[POLYV Insight] Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality?

2016 is the year of Virtual Reality – with headset devices like Oculus, HTC Vive or Sony PlaySatation VR, and VR resources like Resident Evil 7, Rick And Morty VR and Google Earth VR, and even some interactive VR commercials, the technology of VR is rapidly changing the way we feel the world – you can now concentrate to the context of the story, and make yourself more involved into it.

YouTube gamer Sean McLoughlin (a.k.a. Jacksepticeye) demonstrating VR game

YouTube gamer Sean McLoughlin (a.k.a. Jacksepticeye) demonstrating VR game

The issues? You have to wear a heavy headset connected with cables to your computers, and interact in the game with some specially-designed controllers; your vision is “limited within the headset”, and not able to see the surroundings or environment, which causes you to knock things, other people or even yourself down.

Then, some researchers and developers begin to build what we know as “Mixed Reality” (MR).

The users don’t need to isolate themselves from the reality – instead, what they see is the combination of reality and the computer-generated graphics that are projected in the environment. The users can react to or interact with both reality and the CG graphics in real time, without them interfering each other.

Currently the most-mentioned solution of MR is the HoloLens by Microsoft. It seems to be similar with the project of Google Glass, but with stronger computing to generate holograms and other CG graphics, making it able to use in practical needs and demands, such as architecture design, clinical research, product demonstration & experience, K-12 education and more.

Microsoft HoloLens in various productive scenarios

Microsoft HoloLens in various productive scenarios

And for France-based THEORIZ, it has a different perspective for MR.

Their solution doesn’t require user to wear a headset or use controllers. It uses multiple projectors to simulate a virtual environment within a specific space like a room or a hall, and cameras or sensors to locate the user and capture his motions or movements. When the user interacts with the virtual environment, the system simultaneously generates graphic that respond the user’s behavior.

The solution makes it simple and intuitive for user to understand and start interacting with the virtual environment, and is very ideal for solo or even group interaction in some specific scenarios like trying on clothes, psychological experiments and zoology study simulations. And with this breakthrough, THEORIZ rises fast and gains much attention around the world.

Demonstration of THEORIZ MR solution (screenshot from Vimeo)

Demonstration of THEORIZ MR solution (screenshot from Vimeo)

The development of MR shares a lot of things in common with VR, but has higher criteria and needs more work on the environment buildup and motion capture. Therefore many MR solutions are still in small test currently and not yet ready for public test.

And there’re chances for VR to evolve while MR is not widely ready – Intel has announced that a technology of fast wireless transmission, specifically designed for VR devices, is under development. It helps the VR devices go wireless, making users can move and interact freely without the restriction of cables and wires between the devices and the computer. Besides, Oculus, HTC and Sony are improving their VR devices based on the feedback and advice from the users, and upgrade devices will be ready in months.

To draw the conclusion, the fight between VR and MR is still on. It’s hard to tell which is better for now, but we can see that both are changing the way we sense, interact and learn about the world.

Highlights from POLYV Video Geek Seminar Guangzhou

Held by POLYV, Video Geek Seminar is a monthly seminar that mainly focus on the industry of video and other industries that are related to video, or the crossovers of both sides.

The previous 5 Video Geek Seminars were held in Beijing. This time, we had the seminar moved to Betaspace, Guangzhou, to meet new audience and learn more about the needs from potential clients.

The audience of Video Geek Seminar

The theme of this seminar is “Technical innovation for online education”. Shibiao Lv from China Net Center, Johnson Zhou from POLYV, and Xiang Lan from Xingshuai Education gave their lecture about the change and transition of traditional education, as well as innovation of online education, with their different perspectives and thoughts.

Shibiao Lv: How video technology drives online education

A veteran on media streaming and video architecture, Mr. Lv talked about the evolution of video technology, the combination of video and online education and how video support the industry. Also, he shared his thoughts and opinions about the technological innovation on this industry.

Mr. Shibiao Lv lecturing on video technology

Mr. Shibiao Lv lecturing on video technology

In his opinion, “The technology of video has changed significantly over the last two decades, the application of video or how we use it doesn’t change much. It just follows the trend, like VOD, live streaming, VR and AR.”

Johnson Zhou: Video application for online education

Started his career as technical support in Baidu, Senior Director Zhou demonstrated examples of POLYV’s clients, and showed practical acts of how to gain potential students and engagement between students and lecturers with the help of POLYV’s service and components.

Mr. Johnson Zhou in his speech about marketing with videos

Mr. Johnson Zhou in his speech about marketing with videos

He stated, “Compared to logistics, the industry of education is more suitable to go online, as knowledge should be spread beyond the boundaries of time and space.”

Xiang Lan: Video application for online education

With over 7 years of product and operation, Mr. Lan showed the audience the key points of running a service to the best, including the content, the service platform and operation procedures.

Mr. Xiang Lan talking about the innovation of video technologies

Mr. Xiang Lan talking about the innovation of video technologies

“Every little step of innovation and improvement counts,” He says, “The key for Xingshuai’s success is to produce excellent content, high efficiency and take the service to the next level.”

Round Table session & Conclusion

In the Round Table session, Lv, Zhou and Lan discussed about phenomena and current trend of video technology and the issues encountered in the online education industry.

Round Table session

Round Table session

They also answered questions from the audience, from their actual experience of gaining students, their different perspectives on online education to the extent of the lectures they had made.

With the ideas and opinions shared by the lecturers and the audience, everyone had new conceptions on the video technologies, the industry of online educations and how to operate a product/service with higher efficiency and effectiveness.

And last but not least, we would like you to participate in our next Video Geek Seminar, in the afternoon of July 8th (Saturday) in Beijing. You can click here for detail if you’re interested.

