September 9, 2016 Justin Chin

NOTES ON VR – 360 Shooting and Points of Interest


Points of Interest (POI) come up often, as they should, when starting a 360 VR shoot. As many have noted before me, guiding the viewer through a 360 experience is an storytelling opportunity. So I’m going to write down some notes I have on the subject here.

What this means by device:

  • HMDs – the viewer will turn their body/head to change their POV
  • PHONE – the viewer has choices (AKA window viewing)
    • viewer can change view by sliding their finger on screen
      AND OR
    • viewer can change view by physically spinning around turning their phone in full 360 (as if they’re taking a panoramic photo)

What this means philosophically in editorial:

  • Baseline, editorial is the same between devices.
  • At minimum you want to try and decide/assume what your main point of interest might be for:
    • beginning of shot
    • end of shot
  • With this notion you’ll want to cut from one point of interest at the end of one shot, to the one you’d like your viewer to see at the start of the next shot.

What this means while shooting:

  • Design your blocking with editorial in mind.
  • Do you want your character/point of interest to move from on side to another, then in your next shot start with another point of interest and go from there?
  • How much movement are you assuming you’d like your audience to perform
    • Is forward always forward
    • Do you want your audience to realign their forward as they view your piece?

Camera Moves:

  • Window viewing (without an HMD or Cardboard) is less nausea inducing with moving shots
  • Viewing with HMD’s will have higher likelihood of nausea with moving shots – depending on type of shot

By all means there’s plenty to talk about with this subject, and plenty of new ground to uncover. So you must make a “best guess” as to where the audience might be looking. 360 video is not a perfect medium to direct and audience’s attention. You must do it with the on screen subject matter.

Regardless, it’s a very exciting medium for storytelling. It’s not going to replace standard 2D/Flat storytelling any time soon, but it’s an interesting dive into how one might tell a story through the additional element of allowing the viewer to select what they focus on.