the things that are going on.


Leslie Early

So we've outlined a little bit of you know, what the differences are between these different types of immersive experiences. Initially, we might think that, you know, CGI, VR might be a better option for learning and development, because there is a higher degree of you know, this interaction. However, I think there is a case to be made that in some instances, 360 is also a good solution. So how, in your experience, how have you seen these kind of being put to use, you know, in in the l&d space,


Destery Hildendbrand

yeah, I think you're 100%, right, I mean, so with 360 imagery, or 360 videos, one of the things you're gonna see is, this is a really great way to get into the immersive space. So augmented reality 360 video, that's really, those are some easier lifts to get in the investment is usually under $1,000, to get in and start doing some stuff. And then the skills that we have directly translate over the skills we have as learning developers, right? I mean, we have a lot of those we go into, we build elearning, we work in, you know, Photoshop, and we work in Premiere, and Camtasia. And all these things that we work with, it translates really well into now just working with 360 images, or 360 video. So using those to, you know, get people to experience your look at your, your organization might have locations all across the US all across the world, right. And a lot of the employers will never see that, you know, a great way to get in is to start recording some, some tours of all these different places. And then when they come back, you know, they can send those tours back. And then everyone can experience what it's like to be in some of these different places. So yeah, so I would say that's a great way to get into it, it helps you if you wanted to buy a couple headsets, you could put on a headset and be fully immersed inside of there, you wouldn't necessarily have to, you could experience it on a mobile device or the web the same way. So I think that's a, you know, financially and skill wise, it's a little bit easier lift. Now, when we start talking about CGI VR, you really have to, you have to have a really good use case. Like it has to be the solution to your problem like this, you know, I know sometimes I've worked with organizations worked in organizations and, and been guilty of it myself where I've, I've taken technology in search of a problem, right? I don't, I don't take the problem. And I'm like, This is awesome, I want to use it, I gotta use it. So and I think that that's something you absolutely cannot do with virtual reality because virtual reality is a sizable investment in time in skill, resources. And financially it is it is very much so it fits really really well. And again, it's a great piece of that blended overall solution that you put together, but it works really well if things are really dangerous to recreate. You know, we've created an open pit mine we've created you know, utility locate where they have to go across six lanes of traffic well cars are going by and you know, you don't want to throw somebody brand new be like, Alright, first thing on the mind ready, here's a hardhat go, you know, it's like, it's not gonna work out so well we're gonna need to do some other stuff. So to get them that hands on that experience that presence, and that's something that virtual reality CGI virtual reality does really well imagine you walk into that mind the first day. And there's the crusher hits a real full size rock crusher, and there's an excavator loading boulders in, here's the holler truck over on the side, and you're like, that's, like, 10 of me, like, that's crazy. Like to get scale presence, you know, to do that, that's a great use case for something like that. Whether it's if it's dangerous to recreate if it's expensive to recreate, or if it's just, you know, if it's really, really inconvenient to recreate, and it makes more sense to give people the actual ability to get hands on doing it. Maybe they're cleaning equipment, maybe they're fixing equipment, maybe they're assembling products, you can do all that right there in VR, but you have to have a really solid and vetted use case with clear goals. I mean, obviously, you want to have those things for all of your projects, right. But you know, to justify the expense that goes into a virtual reality, CGI virtual reality development, you really want to have all your ducks in a row. And I think that's where, you know, you want to experience as much of it as you can and get, you know, to know what it can and can't do. And then really, you know, find a vendor, find a partner that you can work with, it really helps you along the way.


Leslie Early

Yeah, I think right now, definitely, I think if you want to go that CGI VR route, it would have you would have to have some sort of partner, not to just plug motive, but Neil, a company like motive, who has experienced developers and designers who can sort of do a lot of that heavy lifting and partner in that way. But I had another thought, oh, as you were describing that, you know, these very dangerous situations is a good a good use case for this. But I can't help but go on my second tangent of this conversation, which is that Facebook and you know, Oculus, they own Oculus is pushing this Metaverse, right. And so now suddenly, we have this horizon work rooms where it's like the digital conference room essentially is coming out and like they're really trying to push. It is CGI VR, is CGI VR environment, essentially, the next generation of zoom or Miro or something like that are combining those things. So I'm wondering, your take on that, if you think this is gonna be part of our daily workflow? I


