For news organisations looking to follow in the footsteps of publishers like the Guardian and New York Times, who have been experimenting with 360-degree video and virtual reality for some time, there are various tools and gadgets out there to help you get started.
However, newsrooms with smaller budgets without the time or expertise to put focus into this field can find producing and publishing 360-degree video to be a challenge.
New tool Fader aims to combat this, enabling reporters to turn their photos and videos into a 360-degree video story using a free online program in a matter of minutes.
The tool's creator, Berlin start-up Vragments, partnered up with Euronews and Deutsche Welle, hoping to create a tool that enables a single journalist to go out and shoot and edit all the content themselves.
But the platform is more advanced than simply stitching different pieces of content together. Fader allows journalists to add interactive hotspots into their piece, activated by the user looking at them, which takes them to another piece of content.
It's not true virtual reality of course, but with the user having more control over their experience, the piece becomes more engaging and immersive than standard 360-degree videos.
Check out the video above, where we talk you through the process step-by-step, using footage we shot at the last Mojo Meetup LDN event in London (16 August).
So, how does Fader work?
Get started by creating an account with your email address. Once you've verified it, you'll be able to log in and click the plus button to create a new project.
Once you've named your project, take a look at the black space across the screen – this is your canvas on which you'll lay your content. The front, back, left and right text on this grid shows you what your audience will see at the start of each scene, and when they turn their head.
Use the tool bar on the left to upload any 360-degree video or images, 2D video and photos, text and audio you want to use. Maximum size upload for video is 300mb, so be sure to compress it beforehand if you're working with larger files.
Your story is going to be made up of a series of scenes, usually with a different piece of content in each. Add as many scenes as you need for your video by clicking the plus icon on the top toolbar.
Choose the scene you want to edit and use the left hand toolbar to choose from the media you have just uploaded.
The icons on the toolbar indicate what you will be inserting into your scene. You'll notice that 2D video – which is illustrated by a piece of camera film – inserted onto the canvas under the 360 icon will be made spherical, but the same 2D video inserted under the 2D icon will appear as a rectangle on the screen.
Adding multiple 2D photos all around the canvas will allow you to create a spherical gallery in your video – you can position them where you like, and alter them by changing the size, distance, by rotating them or moving them around.
You can add as much 2D footage as you like to a single scene, so layer up the elements if you think it adds to the user experience. Note that you can't have multiple 360-degree videos playing at the same time, an element Vragments says they are working on.
Add and edit text in the same manner as you would a photo or video, and insert audio if you want background music or a voiceover. You'll notice that the icons go blue when you've added a piece of content in a specific format, be it video, images, text or audio.
Add interactive elements using the lower globe symbol on the toolbar. They will appear as circular pictures, which take the viewer to another scene of your choice.
Once you're finished creating your 360-degree story, preview your work before publishing to Twitter or Facebook. For now, it will appear as a link, but Vragments hopes to be able to improve the visual on your timelines, at least with a preview picture showing audiences what's in the story.
Further possible developments may lead to audiences being able to edit video content within the tool, and even using set templates which help them design the look and feel of their story.
Free daily newsletter
- App for journalists: Emulsio, for stabilising shaky camera footage
- How to record remote podcast interviews using the 'Simul Rec' technique
- Tip: A crash course in mojo filming
- Lessons from Italy: best practices for field reporting during the coronavirus lockdown
- Argentinian mobile journalism startup uses homemade Instagram filters to reinvent social storytelling