The video captures the Cliff Diving World Series, an annual event sponsored by Red Bull. The 2017 event took place in Polignano a Mare, Italy bringing in over 70,000 spectators to watch divers from across the world plummet over 88 feet into the Adriatic Sea. The city is usually home to no more than 16,000, making the event one of Polignano a Mare’s biggest tourist attractions. The platforms are 3 times the Olympic standard hight, located just outside a random citizen’s yearly home.
The cliffs of Polignano a Mare are absolutely stunning in 360, every direction there is something breathtaking to look at. From the architecture of the surrounding city, the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea, or the large crowds of spectators watching in the distance, it would be difficult to find something uninteresting to look at. The location is not only perfect for the event itself but for capturing a captivating landscape of a city most will never have the pleasure of visiting.
Each shot felt thought out and meticulously executed, using various techniques to capture the event in creative and engaging ways. A drone is used to get most, if not every shot within the length of the video. The drone effectively showcases the enormous scale of the cliffs, using panning shots which rise from the water to the top of platforms. The most impressive shot gives a first-person perspective of the death-defying dive, letting you freefall through the air and into the water below. While your fear of heights may be tested, I never felt lost or disoriented during the experience.
The video is a mixture of natural sound and music. The sound works best when you can hear the wind, the distant cheers of the crowd, or the water splash upon impact of the dive. The music added feels like an afterthought. It works as a means to fill in blank space when a moment may have seemed too quiet to the editor. Using the cookie cutter rock song captures a very generalized adventurous emotion, but pales in comparison to what is being shown on screen. My problem is less with the choice of adding music and more with the music chosen. The music should’ve just been used a backdrop to the natural sound. Natural sounds increase the immersion for the virtual reality experience, the only thing I feel this video was truly lacking.
The video clocks in at 2 minutes and 4 seconds, noticeably short, but they use the amount of time very effectively. The video is so interesting and fun to watch that the fact it’s short-lived is too a fault – but I suppose that’s a good problem to have if any. I think the video could’ve benefited from an additional minute of runtime by including some footage of preparation before the dive to build anticipation for when they make the initial leap. While this would’ve been a nice addition, its lack of inclusion isn’t that detrimental to the enjoyment of the video.
Despite the small flaws that I had with video, ultimately this is one of my favorite VR experiences I’ve seen on the YouTube platform. While the location would be incredible to capture on its own, the included context of the Cliff Diving World Series makes it an even more interesting story for 360.
Written By: Nic Moore
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEwC798hNyI
Red Bull’s Website about Cliff Diving: http://cliffdiving.redbull.com/en_US/event/polignano-mare-2018
More Information about Polignano a Mare: https://www.thethinkingtraveller.com/thinkpuglia/guide-to-puglia/towns-and-cities/polignano-a-mare.aspx