Drum Implosion | Mythbusters- Story Review

The Mythbusters have always had a boisterous and fun personality that’s captivated the viewers of Discovery Channel for years. Add 360 video to that, and you really feel like you’re actually there with them. This particular story was an experiment conducted by the hosts of Mythbusters, Adam and Jamie.

In this demonstration, Adam and Jamie used the power of a vacuum to crush a 55 gallon drum. Interestingly, the drum doesn’t “crush” when it is supposed to, and takes a bit longer than the hosts had originally planned.

As a fan of Mythbusters, I’ve always loved getting to watch the experiments conducted in the show. However, I felt like this specific  example of VR kind of fell flat.

The positives: Adam does a really nice job of introducing the viewer to the experiment and showing them the surroundings of the hallway of the warehouse. He has a really great voice for narration, and it was fun to listen to him tell me what to do. He and Jamie also did a nice job of explaining what was happening in real time, as I clearly understood that the experiment that they were doing involved removing the pressure from a drum to make it collapse in on itself. They also added some nice music to the piece. When you’re waiting on the results of an experiment, it’s not the most exciting thing to watch. So by adding music in the background of listening to Adam and Jamie talking, it made the time pass a little quicker. They also did a nice job of jumping through time so we as the viewer weren’t having to just wait around while nothing visible was happening. They skipped through and showed brief moments of the pressure on the drum increasing, right up until it finally collapsed in on itself.

The negatives: One of the primary challenges people are facing when coming up with VR stories is figuring out whether or not it’s appropriate for 360 video. When watching this particular piece, I asked myself multiple times “This is a cool experiment, but why in the world is it being shown in 3D?” The drum doesn’t move, and aside from the drum itself there’s not really anything else to look at. The experiment wasn’t held in a particularly interesting part of the warehouse either, as the only thing around the camera was a wall of boxes and containers. Visually, it just wasn’t anything impressive. This was something that I thought could easily have been shown in a 2D video, and that’s something that you don’t want in a VR story. There just wasn’t enough to look at that made this story necessary to have been shot in VR.

Overall, while the experiment was certainly interesting, this wasn’t a very good use of VR. Had this been a larger experiment that required the viewer to look at various places to see it all, or had it even been held in a more interesting environment, this would be a lot more visually interesting. Without Adam and Jamie’s entertaining personality, this story would have completely fallen flat. Luckily, their interactions at least provided a little bit of entertainment. However, it wasn’t enough to save this VR story.

 

VR Review- NY Times Colorado Autumn Colors 360 video

Here in is this short film video story, https://nyti.ms/2yQKPPl , “Fly Over Colorado’s Autumn Colors in 360” We see a over looked video of White River National Forest, Colorado. This video was crated by a team that included Will Strathmann working the video, edited by Joshua Thomas, and Produced by Nathan Griffiths. Also Samantha Quick was mentioned, but not listed in what specific role was played. This video was published by The New York Times. There were no specific viewings of this video on NY Times The Daily 360 website.

This Video story, includes a fly over video that flies right over the hillsides of aspen trees that grow for acres and acres throughout this area. This is where the narration begins. Lisa Stoeffler, Deputy Forest supervisor, U.S. Department of agriculture, is the interviewed narrator of this piece. She first describes the changing of the leaves and how they change, as she states, “in one massive clump”, due to the aspens growing from identical genetics. Lisa  is then seen for the first time in a valley by a river in the mountains known as “The Maroon Bells”. Lisa will continue to narrate on and off the camera with short pauses of word narration on screen in different views of both the river area and within the forest of aspens, with light music in the background. A shot transition to a bus of people coming to the Maroon Bells, begins another narration from Lisa where she states, “More than 300,000 people visit the Maroon Bells every year”. The final shot is The Maroon Bells which many photographers on the edge of a pond trying to catch photos of this spectacular place. Lisa, out of shot, commentates with the ending comment of , “This is one of the most photographed places in the state of Colorado, and you can see why”.  The narration structure wasn’t chronological, it was an interview from someone that knew about the location and was able to share some insights while viewing the video story.

