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The Difference Between AR, VR, and VFX Video–and How to Pick the Right One For Your Brand

Which house would you be most comfortable buying: The one in which you’ve been able to walk around? Or the one you’ve only seen on a two-dimensional picture? 

The answer to that question is obvious. 

It’s also the answer to why marketers need to wrap their heads around mixed reality tech. From enhanced real-world views to fully immersive experiences, these technologies all hold huge marketing potential.


Mixed Reality Video Will Make Your Brand Stand Out

In a world where we spend an increasing portion of our lives online, the struggle to stand out and cut through the noise is real. One way to do that is by adding new media and tech to the marketing mix. 

AR, VR, and VFX video allow brands to create modern and immersive experiences that take CX to a whole new level. 

This evolution has been spurred on even more by the pandemic. The socially distanced world of the past year has meant that most shopping decisions are now made in the digital world. And that the winning brands are those who manage to create great digital experiences. 

AR, VR, and VFX offer means of merging the digital and the actual in ways that create almost endless opportunities for innovative communication. But how to know which one best suits your brand’s specific needs? Let’s have a look at each technology and how it works. 


AR Video – Adding an Extra Layer To Reality

What is AR video? 

Augmented Reality (AR) is when digital elements are added to a live view. This can be done with the help of a smartphone camera or AR devices like “smart glasses,” such as the Microsoft HoloLens. Smart glasses are transparent, and unlike VR devices, they don’t replace reality; they add an extra layer to it. Commonly known examples of augmented reality experiences are Snapchat lenses and Pokemon Go. 


How does AR video work?

Since AR is merging real-world information with digital content, the AR system needs to understand its surroundings. This is done using computer vision, which is something that differentiates AR from VR. 

The computer vision uses the camera feed to understand and register the world around it to show the right digital content in relation to what the user is looking at. The process of displaying the digital content realistically is called rendering.

AR video use cases

The marketing potential of AR is enormous, and many brands have started using it to let people “test” their products virtually. AR makes it possible to try out shades of lipstick or see how that carpet would fit in your living room without ever touching the actual objects. AR allows buyers to try clothes, hair colors, glasses, or interior designs, without even leaving their couch. 

AR is also increasingly used for medical, engineering, and architectural purposes and to create virtual manuals instead of written ones. 


VR Video – An Immersive Real-Time Experience


What is VR video? 

While AR adds a layer to reality, VR replaces reality. Virtual Reality (VR) is a complete, immersive experience. The physical world is shut out entirely, and with the help of a VR device such as HTC Vive, Google Cardboard, or Oculus Quest, the user is transported to a fictitious environment. 

A VR headset completely replaces the real world and creates the illusion that you’re somewhere else. Some devices even come with motion sensors that detect not only the direction in which you’re facing but also every movement that you make. This allows you to move around freely in a virtual world, even though you’ll be limited to an area of a few square meters. 


How does VR video work?

Often when people think of VR, they think about computer-generated images (CGI). But VR can also be filmed in the real world. The most significant difference between VR filming and regular filming is what camera is used. For virtual reality filming, omnidirectional cameras are used to capture footage of every direction at once.


VR Video Use Cases

One great way to make use of VR is in virtual tours. Whether you’re selling real estate or planning a new mall, VR allows your potential customers to experience that space long before it exists in the real world. 

VR can also be used for gamification purposes to introduce more interactive elements in marketing. A fun example is McDonald’s Happy Goggles that offered a simplified VR experience for kids. The fast-food chain created a Happy Meal Box that could be folded and turned into a VR headset.


VFX Graphics video – Taking Visual Storytelling to The Next Level 

What is VFX video?

Visual effects (VFX) is when imagery is created or manipulated separately, outside of actual footage, and then integrated into the shoot to create a realistic video. This can, for example, involve computer-generated imagery that would be too expensive, dangerous, time-consuming, or simply not possible to capture on film. 

Visual effects based on computer-generated imagery (CGI) have become more accessible over time, with the rise of affordable and user-friendly animation software.


How does VFX video work?

With VFX, filmmakers can create and integrate environments, objects, and creatures into actual footage in a way that would be impractical or impossible to film. VFX often involves the integration of computer-generated imagery (CGI) with live-action footage. The VFX are added after the shooting, in post-production, making anything possible in terms of video content. 


VFX Video Use Cases

VFX offers a very efficient way to enhance and improve your videos and make your marketing message come alive. This video created for EXOS showcases how VFX can take visual storytelling to the next level and introduce new dimensions to live-action footage. When it comes to VFX, there’s no limitation but imagination. 


Which Medium Is Right For You?

When choosing between AR, VR, and VFX, the first thing to consider is what you want to achieve with your video production. 

Are you aiming to create a smoother online buyer journey? 

Then Augmented Reality can be the perfect tool for letting your customers “try” your product in a virtual environment. 

Do you want to sell something that does not yet exist and needs to be visualized? 

Virtual Reality allows buyers to actually experience products, concepts, and places that are yet to be created. 

Or are you sharing a marketing message or telling a story? 

Then Visual Effects will allow you to enhance your visual storytelling and add artificial layers to actual live footage.

Either way, we’re happy to help you take the next step.

Would you like to learn more about how Covalent can help your brand stand out with mixed reality video? Get in touch! 


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