360 Video – Finally Merging Form With Function

While 360 cameras have been available for a while, and the technology keeps getting better (more resolution, better software to stitch the files together) I haven't seen an example that didn't feel frivolous, forced, or unnecessary.

All that changed with Joshua Jelly-Schapiro's new story for RYOT / Huffington Post on "Rethinking Cuba". If you've seen photographs (or footage, even) from Cuba and wondered what was beyond the frame, 360 video is racing to fill that gap. Jelly-Schapiro's example merges journalism with a new kind of travel voyeurism that I haven't seen before.

Plus, it's fascinating how 360 footage presents a kind of experience that's akin to watching a livestream from a fixed camera location. As a viewer, you feel like you don't know what will happen next, and that you're empowered to (in some small way) control the outcome by panning and scrolling through the frame. (Use your mouse, folks!) It's a YouTube-based "Choose Your Own Adventure".

When new cameras, equipment (or apps, even!) come along there's a race to figure out their best use, and Jelly-Schapiro's example comes as close as I've seen to realizing the strength and uniqueness of 360 video's promise.



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