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Documentary and current affairs storytelling using 360 video – the possibilities and the pitfalls.


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Zillah Watson and Peter Boyd Maclean discuss their recent adventures experimenting with new ways to tell stories using 360 video. They'll cover the big questions film makers are grappling with from coming up with the right stories and locations, to the challenges involved in filming and editing. Does old film-making know-how count or does it require a completely new way approach? Can you move the camera without making your viewers feel sick? How do you film an interview that makes the viewer feel part of the conversation? How do you create a shortlist for 360 footage? Can you cut it together without just fading to black between shots?

Published in: News & Politics
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Documentary and current affairs storytelling using 360 video – the possibilities and the pitfalls.

  1. 1. NEWS LABS Documentary and current affairs storytelling using 360 video – the possibilities and the pitfalls. Zillah Watson, Peter Boyd Maclean With R&D and BBC Connected Studio
  2. 2. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 Back to the early days of photography and film…
  3. 3. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 VR documentary and current affairs storytelling using 360 footage Zillah Watson Editor, BBC R&D Peter Boyd Maclean Film-maker
  4. 4. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 Scratch Video: Blue Monday – Duvet Brothers
  5. 5. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 The future: transforming the experience of film
  6. 6. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 Our first attempts at filming – “The fear of heights” • Could we tell a story using 360 footage to enhance the experience? • How could we direct the viewer to the action? • Could we cut a sequence without fading to black? • Could we include a piece to camera and an interview (without cut-aways)?
  7. 7. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 Breaking out of the frame: thinking spherically
  8. 8. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 Which stories will work best in 360? Location – a sense of space, being able to look around, get the fuller picture Presence – helping your audience understand the story better, and feel heightened sense of emotion/empathy
  9. 9. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 But… • Choosing your current affairs/documentary story… how much do you want to dwell on human misery • Might presence be too much in some situations? • Missing the action…how do you draw the audience’s attention to important things?
  10. 10. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 Developing a new grammar of film-making • Camera angles to evoke presence – feeling part of the picture • Perspectives - voyeur or part of the action? • Camera movements (sickness) • Disembodiment • Camera angles – chest height? • Close ups • Cutaways • Length of shots • Presenter/interviews • Montage
  11. 11. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 Living the Dream – prototyping VR’s storytelling possibilities In collaboration with Dr Peter Passmore, Computer Science Lecturer, Middlesex University
  12. 12. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 Practical issues still being understood – filming and sound • Where do you hide the crew/kit? • Lighting • Safety • Recording sound
  13. 13. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 Editing/post-production • Laborious work flow • File management • Stitching is time consuming • Editing on a flat screen for VR • Editing 360 sound But with enough post-production time you can achieve impressive results
  14. 14. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 Technology is not quite ready… • Camera systems are far from ideal • Video dynamic range: shots inevitably contain very bright areas was well as dark • Frame rate: • Capture: “at least 60fps” ?? • Display: “at least 100fps”? • Stereoscopic • Sound • Headsets • Head/body tracking • User interaction?
  15. 15. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 The VR demo problem..
  16. 16. NEWS LABS © BBC 2015 Further viewing/reading • VRSE app – for Android or IOS (Chris Milk films eg Clouds Over Sidra) • Jaunt demos • Google Cardboard/Occulus demos • Felix and Paul eg Cirque du Soleil (Samsung Gear demos) • Nonny de la Pena/Immersive Journalism • Stanford VR Lab • How immersive is enough? A meta-analysis of the effect of immersive technology on user presence. Cummings, J.J., Bailenson, J.N. (in press). Media Psychology.
  17. 17. NEWS LABS Thanks @BBC_News_Labs With R&D and BBC Connected Studio