Some people like to go on vacation, and others prefer to stay in the places they know. This is why 2020 travel restrictions have hit some harder than others. Things like virtual walks might not have originated out of this problem, but it undoubtedly helped this type of content become a lot more popular than it used to be. But move some steps back and check what virtual walks are and how that looks like.
What are virtual walks?
Virtual walks are an aspect of virtual reality but don’t necessarily need to be experienced in VR or 360° video. You could consider virtual walks also as part of digital tourism, but in times of lockdown, some are even virtually walking their own city’s streets and the hiking paths they know.
These videos are usually produced for the viewer to immerse themselves into the scene and are not commented on. As the recording happens while you’re walking, there are bound to be some shakes here and there. If you want to try recording your own clips, you should consider using a stabilizer in your editing software or using a gimbal to smoothen the video. I’m fond of my DJI Osmo Mobile but you can try whatever works best for you and your camera.
The producer of virtual walk videos uses a video camera to capture the sensation of walking around pretty much anywhere in this world. It allows us to get a feeling for the location, even though we might never physically visit it. It could be focusing on a particular venue or point of interest, but often enough, the walks are simple captures. The videos can be in any duration from 5 minutes to hours of footage, but commonly they are about an hour long.
If the audio quality of the recording is also good, the videos are often used as a soothing backdrop of ambiance or as ASRM content for people trying to fall asleep or trying to calm down and relax. This is especially true if someone has previously been in the place of which the virtual walk is related to. Instead of going through their photo album, they revisit memory lane with the help of a virtual walk, and to many, this is a very satisfying sensation.
What types of virtual walks are there?
The creativity of content producers has no bounds. To me, personally, a virtual walk could be anything as long as it’s enjoyable or informative to the viewer. It could be a walk in a city center, a hike through mountains, or slowly navigating through a museum or other point of interest.
Also interesting: Walk Into Your Next Game with KAT Walk C
Below are some examples that I found exciting, but if you browse video platforms like YouTube, Bilibili, or alternative sites, you’ll quickly find the ones you might be interested in. Use search terms that focus on locations like “walking in Ueno, Tokyo, Japan,” and you’ll get good results commonly. Sometimes you can even choose between night and day recordings.
Connect virtual walks (and bike rides) with your home trainer
There is also a wellness or wellbeing aspect to this beyond mental health for this. There are sports appliances like treadmills and indoor cycling products with a display that syncs with the videos. So if you’re too bored to stare at the wall while you’re using these home trainers, you can also watch these videos on integrated displays or connect them to your TV. Depending on the solution you’re looking at, there might even be features to do exercise together with others virtually.
If syncing is possible for your product, it will manipulate the playback to react to your speed, and even pause if you’re not walking anymore. You can use integrated solutions like the Bluefin Fitness CURV 2.0 Elliptical Cross Trainer, but it’s also possible to install the Kinomap app on your phone or tablet and retrofit your old equipment like that. This might spice up the home training a bit.
Virtual walks are not there to replace visiting a location. Just like Mukbang videos don’t replace eating food. Virtual tours and recordings of walks are often very enjoyable to be watched to relax or just to get a better feeling for how the world looks like, elsewhere, when you can’t go there yourself. Maybe they even help you find the right target destination for when travel for leisure is acceptable again.
Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Jezael Melgoza. The production photo was taken by Warren Berchie. The treadmill photo was shot by Ryan De Hamer.
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