Virtual Reality im Journalismus
Which meaning do you see in virtual reality uses for journalism?
VR’s use in journalism has the ability to truly transport people to places where they might not otherwise get to visit. With VR, viewers don’t just watch the video. They feel it. VR is a more visceral experience than regular fixed frame video. It’s all around them on a screen that truly never ends!
I call it “human media”… because our communication and media are transitioning from a primarily text-based interaction into a more human one. VR is more human than a fixed frame video because it is 360 degrees and sometimes 3D. We are biochemically primed to want to communicate with other humans. To me, that translates into stories being more human or life like in that they mimic what someone looks like in person. Interacting with someone’s flat avatar is so 2005. Now, we can interact in online spaces with someone in 360, 3D. It tricks the brain into thinking the person is actually experiencing the event.
I think it will change the way people regard mainstream news. At a conscious level, the change will be noticeable in terms of active agency – a sense of presence, a a feeling of interactive agency where the consumer has a “say” in the final cut, in what is viewed when – but at a subconscious level the change promises to be more profound.
There will be a new definition of news. Consumers will come to regard, and trust, the whole medium in a new way. Makers of news need to be thinking about this now.
VR journalism is something that puts the consumer at the heart of the action, with a sense of agency, a final choice, in the order in which content is consumed. It is media less mediated. The makers of news will lose one level of manipulating the consumer while the consumer will gain one level of choice, of agency.
Will VR-journalism be something for freaks and gamers or also for a broader audience?
Definately for a broader audience. We just released an experience for WWII Veterans – honoreverywhere.com.
It has already shown itself to be something for a broader audience. The first news documentaries in 360-degree video were launched, back in January 2015, by vice.com, the United Nations and immersiv.ly. Among big media companies, Gannett and the New York Times, in the United States, have launched serious VR news programmes.
For which kind of stories can journalists use VR?
The best stories in VR are ones where the action is unfolding in 360 degrees … or you want to place the viewer in a particular place. You can tell any story in VR but that doesn’t mean it will be compelling. The most compelling experiences are the ones that have good production values and good stories. Let’s not lose the value of STORY when it comes VR. It’s not all about the video.
You need a VR camera. We use a variety of cameras but our standby is the Freedom 360 6 camera rig. You need editing and sititching software like Kolor’s autopano video and giga or video stitch. Our experiences go through a half a dozen different software programs so we also use: Avid Media Composer, Skybox/Mettle, Metadata app, Handbrake and After Effects to name a few.
In 360-degree video – at either end of the scale, for a sense of presence-
- Big, set-up, diary events, such as demonstrations or other group endeavours
- Intimate stories where the subject story is told within the “sphere” or home, office or other business environment
- Capturing live performance in 360 (ly filmed Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in 360 in October 2014), and giving the viewer
- Sport-related documentaries and live action
- Live music
In CGI reconstruction -for interactive attendance arts and other events-
Capturing/recreating landmark shows or events, and giving consumers true interactive presence to “attend” the event and to generate additional “augmented” content (additional video or background materials). immersiv.ly recreated an artist’s opening at De Re Gallery, Los Angeles, as a fully interactive, hands-free experience, and launched it (at De Re Gallery) in February 2015. This has great applications for capturing and sharing blockbuster shows (Leonardo at the Louvre or the Met etc) and making them available as active (ie non-passive) experiences, with the playing of augmented content native to the platform
In CGI reconstruction -for empathy-
Crime, suffering and complex social issues, where real audio, witness and other content can be combined with computer-generated reconstruction to give the consumer a sense that he or she is a true “character” in the reconstruction.
Which examples of VR journalism are the best?
My all time favorite VR experience isn’t Journalism rather a film called “Evolution of Verse.” I watch it all the time and it still gives me chills. I like the stories that Chris Milk of VRSE creates … the ones that have a social good component.
We have an experience we shot in Zambia that will be coming out later this year. We place people inside Africa so they can see the people who have to crawl on the ground because they lack access to wheelchairs. #storyupzambia followed an all-terrain wheelchair distribution in the African bush.
Nonny de la Peña, at Emblematic in Los Angeles, has created, and set the standard, for the computer-generated documentary approach to recreating important news events in a way that generates new levels of empathy for the subjects of news. She is rightly called the godmother of VR.
Chris Milk and his team at VRSE have set the standard for news in 360-degree video. High seriousness coupled with high production values. For Milk, News in VR is “a machine that makes us more human”.