Spera: Final Project (360 Video)
At the onset of this final project, I felt like I had a lot of ideas and no ideas at the same time. I was confused about what I wanted to achieve and how I wanted to do it. I knew I wanted to do a 360 video, but I was unsure in regards to the topic, story line, location, characters, etc.
I initially wanted to do a project recounting the story of when a friend of mine was raped. This was a really serious topic and the more I thought about, the more difficult I thought it was be to tell the story in 360. I felt that it would be better as a Unity project, but I am not as confident in my Unity skills, so I filed away that idea.
My next idea (the one I presented to the class), was to follow the story of a college athlete battling an eating disorder. I actually started shooting for this and did some great stuff, but unfortunately, I hit a bump in the road when I realized a lot of people's seasons (including mine for dance) were winding down and there weren't that many team activities going on. It's hard enough to get the team together for practice, so trying to get everyone to help me with a class project was even harder. Unfortunately, that idea was also pushed aside.
They say "third time's the charm" and that's how I felt about this. The idea that I actually ran with was my third idea and it stuck with me in a way that the others didn't. I wanted to create a music video type of experience, but one that told a story and followed a character...and I think I did that! (Yay for ideas that work!)
So the end result is, "Grief," a 360 video that follows the main character (me, but no one else needs to know that) after she has just lost someone important to her. I wanted to leave it open for interpretation, whether this person is a parent, a significant other, a family member, etc., but you get the point. The videos begins with her entering her home and travels through different rooms with her as she is expressing her grief after just losing this person.
Dance is something that is really important to me, so I wanted to include that in this video. I had to choreograph it so that I was traveling enough to make it interesting to the viewer and also so that you could move through the different rooms of the house seamlessly. When I filmed, I placed the camera in a location, did the choreography specific to that room, and then would move the camera to a new location. I would back up the music a little bit every time I switched the camera so that I could have room for error when editing (I would do a couple moves from the previous location to make sure I ended and started back up in the same spot). There was a little bit of trial and error with that method, but after a while, I got the hang of it and think it worked out pretty well when I was editing.
I was sure to match the song up with the video while I was editing and muted the raw audio from the video so that when I brought in the song, it sounded more full and immersive. I think it's a beautiful song and adds to the emotion of the video.
At the end, she reappears in a black dress and leaves the house. In my head, it was like she was leaving to go to a funeral or some type of service. It's a morbid thought (I honestly don't know where any of these ideas came from), but I think it works out in the video. The last line of the song says, "and now it's time to die" and that happens right as she is putting on her coat and turning off the light to leave.
I tried to match my choreography with the music so that the song helped add to the storytelling component of the video. I think it worked out in the end and I am happy with it even though it took a couple of different ideas to get me going!
Before completing the project, I had completed a 360 video tutorial on Lynda that talked about camera placement in 360 video. I tried to use some of the lessons learned from that to help me in this project so that there was enough movement in each scene and it made sense. Watching the tutorial definitely made me think more about the camera's location and how my movement would affect where the viewer looks.
In the end, I think it all went well and I am happy that I got to experience something new and exciting this semester. I'm not sure if VR is in my future, but it was definitely cool to learn about it and to create my own immersive experiences to share with others!