Sidebar: Managing your 'spin budget'

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Excerpt from Sidebar: Managing your ‘spin budget’, page 72:

...Just because spherical video allows you to fill a location with action and activity in every direction doesn’t mean you should always do so. Use the periphery of your scene thoughtfully and sparingly. 

Making your viewer spin around and look behind her to see an important detail in a scene can be effective if it happens once, or for a specific and deliberate reason. However, if you do it too often, it quickly becomes tiring and annoying. I call that being too “twisty” because I feel like I’m constantly twisting my neck around. Even if I’m sitting in a swiveling office chair (so I don’t have to hurt my neck), the experience can be disorienting and ultimately disengaging. 

Similarly, placing the camera in the middle of a scene full of action encourages the viewer to frantically swing her head around trying to catch all the various points of interest. Not only can this be physically uncomfortable, it can also leave her feeling like she’s missing out on important details. 

Making your scenes complex, engaging, and filled with enough activity to keep your viewers’ attention is a good idea. But if you go too far, you’ll lose them and they’ll take off the goggles feeling overwhelmed at best, or angry (or nauseated) at worst.

In real life, we don’t swing our heads more than 5–10 degrees very often. Forcing viewers to do so in a VR experience doesn’t improve presence and immersion; on the contrary, it reminds your audience that they’re in a simulated experience, not a real one... 

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