Fusion Creates a VR Unit and How to Film in 360 Degrees

Last month we wrote about VR usage in newsrooms (see Radar 10th August, 360 Degree Documentary Making) as the format develops from experimental tool to mainstream usage. This week, Poynters Benjamin Mullin, reveals that Fusion (the multi platform media company owned by Disney and Univision) are to create a new VR unit. Mullin publishes extracts of a memo from Fusion Editor-in-Chief Alexis Madrigal, which points to already completed projects including this one which shows a journey into a Fusion reactor. Whilst initial Fusion projects seem a little underwhelming, Madrigal believes that continued investment in development might make VR a reality for the news consumer in the not too distant future;

We should be real about our expectations, too: the universe of VR​ ​users is still small. Like everything else we do, success won’t and​ ​can’t be measured exclusively by view counts. We’re first and foremost​ ​trying to learn with our Fusion VR experiments, understanding how to​ ​optimize how we’re using the technology. The VR experience is becoming​ ​more accessible and we want FUSION to be on the frontline.

Elsewhere in the world of 360 degree storytelling, Journalism.co.uk has been talking to interactive video specialist Edward Miller who filmed footage for Immersiv.ly’s film Hong Kong Unrest. The 360 degree rendering of the documentary allows the viewer to immerse themselves within the crowd of protesters and get a real sense of the scale of the protests and the threatening police presence. >”Platforms like Twitter and Facebook can offer instant news far quicker than larger media organisations can react. So I see news organisations moving towards the role of the analyst,” he said. “It’s this progression towards ‘slow news’ and long form which I think will make content such as virtual reality a compelling way to provide extra value that users couldn’t get anywhere else. Watching [Hong Kong Unrest] in a virtual reality headset gives the user a sense of what it was like to have been at the protests alongside police clashes, capturing small details that simply would have been missed with traditional fixed perspective cameras.”

The article includes advice for the 360 newbie on choosing a suitable topic, getting the right equipment, and filming and editing techniques and software.