The do’s and don’ts of immersive content on a budget
If a picture is worth a thousand words, immersive content is even more powerful in its ability to transform the experience of consuming news. VR projects like “Paradise,” exploring a radioactive atoll in the Marshall Islands, can really bring viewers to a new place and help them experience a story in a unique way.
For many, though, immersive projects seem out of reach without a massive budget. That’s not necessarily true, say Nathan Griffiths, Lakshmi Sarah, Robert Hernandez and Scott Mayerowitz, who ran a session on making immersive content on a shoestring budget at ONA17.
There’s a camera for almost every price point, the experts say, starting from the less-than-$200 Insta360 Nano, which can be mounted on an iPhone. Sarah adds that when it comes to equipment, the camera is not always the most crucial thing: the rigging setup (how you attach the camera) can be just as important for finding unique angles. See more on gear from this VR tipsheet.
ONA Alaska Leader Kyle Hopkins had ideas for what works and what doesn’t on a tight budget:
We’re always on the lookout for helpful resources and tips. If you have other examples to share, please reply directly to this email.
- Formats that have been a hit: Still 360 photos in visually interesting places, landscape portraits and “walk with me” videos in which a reporter is exploring a new location for the first time.
- What’s not worth it: Headsets and audio. For Hopkins’ team, the video quality for headsets wasn’t there. And for those on a budget, built-in microphones often produced tinny audio filled with ambient noise. The team experimented with capturing audio separately and merging, but that could be tricky given the huge size of the files.
- Editing can be hit-or-miss. Because the team is used to editing for broadcast, they didn’t always have the best tools for fine-tuning 360 video and processing files, so they’ve focused on projects where you can just shoot and publish.