I watched the following stories (and more!) in VR with my nifty new Google Cardboard device:
This struck me as an opportunity to see a place I will probably never visit in my life, and in the process of viewing the video I learned that I am actually not allowed to visit Mecca. So that was interesting.
One great strength was finding locations where there was great contrast – like the shot where to one side is an architecturally impressive mall structure and to the other side is a KFC. Things like that really encourage you to look around – and the audio also explained what I should be looking for.
Pilgrimage gave me an opportunity to see a gorgeous city that I wouldn’t have access to in reality – that, to me, is what VR is for. It enabled an immersive and educational experience without the hassle, expense, commitment, or other limitations of travel.
The Fight for Falluja
My expectation was that this story was going to be one that I thought should have been written, but I was really wrong about that – the VR aspect made the shocking parts very personal, and humanized the displaced people outside the city.
The interview portion was strong because the location was visually interesting on all sides. That’s a challenge because if you’re accustomed to using a normal camera to frame a shot, you’re also used to excluding distractions from the shot. Here they actually contribute to the story, so it’s a unique case where that chaos is a positive.
This was a music video. It was really smartly done in that the action corresponded to the mood and the timing of the music. I felt myself looking around with the rhythm of the song because of how the story was structured. It was an interesting example of correlating the sounds, the visuals, and the movement. One thing that I hate is a VR/360 experience that changed shots before I have a chance to look around – this video gave me plenty of time to marvel at the virtual world, and rhythmically I felt like I was encouraged to look around at relevant moments.
Overall, I love viewing these. They all have a lot to offer. I honestly couldn’t think of many drawbacks for any of them. They do illustrate a variety of style choices – hard cuts from shot to shot were jarring at times, so one thing I’ll pay attention to in my video is leaving plenty of time to see things before they disappear and avoiding drastic changes in light, setting, etc except where that effect is used to illustrate change.
2 Ideas for a VR Story:
- Skating rinks/temporary parks and public spaces in Philadelphia. Pop-up parks are a fun part of the city and get people interested in public spaces and community involvement. It’d be fun to do this during the summer especially.
- A day in the life. We find a unique person – maybe someone who busks on the subway or someone who works in an unconventional environment – and we just shoot as much as we can of what happens to them all day.