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Creating Virtual Reality Test Drives for Car and Driver Magazine

Like it or not, 2016 is going to be a huge year for virtual reality content and technology. It seems like every major brand is dipping their toe in one way or another. Even Pixar is creating their own movie studio in order to create 360-degree films. Magazines are no exception for desiring and creating this content. It's a perfect way to immerse their readers into their content. Recently Hearst Publishing's Car and Driver Magazine hired my company, 8112 Studios, to help create their first ever virtual reality car reviews.

I've posted a virtual test drive on here before, but it was more of an example of what can be done with the technology than an actual review. Car and Driver, and other magazines, have been inquiring about how they can get this technology on their websites. Imagine you can read about your new favorite car or even watch a video review online, but this tech will allow you to actually be in the passenger seat of that car listening to your favorite editor doing an actual review as they drive. Pretty revolutionary and exciting if you ask me. So this is why Car and Driver brought us down to Virginia International Raceway to capture three virtual car reviews hosted by their magazine editors at their annual Lightning Lap event.

You can see the examples below:

Note: Use your keyboard arrows or mouse to explore the video below on a laptop or desktop, or swipe with your finger on touch-screen devices.

And for an enhanced virtual-reality experience, download the LITTLSTAR app on your iOS or Android device and look for our virtual-reality videos under the “Hearstmens” account. You can move the perspective simply by tilting and moving your device, or by placing your phone in a cardboard VR holder.

Video was captured with a modified GoPro Hero 4 sphere and audio was captured using ambisonic 4-channel tetra microphones, which we mixed together in postproduction. I am hesitant to share too many details on our production process right now because we are engineering some new super secret camera technology, which I will share more about in the near future, I promise. If you want to try creating some fun basic virtual reality stuff, check out the Ricoh Theta or the GoPro spherical rig.

So what do you think about magazines doing more of this, putting you in the middle of a conceptual fashion video or maybe putting you in the middle of a historical re-enactment? As a car guy, I actually love the idea of being able to at least virtually ride in a car I potentially want to purchase. I know VR goggles need to become more accessible, but with free apps like LITTLSTAR that work on any smart phone and $5-10 Google Cardboards, we are on the brink of something very exciting.

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Paulo Macedo's picture

Wow....what surprised me most about the videos is the fact that i saw americans turning right...

Douglas Sonders's picture

its a miracle

Paulo Macedo's picture

Nah, i'm just being sarcastic. Richard Burns is still a benchmark in automotive sports! RIP

Ally Mattis's picture

I work at VR development company ( and I want to tell, that Vr in automotive industry it's just a beginning :) VR in healthcare - this is the innovation that will change our world I guess