Full Circle: Planning Your First 360 Video

Open any magazine that has predictions for the year(s) ahead, and chances are that the first prediction will be widespread emergence of virtual reality. Few storytelling technologies of the past decade have people as excited as VR, and we at Fenton share the enthusiasm. As you read this, there are already plenty of 360 videos that require nothing more than access to YouTube to fully experience, with millions of views. These videos are used to let you experience everything from music to swimming with sharks and are beginning to be utilized by activists. We partnered with three of the leading virtual reality and 360 video producers to explore the intricacies of 360 video and how social change organizations can take advantage of this blossoming technology.

Beyond the hype, virtual reality and 360 video engage people in a way that few other mediums can. It’s no secret that the technology evokes empathy better than static video, but what about giving viewers an experience that would be impossible with static video? Does that experience move beyond empathy into genuine feelings? The team at KonceptVR talked about achieving “presence,” which is industry parlance for viewers being completely immersed in the digital word. One of KonceptVR’s defining videos is Circle of Life in 360 from the Broadway musical “The Lion King.” The video is shot from the point of view of an actor in the show, which gives viewers a sense of intimacy and the chance to truly go behind the scenes and experience something that they would otherwise never see.

It’s not just the intimacy or the unfamiliar that is exciting when planning a 360 campaign. It’s the possibility to engage in multiple ways with a potential viewer. Ari Kuschnir, founder of the production company m ss ng p eces, described how his team’s work on the interactive music video “Met Before” by Chairlift elicited multiple viewings per person. Viewers repeatedly watched the video to discover all 11 possible endings. Those multiple views drastically drive down the cost-per-view and increase the probability of the viewer taking action and becoming a cause/brand ambassador. When concentrating on the long-term benefits of a 360 video campaign, suddenly the potential sticker shock seems less, well, shocking.

VR Pricing Budget Model


This sticker price will continue to drop as the technology begins to normalize and standardize in the next year. As the price drops, the market is expected to explode. Digi-Capital, the leading M&A firm, predicts that by 2020, the total virtual/augmented reality market will reach $150 billion.

One of the factors of that adoption and explosion is the consumer headset market. Each production company agreed that the consumer market will hold at three tiers: budget (e.g. Google Cardboard), standard (e.g. Samsung Gear VR) and premium (e.g. Oculus Rift). We see mass adoption occurring in the first two tiers with the low end often serving as a gateway into more premium devices. It’s paramount that all activations work across each headset.

So how does one actually go about planning and shooting a 360 video? What are the key considerations when planning a 360 video? How is it stitched together? Mike Donaghey, co-founder of Scratch Empire, tackled those very questions in an extended interview with Fenton.