Compared to traditional video, planning interactive immersive experience based on 360-degree video requires different approaches. Adapting everything from a brief, a script, and a storyboard is essential for success in this medium. Deciding upon the best location for filming in order to take viewers on a seamless 360-degree video journey is crucial. From a digital learning point of view, this means choosing a place that is familiar to learners but that doesn’t allow them to feel too comfortable, encourages them to explore further, and ultimately enhances the experience.
Shooting limitations to consider
You can capture the content using a multiple-camera system or an omnidirectional camera. Generally, the only area that you cannot view is the angle toward the camera support. However, in post-production, you can easily edit it out with “patching” by covering the area up with a still shot. The technologies are simple enough and sufficiently available that you don’t necessarily require a professional videographer or photographer, and you can do the filming in-house.
Single scene planning
When planning a single 360 scene we suggest using a “bird’s eye view” approach. The two black circles show what’s in the immediate proximity of the viewer and what’s in the surroundings. Always consider what will be the initial point-of-view (POV). That is what the viewer will see first. Then add scene objects into the two circles. The more important objects go into the inner circle and the less important ones in the other circle. Look at the bottom example to see what I mean.
To create a storyboard we borrowed a technique from our colleagues that deal with networking. Network topology is the layout of the connections (links, nodes, etc.) of a computer network. The names used – such as a ring or star – are only rough descriptions. There are seven basic topologies: Point-to-point topology, Bus (point) topology, Star topology, Ring topology, Tree topology, Full/partial Mesh topology, and Hybrid topology. You can see how they look in the image below.
We found it useful to set up the storyboards in a similar way where the connections represent possible transitions. This way anyone who’s working on the story knows exactly what possible paths the viewer can take. You can see an example from our Storyboard overview below.
We are all familiar with the traditional video format of directed single viewpoint, storyline, and narrative. This linear approach has allowed us to deliver video content and learning objectives in a set sequence and at a pre-determined pace to the viewer; the director is in control of what the viewer sees.
The introduction of 360-degree video means that video production workflows and deliverables need a complete rethink. The power no longer lies with the director to guide the audience; the power is now in the hands of the audience as they determine where to look and what storylines to engage with. This obviously creates new challenges for directors shooting scenes that require accurate timings and that need guidance for the viewer to follow.