[POLYV Insight] A brief introduction to interactive videos

We all know that videos are more attractive than texts or images, and can be more engaged to the audience. Yet it is somehow lack of interactions with the audience since most of the time they can only watch and comprehend the content that videos provide, not feedback or even change the plot.

But what if we can actually do something to the video we are watching? That’s what we are talking about today – interactive videos.

One of the first interactive videos dates back to 2010. It is called Last Call, a horror film made by 13th Street that allowed the audience talk and send commands to the protagonist by their cellphones. It is a good attempt to build connections between the plot of the video and the audience.

“Last Call” is considered one of the earliest attempt for interactive videos.

“Last Call” is considered one of the earliest attempt for interactive videos.

To say it strictly, the audience were not really interacted with the film, but in fact a part of the live action. Still, it was a good attempt to connect the audience and the videos.

Later, with the evolution of mobile video and interactive scripts, it is more likely to make online interactive videos that are available for the audience to click and make their choice for the plot, no matter if you are watching it on PC, mobile browsers or video apps.

A viral example is a web series called Virtual Morality. Consisting of three episodes, Virtual Morality discusses about the influence of social network nowadays and how people use it when bad things (in this case, group murder) hit.

With new interaction ways for mobile and web, “Virtual Morality” gets viral once it is released.

With new interaction ways for mobile and web, “Virtual Morality” gets viral once it is released.

There are a few “checkpoints” which allow you to click on and make your choices that changes the plot of the episode. The protagonist can be killed, reveal the truth or stop the crime, all depends on your decisions in your clicks.

Another example is A Date with Markiplier, an interactive video story made by famous YouTuber and game commentator Mark Fischbach (a.k.a. Markiplier) based on YouTube’s annotation system. At the end of the entry video, you will face two different options, and once clicking on the annotation above the option, you will be redirected to the next video (set as “restricted”, for the sake of “Spoiler alert”) that continues the plot based on your choice.

“A Date with Markiplier” has made good use of YouTube's closed captions and annotations within the system.

“A Date with Markiplier” has made good use of YouTube’s closed captions and annotations within the system.

As Mark reveals, it takes more than two weeks filming and finishing the project, and gains widely positive responses from the audience. He says, not only the plot and the content is good, the way to present it is very engaging, and gives a chance to the audience to interact with the content.

If Mark’s project is just an experiment, then Late Shift – a thriller movie/game that literally brings interactions to the audience.

Developed by CtrlMovie, Late Shift tells a story of a man gets involved with a crime syndicate when he starts his late shift in the parking lot. Throughout the whole movie, you need to make at least 10 decisions, which will lead to different plots and endings.

Game commentator Jacksepticeye (top left corner) playing “Late Shift”.

Game commentator Jacksepticeye (top left corner) playing “Late Shift”.

It is reviewed by lots of players in Steam, as well as professional gamers like Jacksepticeye and PewDiePie, who give positive ratings on the concept and how it is presented.

Besides the setting of the plot, the cinematography is pretty good as well – the transition for making different choices (or even not doing anything) is very smooth, and there’s no abrupt changes when your decision is made; also the grading is well done, in which you can see by the cool tone of the whole movie.

As we have the technique of filming, and different ways for interactions between the screen and the audience, we can see there will be more well-made interactive videos in the near future, and make great changes in the way we entertain and learn.

Concise tutorial: Batch video migration to Video Cloud

We have lots of users who choose Video Cloud as their first video service. Besides, we have some users who previously using free or other paid video hosting service, and need to migrate the old videos to Video Cloud. Some of them may have up to thousands of videos and take up to hundreds of gigabytes.

It sounds like a mission impossible to migrate these videos one by one, if using the old methods. But don’t worry! POLYV provides a much simpler way to migrate your videos to Video Cloud, with just a few steps.

1. Generate a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file for migration. The CSV file contains multiple lines of your file, and each line consists of two elements – the origin URL and the title of the video, separated by comma.

You can either use text editing applications (like Notepad, Editplus, UltraEdit, Atom, etc.) or spreadsheets processing applications (like Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, Google Sheets, etc.) to do the job.

Using Notepad for editing the CSV file

Using Notepad for editing the CSV file

Using Excel to generate the CSV file

Using Excel to generate the CSV file

Note that the CSV file should be saved using UTF-8 encoding, especially when it contains CJK characters. If not, the file will not be recognized and processed.

The CSV file should be using UTF-8 encoding

The CSV file should be using UTF-8 encoding

2. Sign in your POLYV account, then select “Videos” to enter the admin page of Video Cloud.

3. Click “Video sync” on the left panel, then click the blue “Import task” button.

Click the “Import task” button to select the designated CSV file

4. In the popup window, choose the destination category in the dropdown list, then click the blue “Upload CSV file” button to submit the CSV file prepared in Step 1. After that, click the “Save” button.

Select the destination category first before importing the CSV file

5. Now Video Cloud will automatically process the file. All you need is to do the waiting game…

And when it is finished, click the “Export to CSV” button to save the result.

The result of the batch migration, showing numbers of successful and failed number of videos and time used

If you open the CSV file, you can see each line contains the URL, the title and the VID (Video ID) of the video, with the datetime of completing the process following.

The detailed information of the batch migration

So that’s a wrap for how to batch migrating your video to Video Cloud. Now with this feature, you don’t need to worry about migrating your existed videos to our system, because we will take good care of them and keep them unharmed.

If you to know more about the features of Video Cloud and Streaming Cloud, check out our blog or visit our official website http://www.polyv.net/ for more information. Happy video hosting!