Innovation in 2017

360 video – pairing public interaction and immersive visual experience

Written by Alayna Hansen

The introduction of 360 video for journalistic purposes has arguably superseded the reliance on ordinary visual mediums – no longer do we depend on the simple video camera, with its bulky physicality and limited framing angles, but an adaptable technology that dives like an eagle from its bindings, spreads its wings and soars across the Himalayas. Frankly, this metaphor isn’t even hyperbolic – through its omnidirectional abilities, we can explore the hidden corners of our world in ways we would have rarely considered before.

Through these extensive photographic lenses, journalists can present an appealing visual experience to accompany features, driven by emotional ties, to current events and natural phenomena; experiences that would nonetheless be inaccessible from an Australian living room. Take for instance National Geographic’s exploration of the world’s largest cave, in the remote and wild mountains of Vietnam’s Phong Nah Ke-Bang National Park.

The lush canopy of trees overhead, the crack of fertile undergrowth crawling with insects, the lilt of birdsong harmonising with falling water – the reader, or shall we say the indoor adventurer, is immersed in an environment thousands of kilometres away through an illuminative collaboration of audible and visual narratives. But 360 video isn’t limited to the informed adult reader – the scope of its target audience congregates young and old together in one simulation: while it may be a pivotal tool for educating young children about differentiating geographical areas, this journey may enhance the importance of conservation and environmental protection policies for older generations; as the implementers of global politics.

Regarding political doctrines and the rise of consequential turmoil, this story here by the New York Times has a sobering resonance, with the shooting of innocent young people of colour and the militarisation of border control between Mexico and the US persistent headliners in international news and relations. As tranquil and cathartic an Asian rainforest may be, this narration follows the altercation and its impact on each side of the fence, as well as the jurisdictional and philosophical questions that arise from such injustice. Their stance is clear and calculated, and although not entirely political on a distinctive national spectrum, demonstrates an important cultural issue that is constantly circulating in the international agenda and the fundamental interaction of investigative journalism.

The fact that 360 video is available via social media speaks volumes. It’s not a technology reserved for the wealthy and intellectual, but an inclusive medium for the general public; catering for all abilities and interests across generations.

Featured image credit to Samsung Newsroom on Flickr, under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

About the author

Alayna Hansen