360 News and Lessons in VR by Dan Archer

If further proof was needed that immersive and interactive videos are set to become mainstream, it seems to be landing on breakfast tables right now.

The Verge reports that Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain are running a Google Cardboard promotion in New Zealand. Printed on the inside of their cardboard packaging is a template for ‘cut out and keep’ goggles and a QR code which points users to downloads of 360 videos of high adrenaline experiences such as a wingsuit parachute jump, longboard riding and downhill mountain biking.

Whilst the 360 video experience is becoming available to view by anyone with a smartphone and some cardboard goggles, the hardware for making the films is not yet available on the home market. However, GoPro (the company founded on the principles of making professional quality film kit available to amateurs), is about to make it’s 360 rig available to buy, although not yet by everybody.

Announced in May, ‘The Odyssey’ is now available to pre-order by ‘qualifying applicants’. According to Matt Burns at Techcrunch it will have a price tag of around $15,000 (a little under £10,000). The Odyssey forms part of a collaboration with Google Jump which provides the programming to assemble the multiple camera images into a high definition 360 degree alignment.

Moving away from 360 video and towards VR, Dan Archer, Graphic Journalist and founder of Empathetic Media has been writing about how journalists can use VR to tell news stories. His article on Medium describes how to get started with building a populated virtual environment and how to then code interactions and export your work.

This is a simplified guide for building an immersive story experience that could be applied to recreating a news event in virtual reality (without using 360 video). It’s meant more as a primer than a definitive, comprehensive guide — but should be enough to sate those who can’t tell their Oculus from their elbow, while providing a few tidbits to those who already can.