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Jaunt Unveils Compass to Enhance Web-Based VR Viewing

One of the biggest names in cinematic virtual reality (VR) is Jaunt, producing and showcasing numerous 360-degree films via its app. Most recently the company has announced Compass, aimed at optimising 360-degree content when viewed on the web.

Compass works as an automatic navigation tool for immersive experiences based on established points of interest. Currently whenever someone views a 360-degree video through a web browser they need to pan left, right, up and down using either a mouse or keyboard. With Jaunt’s new Compass technology, viewers will be guided through the experience based on data and insights on how and where the community of VR viewers engage with content in a VR headset. So as points of interest change throughout an experience, Compass instantly takes viewers there, meaning the most interesting parts aren’t missed.

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“Viewing videos on the Web is normally a lean-back experience – you press play and watch. When you force someone to manually interact with a video, that’s a bit unusual and can feel intrusive,” said Andrew Walkingshaw, principal software engineer at Jaunt. “With Compass, we’re giving our users a more relaxed experience, whether they choose to let Compass guide them through the whole experience, opt to pan back and forth between various areas of interest highlighted for them, or take control themselves – even there, the areas of interest Compass highlights reassures viewers they’re not missing out on anything.”

Jaunt is previewing Compass with several popular 360-degree films, before a wider roll out in the coming weeks.The current experiences are: Escape the Living DeadHome Turf: The Needles, INVASION! Sneak Peek and Zoolander Infinity.

Alongside the Compass announcement, Jaunt has also enabled spatial audio for its web player. Using Google’s open source Omnitone library, Jaunt videos with ambisonic audio tracks are binaurally rendered directly on the Chrome browser. “Audio is one of the most essential elements in the VR experience,” said Adam Somers, engineering manager at Jaunt. “Spatial audio provides users with a deeper and ultimately more authentic VR experience. We’re excited to roll out spatial audio to our web player giving users the most immersive experience possible.”

To try out Compass and Omnitone on the Google Chrome browser now, visit https://www.jauntvr.com/. The Jaunt VR App, including all content released to date, is available on iOS, Android, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and desktop browsers.

For all the latest news on Jaunt, keep reading VRFocus.