Let’s say you have a job and a boat. It’s Tuesday. You just got home from work. The weekend is a long way off. No problem – just pop on your VR headset and launch a ride on your boat from last weekend or last summer. For a few blissful minutes, it’s the weekend.

Sound like fun? Now it’s easy as a result of recent developments in both 360-degree cameras and VR headsets. Now you too can become a home VR video producer and what better place to start than your own boat. While it’s not real-live resolution, it’s absolutely immersive, allowing you to see everything happening while you were out – including things you never noticed when you were actually filming.

The fact is that boating is a great use of VR because you are moving through an interesting place. Best part of all – it’s you and your family and friends on your boat. The first time you experience it, you’ll say, “wow – that’s cool.” You look down and up and left and right and you see everything the 360-degree camera recorded. It’s as close to being there as you can get.

Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Shoot Some 360-Degree Video on Your Boat

This step is deceptively simple. The advances in lower-cost 360 degree cameras have been remarkable. Go Pro makes one, but we like the Rylo because it’s their only focus and it’s a little cheaper than the Go Pro version. They are both about the same size and fit in the palm of your hand like the older Go Pro’s. The Rylo is available on Amazon, complete with additional specs. 

This step is simple, because when you set up the camera, you just mount it in a good place and leave it there. You just occassionally turn it on or off – because it captures everything around it. What’s a good location? On a boat, it’s usually just above where the people are or maybe at shoulder or head height. Otherwise (as we learned), you can mount it and someone promptly sits right in front of it. If you have a bunch of Go Pro mounts, they will also work with the Rylo, but you will probably need the waterproof case if you are heading out on the water.

There’s a button on top that allows you to turn it on and off from a standby mode. It will record about an hour on one battery charge, which will fill the memory of the camera. The best approach is to turn it on for about 5 minutes at a time. It’s generally better to have a variety of clips rather than one long one.

Step 2: Export Your Clips to Your PC

Once you get back at the dock, you hook the Rylo up to your smartphone – iPhone or Android – to view, edit, and export the clips. Editing is pretty rudimentary on the phone, but it lets you select sections of what you recorded so that exporting files is a little easier as the files are pretty big.

Rylo also recently released desktop editing software for Mac computers with Windows software for PC’s coming soon. Even without this software, you can enjoy your boat in VR.

The next step is to export the video from your phone to your PC. When you do this within the Rylo app on your phone, you copy the file to your photo or video folder on your phone. It’s nothing complicated – you end up seeing the copied video with all your photos. From there you can download it directly to your PC using a cable or share it to a destination, such as Dropbox.

Once it’s on your PC, you have two choices for viewing on a VR headset.

Step 3: View Your Boating Experience in VR

If you don’t have a VR headset, we recommend the new Occulus Go. It’s a game-changing headset because you aren’t teathered to a PC with a cable and it’s about half the price of the fancier, higher powered ones. For viewing VR video, it’s great and you can also use it to watch Hulu, Netflix, and other entertainment. It doubles as a portable home theater for your boat. You can also find the Occulus Go on Amazon. 

 

When it comes to viewing the files you shot on your 360 degree camera on your Occulus Go, you have two options. You can download the files from your PC directly to the Go using the provided cable. Or you can upload your files to YouTube in 360-degree format and then use the YouTube app on the Occulus Go to view them. Handling the files can take a few minutes because the files are large, so using cables where possible helps a lot vs. relying on wifi.

You can watch the videos like the one above on any device, but it’s not the same experience as with the VR headset. It’s the difference between viewing something and being fully immersed in the environment. You can’t walk around in the environment as with games using more expensive VR headsets, but you can feel as if you are sitting or standing right in the film.

Now you can transport yourself anytime you want – on a Tuesday evening or in the heart of winter. Of course it’s better to just get out on your boat, but when you can’t this can be a lot of fun.