YouTube’s New L.A. Studio Will Help Creators Crank Out VR Videos

Also Daydream greenlights new series with MLB, Vogue and Discovery Travel

CANNES, France—YouTube wants to help creators make more VR video, so it’s announcing new details today at Cannes about a program to arm folks with the equipment and expertise that they need to do so.

The VR Creator Lab will be housed within YouTube Spaces Los Angeles, where top creators and brands learn the platform’s best practices and make videos. The three-day program will offer creators cameras and equipment, tools for stitching clips together and resources including training sessions and talks from Google that will all center around making VR videos.

To participate in the program, creators need to have already made two 360-degree videos, have at least 10,000 subscribers, go through an orientation and be at least 18 years old.

Adweek sat down with Google’s VR business boss Amit Singh to talk about the new studio and how brands are using virtual and augmented reality.

“We teach you how to do it, we handhold you, we help you with creative so that you can experiment,” said Amit Singh, Google’s vp of business for augmented reality and virtual reality. “Whether it’s original content or an ad that you’re building for a brand, this technology should start to become mainstream.”

After the program ends, creators are tasked with producing at least four VR videos and one behind-the-scenes clip. Participants will also meet at the L.A. YouTube Spaces every two weeks from Aug. 28 to Nov. 6 to talk about their VR projects and meet with mentors.

Separately, Google’s Daydream has also greenlighted VR series with Major League Baseball, Vogue magazine and Discovery Travel.

The NFL worked with Google late last year to make a VR series. One of the biggest learnings about the series is that people don’t want to watch games using a headset. “The energy and 12 hours before the game [and] the search query interest in the game and all the activation before the game is bigger than the game,” Singh said.

Based on those learnings, MLB’s series will focus on content around the games and players.

The league will, “do a bunch of behind-the-scenes dugout, player interviews and stuff that you haven’t seen before,” Singh said. “Whether you do it in a big headset or a Cardboard or the Major League Baseball app, you can see the pitch in three dimensions.”

“People are looking for that next deeper immersion,” Singh said. “It’s moving from a gimmick or marketing activation to where there’s storytelling about the brand tied into the series—that’s where we’re trying to go next.”

To help people discover content, YouTube surfaces hand-selected recommendations for VR content. As users create more VR content, those recommendations will be powered by YouTube’s algorithm that already recommends 2D videos.

“There’s not enough content,” Singh said. “This slate that we just announced is the idea that we’re going to bring great experiences to the entire ecosystem. There’s always something to watch for everybody—not just gaming or sports but across travel, fashion so that everyone can participate.”