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Virtual Reality

Samsung’s ‘Pilot Season’ Showcases VR Storytelling

“The idea of telling an immersive story is what guided us,” says Shelby Ross, executive producer at Sibling Rivalry Studio. Ross was discussing “&Design,” an episodic virtual reality (VR) experience rooted in universal themes including death, love, play and the idea of self, created using the Samsung 360 Round camera.

The project took shape when Ross was approached by Paola Antonelli, a renowned architecture and design curator, to co-produce “&Design” in 360 video with her company, Curious Octopus. The first episode of their new series premiered as part of the Samsung launch of “Pilot Season,” an initiative tapping filmmakers to create original VR content. A select group of filmmakers used the 360 Round camera to film shows that will be distributed exclusively by the Samsung VR video service.

The “&Design” series travels across the globe from Australia to Japan to Germany and back to the U.S., telling an immersive story of art, artifacts and the artists behind them. In filming the series, the portability and unibody design of the 360 Round was an attractive feature for Ross, not only to simplify the team’s globe-hopping but also to make the most of shooting in VR. “The camera fits on any head, from a robot to a crane to a slider,” he says. “We believe the virtual world is best when we can add movement and perspective to the storytelling.”

For each episode, Ross says, “We wanted to make it feel less like something you were watching and more like something you were experiencing.” The lens capture and stitching abilities helped create that immersive feeling. Ross explains, “We were able to take the best moments captured by the lenses and then combine them into one single amazing moment.”

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Shooting in 360

The 360 Round comes with 17 lenses, including a top lens, to fully capture 360 settings. The rigid camera housing offers precise calibration, leading to higher stitching quality, and comes bundled with the Samsung Stitching Program. The program can extract video from each lens and weave it together seamlessly. The video can be previewed instantly to ensure filmmakers have captured exactly what they need. “On many other cameras, you have to individually adjust the lenses or the body, which can sometimes be knocked out of alignment. The 360 Round with its single housing and internally aligned lens system was a feature we really leaned into,” says Ross.

Unique camera features attract professional filmmakers, but the most important consideration is how you bring the story to life. “It’s not about technology, it’s not about format, it’s all about the story,” Ross says. “Immersive storytelling draws viewers in emotionally and takes people places they may never have the chance to go.”

This experience has already ignited a creative spark for Ross’ team. Sibling Rivalry Studio is already in development on a second series, also with a focus on storytelling through a mix of documentary, graphics and visual effects.

Having watched the creative possibilities emerge during the “&Design” series creation, Ross offers a prediction: “This is the future of storytelling — 360 video is the foundation for everything that’s going to come.”

Watch “Death&Design,” the first episode of the new series, for a glimpse at the future of storytelling told using the Samsung 360 Round VR camera.

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Ronda Swaney

Ronda Swaney is an award-winning B2B writer and ghostwriter. She writes exclusively about IT, technology and healthcare. Her love of storytelling paired with all things technical helps her write engaging content for clients, which range from Fortune 50 tech giants to up-and-coming SMBs. Writing credits include blog posts, magazine articles, eBooks, lead-generating books, case studies and white papers, as well as ghostwriting for top tech executives. Connect with Ronda on Twitter: @rondaswaney

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