What is the difference between 360° Video and 3D Virtual Reality?

360 video vs 3D VR

Ever wondered what the differences are between 360° degree videos and 3D VR? Can they possibly be manipulated? And how do they differ in production? This blog breaks it all down.


A 360° video production is similar to typical filmmaking. You first need to shoot it with a special 360° degree camera such as GoPro, Nokia Ozo, Samsung Gear 360 and more. These cameras all have 2 or more lenses which, together, film in all directions. Here you see an example of a raw image from a Samsung Gear 360 with two lenses:

After shooting, the video from the different lenses is then merged together to form a single 360° degree spherical view. After the process of merging called ‘stitching’, you get an image like this:

On the contrary, 3D VR creation process is quite different from 360° video, but rather very similar to 3D game development. Instead of it being filmed, it is computer generated by the standard software used for game production such as Unity and Unreal Engine.

Therefore, in 360° video, you have real-world live-action video production and in 3D VR you develop a digital environment.


When it comes to consuming the produced content, 3D VR is more immersive than 360° video. In 360° degree videos, you cannot change your viewing perspective or angle.

For example, you can not watch around a corner if you move your head.

But in 3D VR, viewing from a different perspective is possible and enables you to see what’s around you. Just like in real life, you can tilt your head, move and peek around the corner. Unlike in 360° video, where moving your head will not affect your viewing perspective, in the 3D VR you can change your perspective and your position.

 In 3D VR, creators can use  6 DoF (degrees of freedom) whereby 360° video can only be used with 3DoF. Apart from the content type, what VR device you have also determines whether you can use 6DoF. For more information on this difference in content and about different devices, read this article: ‘What is the difference between 3DoF and 6DoF’.


In Virtual Reality, 3D and 360° videos differ in ways that affect the overall VR experience.

360° videos simply offer the capability of consuming content without taking part in what’s happening. It is limited to the filmmaker’s perspective and the events experienced are always the same since you cannot change the sequence.

On the other hand, 3D videos enable the user to move around, explore the virtual world and manipulate objects inside it. This opens the possibility for the immersed user to create new and unique experiences.


According to the production, consumption and experience of both the 3D VR and 360° degree videos, it is obvious that 3D is fully interactive. In most cases, 360° degree videos are not interactive, but they can be.

For example, with Smart VR Lab platform you can easily create your own 360° interactive storylines. This interactive form of 360° degree videos can be very useful for businesses. With the help of Smart VR Lab, a business can create its own 360° degree interactive video to train its staff and enhance the training experience by refining its training models.

This VR Training model is cost-effective and efficient. This is the ideal training model for businesses with strategic advantages to their competition. See how businesses use VR Training

Smart VR Lab develops and produces training content for businesses across multiple industries. To transform the way your business trains its staff, simply contact Smart VR Lab for a demo and set up a meeting with our team.

If you have questions on anything related to VR, you can always send us a mail to

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