360° storytelling is one of the hottest topics. It's not just a new medium, it's a completely new way to tell a story. The good news is that soon everyone can use 360 degree photos and videos to create an interactive VR experience. In our new series we want to give you an overview and a guide at the same time: from filming with the right equipment to publishing your experience. Let's start with an overview and some examples.
WHAT IS 360° STORYTELLING?
When you create content, you may ask yourself: "How can we increase the engagement of our audience when there´s already so much content out there?" Video is currently the medium consumers prefer the most, but its full potential hasn't been reached yet.
Thanks to the ongoing advancements of new technologies, you will be able to increase the impact of your story through a new type of video which is on the rise. Normal videos are filmed in a fixed frame. The viewers perspective is completely limited to the scene captured directly in front of the camera lens. You cannot see what is above or below the picture the camera recorded.
360 video removes this limitation and adds a whole new dimension for the viewer. You decide which angle you want to look at within a scene - allowing you to experience it in a 360 degree view. Putting your audience directly into a 360 scene where they can experience the content is called 360 storytelling.
INDUSTRIES USING 360° STORYTELLING TO THEIR ADVANTAGE
Think this kind of experience is only for movies and documentaries? Nope, 360 storytelling can be used in various industries like music, marketing, education and more. In the following paragraphs we would like to show you 3 success examples of 360 storytelling for mobile devices.
Gorillaz - Saturnz Barz
To promote their upcoming album, the British band "Gorillaz" published a 360 music video on Youtube for one of their new songs. What makes this band so special is that their band members are fictitious characters with their very own traits and quirks.
By putting the viewer right into the story, Gorillaz provided deeper insights into the band´s characters; helping to create a much stronger connection between the band and their fans. Of course, you like a band because of its music. But after a while, you also want to know more about the characters behind it. Gorillaz did a great job accomplishing this to serve their core fanbase.
The feedback? Amazing. Within just two weeks, the video reached over 8 million views on Youtube and got lots of positive reactions in the comments. This is the most successful music video in 360 so far.
Nissan & Star Wars: Drive Through A Battle Zone
A car company and a famous movie franchise together? Exactly! Nissan leveraged another movie franchise´s storytelling (in this case Star Wars) for their 360 experience. The viewer is driving in a Nissan while being surrounded by a battle scene taken from the latest Star Wars movie.
Putting the viewer's focus on the Star Wars scene and not on the car itself wasn´t done by accident. By placing the viewers in the middle of a intergalactic battle, Nissan was able to demonstrate the safety systems of their cars in a subtle way.
Within two weeks, the 360 video reached over 1.5 million views and received very positive feedback. Lots of viewers enjoyed it and left several comments such as "This was the best car commercial ever". People like commercials?! This seems odd, doesn´t it? But we´ll reveal the reason for this in a minute.
By using Star Wars as the foundation of their storytelling, Nissan also branded itself as tech-oriented, adventurous and humorous car manufacturer and states clearly which buyer segment they want to attract.
QANTAS Airlines: Hamilton Island
Of all 3 storytelling examples, this 360 experience is the oldest one with the lowest footage quality. It's not only about footage quality but about the story. QANTAS Airlines created various 360 scenes of Hamilton Island (located in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia) including scenes around diving, walking on the beach, dining at sunsets etc. to emphasize those experiences more than in a normal video.
The Australian airline provided great storytelling by making the Hamilton Island and experiencing a high-class vacation there the main focus. In addition, a drone was used to aim for a better perception of the surroundings. From a content marketing standpoint, the purpose of this video is clear: QANTAS provides value to the viewer in form of escapism, specifically by making the viewers feel they are on a real vacation while watching the 360 video. In return, QANTAS aims to sway the viewers´ decision on which airline to choose when booking a holiday to Hamilton Island.
SUCCESS FACTORS OF 360° STORYTELLING
360 storytelling unlocks a feature that is not available in normal videos. The success of all 3 examples above is driven by interactivity. By having the option of swiping with your finger or moving your phone for a 360 degree view, you are actively participating in the scene. During a scene your curiosity kicks in and you ask yourself: "Hey, what´s above/beneath/behind me?"
Enabling this type of interactivity makes your audience believe they are part of the story and therefore, it increases your audience´s attention enormously. Gaining the attention of your audience may be one of the most valuable assets you can have. The more they are focused on your content, the better you can convey your message. And we all know that a better conveyed message is also received in a much deeper form.
Besides, your audience is very likely to replay your 360 video because they know there are still other perspectives in the story to discover which further increases your story´s impact. Lots of videos out there are probably only consumed once... and that´s it. But a 360 video gives your audience the chance of doing it again and again.
However, be careful!
Using 360 video just for the sake of appearing "innovative" might even hurt your storytelling. As with every marketing tool, you need to a have clear goal in mind from the beginning. Ask yourself: "What do I want to achieve with this content?" Does it make sense to show the story from different angles? Does it help the viewer to experience the story more intensely?
After clarifying this, you can decide if you want to tell your story in 360. Otherwise, if you create a 360 experience that bores your audience too fast, you risk losing them.
Focus on valuable content, not advertising
Think about your audience and goals first, not about your product. What is important to your audience? How can they benefit from this video? This could be in the form of a utility or just plain entertainment. Do not turn it into a commercial!
Keep it simple
Let´s take a look at the airline example: The QANTAS vacation video was only shot with a 360 camera, a drone and had zero computer animations. Despite its simplicity and low resolution compared to regular videos, people still liked the 360 experience because they felt they were part of the story. Remember: Quality is very subjective.
A FUTURE OUTLOOK ON 360° STORYTELLING
360 video is still at an early age, but it´s obvious how much impact it already has on us as consumers. With VR headsets continuing to spread in the next years, new ways of including your audience in your story will emerge. So far, it has been very difficult to create those sophisticated interactions when you are not a brand with a big budget. Fortunately, content producers and agencies are able to use our DIY tool to create those same experiences.
If you liked the examples above, why not think about how you can use 360 video to tell your story? You may find a new way spread your message with a different perspective and create a stronger connection with your audience.
In the upcoming posts, we´ll show you how you can use 360° storytelling to create this emotional bond. If you don't want to wait: sign up for the beta test of the 360° DIY tool "REFLEKT 360" and create your first stories!