Chapter 11: Shooting 360° video

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Excerpt from Chapter 11: Shooting 360° video, page 59:

...Some creators argue that because the audience can look in any direction, the VR filmmaker is obliged to stage action “in the round,” that is, not just directly in front of the viewer but all around her. In fact, some VR creators reward viewers for rubbernecking, providing surprises or extra bits of content that are only discoverable if you fully explore the space.  

This approach can be used to incorporate background or “side-ground” B stories that might otherwise be cut from a traditional narrative—action that adds to the story if you catch it, but isn’t crucial to the main narrative.

That doesn’t mean that you should you fill the screen with swarming activity, like a Hieronymus Bosch painting or a Richard Scarry drawing. Too much unfocused action happening everywhere at once can be distracting and annoying. If your scene encourages viewers to gape in all directions, they’re likely to find your video a literal pain in the neck. 

It’s better to give viewers a clear place to look within the sphere. That point of focus can move around within the 360˚ space, but shouldn’t be too “twisty.” Forcing your audience to frequently shift focus is uncomfortable, unnerving, and guaranteed to pull them out of the experience. (This is discussed in more detail in Chapter 15: Guiding the viewer’s focus.)

Personally, I believe that the sense of immersion in 360˚ video derives mostly from having your peripheral vision filled while watching the main action. Add a spatialized sound mix and you’ll have generated an experience dramatically more engaging than could ever be possible with flat video...

Spatialized sound mix: A soundscape where audio is positioned from specific locations in space around the listener.