My two-year-old daughter is at that incredible age where everything is an adventure. A walk through the garden is a voyage of exploration. If she comes across a bug she’s never seen, she won’t just passively stare. She gets right up close to it, inspecting it from all angles. She doesn’t just look at it — she experiences it. Because that’s what her developing brain needs her to do.
As we get older, we seem to lose our zest for exploration — nowhere more so than online. Globally, the average smartphone user spends 147 minutes per day scrolling through social media. This has shrunk the average attention span for mobile video to 1.7 seconds while our ’online brains’ offer dwindling returns when it comes to memory and cognition.
The metaverse offers us an alternative to the endless, instantly forgettable scroll. But for our human brains to truly engage in this new digital realm, I believe these 3D worlds will require video that’s fundamentally more experiential, fundamentally more real than anything we’re familiar with today.
If the first generation of video — cinema, then TV — introduced us to the moving picture, the second wave of gaming, online, and social video hooked us on the idea of a degree of interactivity. Video 3.0 is the next step: 3D video of the real-world streamed live into 3D environments.
Back to reality
If you’re finding it hard to conceptualise what that means, it’s because the experience is radically new. So here’s what Video 3.0 looks like in action:
Video 3.0 is a term we’ve coined to describe 3D live video created specifically for the metaverse. That means it can be seamlessly integrated into these immersive 3D environments, so audiences can view it from every angle, changing their perspective however and whenever they want, just as they would IRL.
Just like the real world, Video 3.0 can be influenced by the action around it — casting shadows on other objects or being re-lit by the lights inside the game — giving the digital realm the much-needed injection of reality that our human brains crave. Streaming 2D video into these worlds looks terrible and lacks all feeling — viewers would be better off watching directly from a TV screen instead.
Cave paintings, portraiture, the camera — it’s in our nature to invent technology to satisfy our brains’ desire for evermore realistic representations of the real world.
But our brains are designed to experience the world around us interactively and in 3D.
Video 3.0 is the next evolution in a process that started thousands of years ago. Now machine learning, computer vision technology and streaming technology have progressed to the point where, when combined, we can deliver interactive real-world experiences inside new digital realms.
With Video 3.0, live music events in the metaverse can create an immediate connection between the artist performing and their digital audience because the technology captures movement, physicality and presence in real-time.
In a sporting context, Video 3.0 will mean engaging in a live 3D sports event in real-time and with friends, with the option to choose where you view the action from. For events of all kinds, Video 3.0 is about creating the sense for each audience member that they were really ‘there’ and not just passive observers.
A new era of experience
The unrivalled success of online gaming platforms and metaverse worlds like Fortnite and Roblox have caught the attention of technology and media streaming companies. Around 350m Fortnite players registered in 2020, playing 3.2 billion hours in April alone.
Content creators want to be a part of these gaming platforms and now the technology exists for them to seamlessly merge their own live performances into these virtual worlds, in the process creating completely new types of audience experience.
At Condense, we’ve built both the infrastructure to help performers, artists and creatives produce their own Video 3.0, and the streaming platform to allow millions of people to view it in existing metaverse platforms. And now we’re opening the world’s first metaverse recording studios around the world to give artists and creatives immediate reach into new audiences.
Video 3.0 is a paradigm shift and one we’ve been heading towards since the birth of human culture. As it merges with new metaverse worlds, we’ll embark on a voyage of discovery and new artforms, movements and sub-cultures will emerge — ones engaging enough to satisfy the endless curiosity of our inner two-year-old.