Virtual reality imparts new experiences from ‘traditional’ entertainment events

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The Countdown Lights 2022 event has attracted nearly one million online views and more than 2.5 million interactions, thanks to virtual reality technology. Photo courtesy of event organisers

HCM CITY — The application of virtual reality technology to more and more cultural, entertainment and tourism activities is both filling a void and providing new experiences to audiences.

For instance, the Countdown Lights event held at the Nguyễn Huệ Walking Street has become an integral part of New Year celebrations for HCM City residents in recent years.

But complications created by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted authorities to use virtual reality technology to organise the event and make it interactive.

It thus became one of the first music events to leverage a blend of traditional and virtual production techniques with XR technology to create “unparalleled performances” like never seen before.

The event’s virtual background was crafted by combining two iconic locations: the Nguyễn Huệ Walking Street and Hạ Long Bay, with a clock tower being a connecting element.

The event was broadcast on YouTube, Facebook Billboard Vietnam, and VieON application, aiming to give everyone something memorable to enjoy and celebrate the start of a New Year in the new normal. It also aimed to boost the morale of residents and artists on the last day of 2021.

It has proved to be a hit, retaining its influence and popularity with nearly one million online views and more than 2.5 million interactions.

Last year, HCM City’s Department of Tourism held a virtual event to introduce safe destinations to tourists and create favourable conditions for tourism businesses to operate in a secure and flexible manner during the pandemic.

Thanks to 2D and 3D platforms, visitors could visit virtual exhibition booths and receive direct support and advice through message or email. They could also make direct transactions to buy their favourite products and find super promotions.

Nguyễn Thị Ánh Hoa, director of the HCM City’s Department of Tourism, said that to improve the effectiveness of tourism promotions, the department has set up a modern platform and worked with a professional firm to develop the city’s Tourism app, which makes it very easy for users to find information about the city’s destinations.

In the context of complicated pandemic situation, the application of virtual reality technology to organise events has become a safe and convenient response.

Several event organisers who have climbed on the virtual reality bandwagon say that it as a trend that will develop alongside traditional productions.

Lê Anh Quân, director of JK Technologies, a company with many years of experience in content development and application of modern technology, said that thanks to the support of the world’s leading technology corporations such as Meta (Facebook), Apple and Microsoft, the reach of virtual reality technology is expanding to all areas. VNS

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