Destery Hildendbrand

don't know. Yeah, you know, I've been I've been keeping an eye on that I kind of watched some of it, I've seen a lot of this stuff kind of just grow exponentially. Yeah, due to the situation we've been in last year. Right? Yes, trying to look for that next thing that we can do virtually. And, and although I applaud their efforts, and I think it's a it's, it's a it's an interesting take, and it's a good, it's a direction that we can go, I also see that, you know, no company is immune from, you know, trying to do the same old things we've always done and put them in this new technology. So I don't think Horizons is the future. But I think Horizons is kind of a step, a bridge, a bridge to try to figure out what that future is, you know, what we found, what we found it motive is that a good comfortable time for people to spend inside of VR is about you know, maybe 1015 minutes right around there, you know, you're probably not going to spend your whole day in VR. You know, there are potential downfalls, you know, if depending on the types of experience, you can experience different ways, your body can react in physical ways that aren't necessarily as comfortable as you'd like it to be. That's not normally the case. But if you start spending, you know, three hours, four hours, five hours, I don't know, I can't do that myself, like, I spend 1520 minutes at a time in the headset. And it's enough for me, like I can get in, I can play a game or I can work on an experience. You know, there's some days when I'm in and out of the headset, you know, for every, every 20 minutes or so, I'm up doing stuff and then the next day, I'm like, alright, I'll take a break for a little bit, you know, work on some other things. But, you know, it's, it's a, it's a fantastic medium. And I think like the groups like Facebook and coming out with horizons, they're on the same boat we are, we're all trying to find that next great way to immerse and create those experiences that are really memorable, that are valuable, that's important, too, has to be valuable. And then that makes the most sense for whatever situation you're in. Yeah. So, you know, another great way that this is kind of seeing and that's sort of the direction they're going with that Horizons is soft skills training. You know, imagine I saw an article the other day and it said, the title kind of is off putting, but it said, you know, your manager might be training to fire you right now in VR, right but right But the click Beatty. The core of it is though, you know, your leaders might right now be practicing those crucial conversations with with avatars in VR, you know, the artificial intelligence, and they might be practicing Crucial Conversations, they might be doing other types of leadership training, empathy training, you know, maybe they're working with patients in a hospital who are critical, you know, critical care, or dementia patients, like there's, there's lots of different ways that we could utilize virtual reality, and combine some of those other next level, like those next, you know, types of technologies, whether it's, you know, artificial intelligence, or the any of the Internet of Things stuff, right, like all those things that we bring out. So I think there's a lot of potential and I think like Facebook, you know, groups that are out there that are working in virtual reality, we're all trying to figure out what works now for everybody, and also trying to stay on that bleeding edge, what can we do next? How can we, you know, how can we shape the future influence the future of the use of this product. And personally, I can't speak for anybody else. But, you know, going backwards is never going forward. So, you know, but trying to reuse a new technology the same way, we've used all the other technology, you're, it's, you're never going to get the results you want. It's an okay place to start. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to criticize anybody doing it that way. There's experiences and things that I do that I still build that way, and it's perfectly okay. But you always want to keep, like, you always want to keep reaching for that next thing to you always got to be thinking, how could I use this different How can I think differently and use this in a way that really gets people you know, that that gets people engaged, immersed, excited, you know, all of those things. So and I think that's something that immersive reality in general can do. And I'm a huge proponent of virtual reality to doing that, too. So yeah, the horizons things interesting. I'm always interested to see who's doing what and how it's being right. You know, how, how it's being received by the masses. So


Leslie Early

yeah, yeah, I'm excited. I'm always excited for the future here. Because I, even though I don't think Facebook, work rooms is the end all be all of online spaces, collaborative spaces, I think it's gonna get it's gonna open the space up to more people. And the same way that articulate releasing this update of having 360 images now in their tool is doing the exact same thing in l&d of getting people excited about 360. Because 360 has been around in Captivate for a long time, like two years, at least, but we just the community surrounding that tool is not as enthusiastic or as vocal or doesn't share as much about it. So I'm excited to see people's work. Like, I'm excited to see people's examples of how to use 360. Because I just think it we still are developed, we're still in that bridge. You know, we're still figuring out where this is all going.


Destery Hildendbrand

Well, yeah, it's great. I just saw thing from David Anderson from the, you know, elearning heroes, right? He just said he just had a blog the other day 30 some ways I use 360 images. And I was like, oh, that's brilliant. You know, get it out there and get those examples out there. And people can start there and grow their own. So yeah, you're right.


Leslie Early

Agreed. Well, so we've covered a lot. Thank you so much dentistry. If people would like to connect with you to continue the conversation or have questions, you're very friendly guy. Where can people connect with you?


Destery Hildendbrand

Sure. The best way is to connect with me on LinkedIn, send me a message and we can schedule some time I would love to sit down and chat we can have a virtual coffee and, and talk about all things immersive reality, or if you happen to be attending any events, always double check something I try to be there as best I can. So if you're at an event and you want to talk immersive reality, you know, chances are pretty good. You know, there's like an 80% chance that I'm probably at the same event and I'd love to sit down so but otherwise LinkedIn, you can follow me on Twitter at Destiny, one Kenobi. And yeah, so those are the best ways to get ahold of me. And then getting contact.


Leslie Early

Amazing. Thank you again so much for your time. DUSTRY I hope you have a good rest of your day. Thanks so much. Bye bye


Transcribed by https://otter.ai