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Creative ways for newsrooms to tell stories with 360 video

It’s been more than a year since Facebook and Youtube started making 360 videos available in more ways to viewers, and journalists have moved into the space quickly, with publications like the New York Times even churning out a daily 360 video.

Newsroom staff who have used 360 video have focused on the tourism or landscape aspect of the storytelling tool, such as the Steamboat Pilot and Today’s 360 video series “Wish You Were Here.”

Several GateHouse Media newsrooms have had the Ricoh Theta 360 camera for about a year, and have found many unique ways to tell stories.

In Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Digital Assignment Editor Jason Kolnos used the camera to produce a 360 video tour of the Whydah Pirate Museum. The story and video take readers through a tour of the old ship.

In Sarasota, Florida, Photographer Thomas Bender did a 360 video of a sunset at Siesta Key. The video highlighted a unique tradition of people playing with hula hoops at sunset.

In Columbus, Ohio, the Dispatch did a 360 tour of a tiny house constructed from an old shipping container.

In all of these examples, the viewer is able to see the location in a much more immersive way than they would through just text or a regular video.

Newsrooms looking to move into this storytelling format will first need to purchase a camera and have access to a more robust editing software such as Final Cut Pro.

To capture the best footage when shooting the video, Herald Tribune’s Director of Photography Mike Lang wrote in an email that they try to place the camera among the subjects.

In the video of the sunset featuring hula hoopers, the women in the video move around the camera when playing with the hula hoops, which makes the viewer want to move the video around, he wrote.  

When thinking about story ideas, consider what is unique about your community landscape that can be displayed better through a 360 view.

Topics such as a local festival, beaches, or even a tour of the damage from a warehouse fire, have all worked well.  

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