“IoT” and “VR” are already familiar words to us. Various technologies have been developed and introduced in the media, but how will the progress of “IoT” and “VR” change the TV shows that we are in contact with on a daily basis. We will explore this topic through the event “Connected Media Tokyo 2017”.
■The current state of TV shows and VR
On June 7-9, the comprehensive event “Connected Media Tokyo 2017” was held at Makuhari Messe, on technology that uses digital media. Exhibition booths were occupied mainly by broadcasting stations and video production companies. The central topic was the current state of TV shows and VR.
At the booth of Jolly Good Inc., who are involved in the production of VR media and the like, they displayed informational programs with VR video co-produced with local stations. I also saw a couple of them, for example, a show reporting on a sake brewery. The reporter was taking us along, introducing the process of making sake. Even in the interview scenes, the viewer can freely choose what they are looking at: the face of the reporter, the face of the person being interviewed, inside of a barrel of sake, or the surrounding scenery. It has a realistic feeling as if you are there on the spot. It was a type of reporting that I was used to, but still it had a very refreshing feeling.
On the other hand, we can also see some problems. ①First of all, since viewers move their viewpoint freely, it is difficult to insert subtitles or onscreen text and images. Even this exhibited work was only basic oral explanation without any text. ②The next problem is that the position of the camera is static. This is only natural, since they are using a 360° camera, but it can be stressful for the viewer that there are no images from a different viewpoint such as a top-down shot. ③Also the positioning of the camera is very close to the subject (reporter etc.) This is considered to be because you always need to keep the focus close enough so that you can see in 360°. If the subject is far away and the camera is focused there, when you look around, you will not be able to focus on nearby subjects, they will be blurred.
It was an exhibition that featured the huge appeal of VR shows and some of their challenges.
■Efforts and challenges of VR shows for each broadcasting station
In a corner of the venue there was a panel discussion held by a major commercial broadcasting station entitled “TV x VR – Broadcasting a full scale experience – The future of 360° media for TV stations,” where the current VR initiatives of TV stations were introduced.
TBS was introducing a PR video of the sports show “SASUKE”. It introduces the entire huge competition venue, you could get a feeling of the enormous size of the venue from the video. Fuji TV introduced a video made with a 360° camera of the filming site of the show. It meets the needs of viewers who want to see behind the scenes of the filming set.
In addition, they introduced a new initiative at Tokai Television, where a reporting corner with VR is set up on the set of the informational program, the caster of the program watches the report video on the VR headset and tells their impressions, and the VR report video is uploaded to their website after the program has aired.
Various efforts have been made at each TV station, such as using it in collaboration with shows and events.
It was also introduced that in VR leading countries such as US, it is used in reporting and news programs, where it is particularly easy to convey realistic sensations.
SASUKE 2017 360-degree video PR
SASUKE 2017 Here is the highlight! VR
Fuji TV VR website
Tokai Television “VR TOKAI”
However, throughout the panel discussion, there were still only a few cases of VR being used in the main part of the TV program, VR was used in many cases for added value such as PR videos and bonus footage video, and I got the impression that they are fumbling in the dark. Further issues were raised, such as, as mentioned above, it is difficult to take footage from far away, and that it is not profitable as a business. Also, Asahi TV had reported that young people today think that VR does not resonate with them. We heard a memorable opinion, where someone noted that the keyword of “sharing” is necessary for young people today, such as in Instagram or Snow, therefore they believe that VR would be more popular if we added the element of sharing to it.
In this event tour, we got the strong impression that the TV shows making use of VR were still in the “trial stage”, but at “Wireless Japan 2017”, which was held at the same time, they exhibited a glimpse of future possibilities.
The second part considers the future of TV shows and VR from “Wireless Japan 2017”.
>>Continuing onto the second half
“Connected Media Tokyo 2017”
・93% of people in Japan haven’t experienced VR yet! Have you?
・VRHMD. Interesting, but“it might be too soon to buy.”
・”Japanese Amusement Expo” report －3 new trends－ Second half
(Article by : Kenichi Nakamura)
Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.