Jaunt VR and Facebook Are Tracking Your Head Movements For Better 360-Degree Videos
Well-funded 360-degree video startup Jaunt VR recently debuted a publishing platform to rival YouTube as it continues to dabble in all aspects of reality capture. As part of the platform, Jaunt seems to be aggregating the head tracking data of viewers across its apps on a variety of platforms. The information is being delivered to creators as overlays showing a map of where people looked while watching a 360-degree movie. These “heatmaps” give an indication to creators whether their project is being viewed as intended or whether some viewers are finding their attention drawn to places the video’s creator didn’t expect. Red indicates a lot of attention, blue just a bit and black none at all. Check out a sample embedded below.
We’ve heard of others working on similar technology, but Jaunt was a relatively early player in VR that’s raised more than $100 million to date from companies including Disney. If these heatmaps help creators make better videos, it could give Jaunt an edge as it competes with the likes of Facebook and Google to expand its content library. Facebook, in fact, just announced similar tools.
For example, Quba Michalski created the 360-degree film The Pull and it’s featured as one of the first works offered through the newly launched Jaunt platform. Michalski wrote a post outlining how the heatmaps identify exactly what works and what doesn’t:
“Each new production is another experiment. While we are slowly developing lists of best practices and things to avoid – they are often built on anecdotal evidence, susceptible to creators’ biases and preconceived notions. With heatmaps, any creator gains access to actual, empirical evidence and statistical data on how thousands of viewers experience the content.”
“…Until now I was only able to observe how people react and interact with my work through a very small sample – private screenings, festivals, friends. Today, I am able to finally validate my assumptions and see what worked and what did not.”
Jaunt says the heatmaps “will help content creators tell better stories by learning how best to lead their audiences to the narrative.” As a creator, the data is much appreciated by Michalski, who wants it to be a standard feature on all 360-degree video hosting platforms along with the ability “to be able to filter the data by device and demographics.”
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