Old Friends is a Thoroughbred racehorse retirement facility were ex- medalist winning horses go to spend their retired lives. There are many renowned racehorses at this farm including past Kentucky Derby Winner’s Silvercharm and War Emblem. The farm attracts many people annually and continues to be one of the most prestigious Retirement farms for ex-racehorses.
The Virtual Reality Storytelling Organization, StoryUp is a group of filmmakers, videographers, and storytellers who create exceptional storytelling experiences for virtual reality. You can learn more about StoryUp and it’s creators here. The company’s stories have made themselves unique in comparison to others due to their strong use of empathy in their videos. The stories that are being told make the viewer feel very empathetic to the environment or surroundings that they have been placed in.
Photo by: StoryUp
StoryUp has produced many types of virtual reality videos that can focus on positive brain control, empathy, and mindfulness. One video in particular seemed exceptionally moving compared to others was the empathy driven Virtual Reality story titled Congo: Empowered By Light
This story was about the lack of energy for Park Rangers at Virguna National Park in Congo. They are among 1.3 billion worldwide that lack electricity. The video describes the hardships that the people of Virguna struggle with daily due to energy poverty. This storytelling experience grabbed the viewer’s attention straight from the beginning and made the viewer completely immersed for the entirety of the video. The use of empathy for this video is what made this story of influential to others. The beginning text of “Are you Listening?” with a powerful voiceover in the background immediately made the viewer listen. As you continue in the story, the video puts you inside the environment of the national park and what it is like to live in their conditions. Perhaps the most powerful scene throughout the story would be the women inside her hut, trying to prepare food in the dark with only a small flame. You were able to feel like you were sitting right next to the woman by the fire and feel the struggles that she was facing.
Photo by: StoryUp
The structure of this story has a beginning, middle, and an end. The beginning shot asked the viewers “are you listening?’ and then the story dived into what life was like in Virguna National Park and the issues that Congo was facing. At the end of the story, the title “yes I’m listening” appears on the screen as well as information about how Empowered by Light has been a helping hang to the national park in efforts to bring economic growth and environmental sustainability to the Virguna National Park in Congo. It was interesting to see how the video started with a question and the end of the story answered that same question.
Photo by: StoryUp
This Virtual Reality story was a location and experience driven video. The topic of importance for the story was the area of Virguna National Park in Congo and how they were experiencing energy poverty. The experience aspect of the story the storytellers wanted to provoke was so that the viewer could experience empathy for these people and be able to immerse themselves into the environment at the national park. Empathy is a great tool to use when you are telling a story that needs empathy. When a viewer feels like they are in the situation with the story characters, they will evoke emotions of empathy and compassion.
When being introduced into the Virtual Reality world, I was able to test many cameras with 360 capabilities. There are many great cameras for VR use in the market such as the Theta and the GoPro. However, the Insta 360 One X has given me the best camera experience for my VR endeavors. This is one of the newest cameras to date that has been released for 360 videos. The camera is made from the company Insta360. There are various styles of the camera such as the normal Insta360, the Nano, NanoS, the Air, and the One. The Insta 360 One X camera is an Action camera. The price runs close to 400 dollars from the site. Although, there are various carriers that sale the camera. The camera is available in many different sites with easy accessibility to purchase.
One major reason as to why this camera has been my favorite is the easy steps for shooting. The camera is very simple and easy to use. The camera includes 2 buttons on the front and a mini screen. These are used to turn on the camera, turn to a specific setting, shoot, and turn off. Compared to other 360 cameras, the settings on the Insta are the easiest to navigate. There is an app called Insta360 One X that you can download to your phone to pair via Bluetooth with the camera. From there, you can begin to shoot your video and watch the footage straight from your phone.
There are many pros to this camera that id like to point out. The first being, the simplicity of the camera. As mentioned earlier, there is not complication with navigating through the settings and trying to shoot. All of the steps are very simple and self explanatory. Another pro for this camera would be the pre stitched footage. With VR, stitching video is one of the most tedious tasks to complete. With the Insta 360, once you upload your footage to a desktop, the footage is already pre stitched. this saves VR filmmakers a tremendous amount of time. Another pro that the Insta 360 One X has is its bullet time feature. This camera is able to take literally bullet time shots by swinging the camera around a space. Click here to watch an impressive bullet time video with the Insta 360 One X camera. You’re able to actually slow this footage down while editing in the app. The App for Insta 360 has pretty incredible features such as editing tools to put your video in black and white a many other filters.
As for now, it has been hard for me to find cons for this camera. As time goes on and more consumers use the Insta 360, complications may arise. However, for now this camera is some of the upmost highest in VR technology.
This camera could be applied in many VR storytelling videos. The stabilization for the camera is very high quality, so to use this camera for biking, skiing, or any other footage that will be constantly moving would be perfect.