By Pål Berg Mortensen, project manager and storyteller at Screen Story.
Our focus has been to find business opportunities for 360° video, using simple and affordable, consumer-based equipment and crew.
Together with different customers we have done several virtual tours in the last few years. We believe this is a product there most definitely is a market for.
A virtual tour is usually based on 360° still pictures of a location, and different types of media input from the customer. You can move around using your pointer, both in a web browser and in VR-glasses. Have a look at one of our virtual tours here.
The main challenge with virtual tours is trying to streamline the process, so that it becomes product that the customer can afford. Virtual tours take lots of time to edit – it is a very time-consuming process that requires lots of computer power.
There is often a gap between delivering on the customer’s needs and expectations, and on the other hand not spending too much time on the product, ultimately making the product too expensive for the customer.
With this in mind, we have also been exploring ways to work with 360° technologies in a more time efficient way. Is there any way we could save some time in the editing process? How can we reduce file sizes, and processing power needed?
We think the main way forward is to simplify our projects. Less emersion, and more storytelling. As soon as you give the audience the ability to have hundreds of different options in every single frame of content, the project becomes very slow and time-consuming, making the project very expensive for the customer.
We believe that simple 360° video, with as few cuts as possible, has a big potential. Many of our customers have expressed a need to capture more information than a regular camera can record. They want to record every single interaction that happens in a room/environment. This is almost an impossible task for a regular cameraman, but a very simple task for a 360 camera. Social science, teaching, sports analysis is just some of the areas where we see opportunities.
Training and education
Another area we see massive potential in is training. For instance, the emergency services already do a lot of simulation training on different scenarios. They simulate situations like serious car accidents, with many actors and equipment in a specific (often remote) location. These types of emergency preparedness events are completed several times a year on different locations all over Norway.
360° videos of these scenarios would make them more accessible, and it is also more cost effective than running scenarios in real life. The 360° scenarios can be reused, and only require actors and location-design once. There are numerous other businesses and industries doing different types of on-site training, where 360° solutions could be a substitute or a supplement to the training.
Art exhibitions in 360°
For art museums we continue to believe in virtual tours. In our work with Stavanger Art Museum, we have acquired solid feedback about the solution.
The client is very happy with the product itself, but as of right now the main challenge is cost. As this virtual tour was part of our research, we were able to give them a substantial discount. To be a business opportunity for us in the future, this will not be possible. However, if we can figure out more cost-effective ways of delivering the same kind of product, we think it can be a great business opportunity.
All in all, we are looking forward to continuing the search for good business opportunities for 360° technologies in the corporate market. We believe there are still new areas to explore, and that this technology will be a part of the corporate film market in the future.