This story is location driven. The location drives this story because it’s a specific area which is the main purpose of the viewers being interested in wanting to watch to get the “Fly Over” look of the autumn colors in Colorado. Even though there is narration on what lies in the White River National Park, Colorado you’re not moved to view things on screen because of it.

The weaknesses I found in this video story was time of the video, camera angles, and timing of the frames. It was definitely a video I wish was longer because this is a place I would actually want to travel too. The area’s were either repetitive of just no areas I believed were the best shots. The clips of the scenery where you had words on the screen to read were the only extended views the viewer of this video story was able to really see. I would’ve wanted the scenes of narration where I wasn’t focuses visually on anything to be longer so that the effect of being in that moment would’ve been better. If i wanted to see what was behind me at all I would have to start the video over and watch it from that side because I didn’t have the time to turn around before it would change.

A review of the De Bijenkorf 360 Fashion Show

by Tabitha Olatoyan

The Virtual Reality 360 story review I did was on a fashion show called Freedom of Fashion, which was published and produced by de Bijenkorf in Nortre Dame. They are a fairly large fashion company who began using virtual reality 360 as a way to include their intended audience to want to buy more of their products.

https://www.debijenkorf.nl/

The story telling and virtual reality techniques they used were to make the viewers feel as though they were also part of the audience, spectating the fashion show. Another technique which I really liked, was that they made the viewer feel as though they were also one of the models walking in the fashion show.

The story was simply to just give people an understanding and look at what their fashion company is all about. Viewers are able to see the kind of fabrics, clothing designs, and shoes that they sell.

The story did absolutely use a narrative structure by showing the beginning of the fashion show (even before it began), by having a reporter introduce what the audience will be seeing. It then goes into the middle where you see the fashion show in progress, watching the audience’s interaction and reactions. Finally it shows the end, one is able to tell it is the end of the fashion show because the video captures the audience applauding.

The characters in the story would be the audience watching the fashion show. They did drive the story in a way because as the viewer, one can see their reactions to the clothing that was being showcased. Seeing those reactions and interactions from the audience inflicted an emotion that caused the viewer to also want to be excited about what was being shown. So because of that, It was definitely character driven.

The location was also very driven because it was the viewer want to be in the beautiful where the fashion show was being held. The experience was well driven because the producer put the camera at appropriate positions, which allowed the narrative to be very well put together.

The story was, in my opinion, appropriate for virtual reality because it allowed the viewer to be immersed in the fashion show, to experience what it is like being and seeing a real life fashion show, as well as wanting to know more about the company’s clothing and want to also purchase it. The story was strong and effective.

On the Verge: Manuel Margot – Story Review

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWtyi5QH2QU

On the Verge: Manuel Margot is a 360 VR video from Major League Baseball that is a part of their On the Verge series documenting rising baseball stars as they adjust to the MLB. The video was published to the MLB’s YouTube channel and has found reasonable success. So far, it has garnered roughly 25,000 views while other videos in the series have produced only a few thousand views. I believe one reason for its success is because it is documenting a player from the Dominican Republic, so perhaps people from his home country watched to see how he was adjusting to life in the United States and the MLB.

The video’s narrative revolves around Manuel’s history with baseball and his journey of making it to the MLB. This is provided through voiceover narration by Manuel. The visuals of the video are of him training and show activities such as taking batting practice in a cage and on the field, base-running drills, and watching film of pitchers. It also featured superimposed highlights of him playing in previous games.

The video concludes by showing Manuel playing in a live game, which I felt was a solid conclusion because the rest of the story was about his journey and hard work that led to him playing in the MLB.

