What is augmented reality?
Simply put, augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience that uses computer-generated content to enhance the real world. Augmented reality uses both software and hardware (such as AR glasses) to superimpose digital content onto real-life environments and objects.
This technology enriches the user experience and turns their immediate surroundings into an interactive learning environment — which can be especially valuable for education and training.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how augmented reality works, the different types of AR, how augmented reality differs from virtual reality, and how AR will affect the future of video creation.
How does augmented reality work?
Here’s an overview of how the augmented reality process works:
- An AR-enabled device with a camera (e.g. smart glasses, a tablet, or a smartphone) dissects a video feed to identify a physical object or the environment of a user
- A 3D digital replica of the object in the cloud, aka a “digital twin”, connects the real environment with the virtual environment
- The augmented reality device downloads information about the object from the cloud and superimposes digital information over it. An example might be a GPS tracker or a barometric sensor that detects atmospheric pressure — creating a part-real, part-digital 3D interface
- Lastly, thanks to real-time data, the user can interact with the object or environment by sending commands to the cloud via touchscreen, voice, or gestures
Types of augmented reality
There are several different types of augmented reality, many of which can be consumed from a cell phone or web environment (Web AR). AR is classified by the way it’s initiated and how the experience is tracked. Some of the diverse types of augmented reality include:
- Marker-based: augmented reality for QR codes, logos, or product packaging
- Image tracking: augmented reality for images
- AR with GPS or Geo Positioned AR: location-based augmented reality
- World tracking or SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping): augmented reality on surfaces
- Spatial tracking: augmented reality on spaces
- Object tracking: augmented reality on objects
- Face tracking: augmented reality with face filters
- Body tracking: augmented reality on body parts
- World mapping: augmented reality in open spaces
Newer to the scene are augmented reality glasses. These AR smart glasses allow users to interact with virtual and real worlds in real time through the use of advanced imaging and sensor technologies. When these components work together, they create the visual effect of the items being added to the real world.
Apple recently announced its entrance into the AR market with its goggles, Vision Pro. The experience will allow you to use a variety of apps controlled by your hands, voice and eyes. These impressive goggles will be priced at $3 499 and will be available to buy next year.
What’s the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality?
It’s easy to get augmented reality and virtual reality confused because of their similar designs. But, AR and VR accomplish different things in different ways. Virtual reality replaces your vision, while augmented reality adds to it. The key differences come down to which devices you use and the experience.
AR vs VR
- AR uses a real-world setting, while VR is entirely virtual.
- AR users have control of their presence in the real world, while VR users are controlled by the system.
- AR can be accessed via a smartphone, while VR requires a headset device.
- AR enhances both the virtual and the real world, while VR only enhances virtual reality.
Augmented reality examples
L’Oréal’s “Modiface” is the international leader in augmented reality and artificial intelligence for the beauty industry. This innovation allows Amazon customers to use the front-facing camera of their mobile phone to digitally try on different shades of lipstick—very cool technology!
Similarly, eyeglass retailer Warby Parker launched a “Home Try-On” program, allowing customers to try on five pairs of glasses virtually, from the comfort of their own homes.
Virtual reality example
Marriott International offers an innovative way for customers to plan their events virtually thanks to virtual reality technology. Users can see 360-degree, 3D views of event room set-ups — making event planning easier with “VPViewer.”
When it comes to virtual reality vs augmented reality, both have found a place across a variety of industries, and are being used in fields such as education and training, healthcare, construction and many more.
How will AR affect the future of video creation?
Filmmaking has greatly changed over the past few years — in part due to the pandemic, but mostly because of new technology. Augmented reality is one of the many emerging trends that may affect how filmmakers approach video creation and produce stock footage. In fact, research has shown that AR can increase interaction rates by 20% and improve click rates by up to 33%. So, filmmakers who employ augmented reality may have a leg up on the competition.
Preparing a video for an AR project
One of the first things to consider when beginning a video project is the specifications and the formats. The good news is that augmented reality videos do not have unique specs, so you can easily turn a YouTube video, TikTok or Instagram story into an AR experience.
It’s important to start with the end of your video in mind, anticipating the final design. You will want to create the image and video simultaneously and adapt the video format to the expected image format. When the AR video is the same size as the target or marker image, the experience is much more realistic.
To create a smooth transition between two pieces of content, you’ll want to create the target photo and video separately. Video software can be used to create an animation that clearly joins the two pieces of content.
Aligning the video and image
By placing the AR content on top of the image in real time, the footage will overlap the entire package (assuming the photo and video are the exact sizes). You can also resize the video to make it smaller than the image or use various animations to create a smoother transition.
AR’s ability to transport a viewer into a different world with visual aids may prove very valuable in educational films, healthcare, the world of entertainment, and many other industries.
While augmented reality still remains somewhat of a novelty, it can certainly help create hype around a brand. AR video is somewhat of an unexplored media format, and its overall capability is yet to be uncovered. But, for those organizations that successfully employ AR technology, it will show that they are truly a frontrunner in innovation.