First steps to produce an interactive 360º story (3/3)

In the first part of our 360º production guide, we learned more about 360º storytelling and what specific equipment to use. The second part was dedicated to 360º story production tips on our platform Fader. In this third and last part, we will have a closer look at some bigger questions, like: What’s in it for us as journalists? Why do we need to care about 360º storytelling?

Let’s dive into 360º

As human beings, we are experiencing our three-dimensional world in a spatial manner. With VR (we categorize 360º stories as VR) we can finally observe the development of a medium that emancipates itself from flat screens and wanders into the unknown worlds of spatial storytelling. Ultimately, VR allows viewers to witness stories the way they’d play out in real life which potentially makes VR the most powerful medium yet.

Virtual Reality & Broadcasters

Over the last years, we have seen some amazing VR projects that show exactly what VR can do. In Germany, especially public broadcasters have dedicated their time, efforts and budgets into experimenting with what this new medium can do. Here are just a few examples:

  • ZDF shows historic events, sports news and location-based stories in 360º.
  • WDR is experimenting with news pieces in 360º and
  • Deutsche Welle uses 360º stories to tell location-based stories in Berlin.

Internationally, other broadcasters and media organizations have also utilized 360º storytelling – just to name some obvious choices: Euronews, NYT, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, Al Jazeera.

What VR Can Do

These broadcasters and media organizations all prove that VR allows viewers to

  • be in different locations,
  • dive back into the past or go straight to future scenarios,
  • turn into a different character,
  • change perspectives,
  • interact with the world around.

An immersive experience and an approach to new story worlds is possible with VR. Passive viewers become active participants in a story. We are certain that headsets will improve (the all-in-one Oculus Quest is available now), more content will be available and also, more device-agnostic content will be available for everyone to enjoy at any time.

What’s In It For Us?

As a content creator and/or journalist, you might ask yourself now: So, what’s in it for me? Well, quite a lot (even though I am only listing three things here):

1.Attention with innovative formats

Let’s face it, when you are creating something new, people will look. If you start telling your stories in 360º, there is a great chance that your viewers are interested in what you have to say because you are saying it in a new way.

2. Impact by telling user-centric stories

As viewers will experience a story in a much more personal and direct way, your stories can have an increasing impact on your viewers.

3. Experimentation with immersive storytelling

With spatial media, we are currently experiencing new opportunities in storytelling. Of course, many – if not most – of the traditional storytelling techniques still apply (think Aristotle’s tragic hero, think narrative arcs, think protagonist/antagonist etc.). However, VR allows viewers to be the center of the story – this is where the fun can begin. This is where VR producers can embrace immersive storytelling. Ultimately, the findings can be used for AR and MR as well.

If you don’t know where to start experimenting, go to our 360º platform Fader and start there. For more info, check out part one and two of the production guide.

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