Why We Build in 360.

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An educational rant by Sprocket’s Creative Director, Dean Velez.

360-degree content is new, fun, and exciting. And it’s not just me saying this as a content creator, but it’s also exciting for viewers. We’ve had visitors come into our studio over the past year to experience some of the 360 content we’ve built. And every time they’ve taken the goggles off, they’ve said, “That was awesome!”. So what is it… what makes 360 such an effective medium for storytelling?

360 isn’t for everyone and everything.

There’s a big problem of 360 over-saturation—everybody wants to get in on the “big new thing,” and that means lots of 360 content that doesn’t hit the mark (and probably should have never been created in 360 in the first place).

If you can tell your story in a normal, flat environment, then keep it in that flat environment. If your story is very linear and doesn’t need a round world, stay linear. 360 needs a purpose: you need to have a reason for why you’ve dropped your viewer or client into a multi-dimensional world to show them what you’ve made.

See the Noir Alley 360 project HERE

My reason for telling a story in 360.

Now, there’s no one answer for why you should tell a story in 360. But for me, it’s all about wonderment—the state of awe and curiosity you can get when experiencing something. The moment you put someone into a 360 environment, they have a desire to explore: they look up and down and side to side, whether they’re in goggles or just spinning around with their phone held up.

People get caught up in the environment of the 360 world. They love to explore, and when they discover something in the created world they get excited; there’s the “a-ha!” moment of “look what I found!”

The discovery can be a “physical” rendered item or a pop-up box of information, but the viewer feels rewarded by finding it because they put in the effort to find it. It feeds that wonderment by adding a sense of accomplishment to the sense of exploration…and all they’ve done is find exactly what you put in there for them to find.

A recent example of wonderment.

We’d been working on a 360 board game project, and one of our artists (Christian Velez) hands me the glasses and says “Look at this, but stand here first.” So I stand where he pointed, put on the glasses, and I’m in the world we created: an Army scene. “This is really cool,” I said, but then I noticed that the soldier in front of me was looking up at something. So I look up, and I see a giant robot is coming towards the soldier! “Wow, that’s awesome!” But then, because I’m in an explorable environment, I keep turning…

…and surprise! There’s this HUGE T-REX going after the robot, and I was completely taken in by the scene. I had that “a-ha!” moment of discovering the T-Rex that was lurking behind me, and I started piecing everything in the scene together by actively turning back and forth to take in all the information presented to me.

I was so caught up in the wonderment of it all that I was able to take in so much more detail and information than if this scene had all been together on a flat screen.

Numbers to back it up.

That’s why we build and story-tell in 360. It’s immersive, exciting and makes people want to take it all in. And it’s not just us playing around with dinosaurs and robots. There is research out there that has shown some huge numbers as it relates to retention and interactions. According to a July 2017 study from The Drum / Vibrant Media that found 360 content having a 600% higher interaction rate and a 700% higher recall rate than standard, linear video.

As content creators, we want to help you connect to what you’re viewing. And if we can put you into a world where you can empathize with your environment, connect with it and feel rewarded by it in ways that linear storytelling and flat video can’t…then we’ve done our job.

So the questions become:

  • Can your message be delivered in an arena that fills the viewer with that sense of wonder?
  • Can you deliver your objective to the viewer in a world that lets them discover and explore?

If you answer “yes” to either one of these, that’s when you dive into 360 storytelling.

See the Ben 10 360 project HERE

So, have you ever considered using an immersive format (360/VR/AR) to tell your story? If so and you weren’t sure where to begin, we hope this information provides a spark. Or if you would like to learn more about how we approach immersive storytelling, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line or give us a call. We’ve got T-Rex’s and robots standing by.