The video was both character and experience driven. Since it was only about one person, Manuel, the viewer could become attached to this one person’s experience and journey. It could be considered emotional because Manuel described his feelings of making it to the MLB and playing in his first game. He explained that the first thing he did was leap up in the air when he first heard the news and then called his dad. When playing in his first game, he stated that he couldn’t stop laughing and had tears running down his face. Fans of MLB, the intended audience of this video, can most likely relate to his experience and understand his emotions because it is something many of them have dreamed of doing. The video was also experience driven because it detailed his routines of practicing and eventually of Manuel starting in a game and getting a hit.

I felt this video was appropriate for VR because it allowed for the viewer to be put onto the field as the players hit and trained. Being able to be on the field and look around an empty stadium as they practiced was very effective in immersing me into the story. However, this does not mean the video did not have technical or story flaws. One issue I had with the video was that it relied upon on-screen translations because Manuel spoke a different language. I must admit, it did take away some of the immersion I had because I had to look at the translation of what he was saying instead of simply taking in the environment. I thought the video’s creators did the best they could with this by having two areas to show the dialogue, one by the intended direction of the viewer and the other behind the viewer in case they were looking around. Another issue I had with the video was that the shot of him batting in a live game was too far away. This was understandable however because they could not place the camera on the field close to him during an actual game.

VR Story Review- A 360 View Inside the Brutal Battle for Mosul

Published from PBS, A 360 View Inside the Brutal Battle for Mosul, was created to give readers and viewers a new perspective for the gruesome battles in Iraq’s city of Mosul. According to Frontline, the city has been under control of ISIS for the past two years, and has been almost completely destroyed. The Battle of Mosul was produced to assist in the documentary of Battle for Iraq. The video is taken following Iraqi-born reporter Ghaith Abdul-Ahad. He is a reporter for the Guardian and the Washington post, but since PBS partners with the Guardian, this piece was also posted on PBS and featured by Frontline.

Their platform was too show how this once thriving city is now struggling to overcome ISIS and has been destroyed in the process. The audience for this in my opinion was vast and would be interesting to anyone who does and doesn’t know about the situation. I think the scene at the hospital after the three truck car bombs exploding really made an impact in the video. It showed how packed the hospital was and that it was too small for how many people were in there. One thing I noticed in this experience that was unlike the rest that didn’t fit, was the scene of hidden tunnels to hide from air strikes. This was out of place because every other location in the video was from a spot where someone could have been standing, but this one was from over the tunnel hole that goes into the ground.

The story starts from oil fields that were set on fire by ISIS, tunnels built by ISIS to hide from airstrikes, a hospital where people were being treated and scrambling around after three truck bombs went off and also camps where people had been living. There was no set beginning to end story but rather just explored some of the major locations that could be vital to know what civilians in Mosul are living like. I think Abdul-Ahad was a good character for this story and used his voice to explain important things the viewer would be looking at but also acted as a tour guide in the video exploring and talking to people. Where Abdul-Ahad said “my country is caught in a cycle of hatred and violence… after my journey I’m not so optimistic, the Battle for Mosul is like another chapter in an endless war,” I loved that he mentioned that it’s his country and gave a special feeling that I was getting an inside scoop from someone who really is connected to the location and battle. This was definitely an experience driven video and was made to see what Mosul current looks like. The only emotion I felt in the video was in the hospital by watching people run around and have worried looked on their faces. The part showing a fenced in area where people live, after the camps, talking about how people are worried that they will not be able to leave the country and want to go back home could have shown more emotion from people instead of watching from a far.

I think this was appropriate for VR and I felt like I was there with Ghaith. It’s important for people to know what’s going on around the country and reading an article or watching a feature on the news doesn’t give people the full idea of what is going on, but I think this VR video did.

Battle for Mosul

"Battle for Mosul" is a visceral 360° experience into war-torn Iraq. Iraqi-born journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad of The Guardian takes you inside ISIS hideouts, to the edge of burning oil fields that ISIS has set ablaze, and into the growing camps for displaced people that now exist across his homeland.

Posted by FRONTLINE on Tuesday, January 31, 2017