Over the past few years, we have seen many amazing VR video experiences come to life. Chris Bobotis highlighted some of them earlier this year at SXSW. He also raised an interesting question: “how do we […] empower even more creators, artists and filmmakers to execute their creative ideas in the immersive medium on a mass scale?”
One such solution is Fader, a 360º platform that allows content creators to experiment with 360º storytelling in an easy and fast way.
We believe that the lower the technical entry barriers the better. The quicker creators can produce 360º experiences the sooner they can gain more insights and improve their immersive storytelling skills.
That’s why Fader makes it possible to build a 360º story in three steps:
- Upload your own 360º content (videos and images) and/or select 360º media from our 360º library.
- Create as many 360º scenes as you like and add your 360º content to these scenes.
- Add even further layers of information to these scenes, e.g. text, 2D videos and audios, sound or even interactive hotspots, and publish your story as a web-based experience.
360º Journalism, Built with Fader
Fader can be used to produce all kinds of 360º stories.
France-based Euronews has created some amazing 360º stories on Fader. One example is about landmines plaguing the Ukraine. It touches on such a serious issue and the story is turned into an informative 360º experience where viewers can learn more about the challenges on site:
Germany-based Deutsche Welle is using Fader for its 360º stories. For example, they go to architects’ houses and show how they choose to live:
Also, Deutsche Welle came up with a series called “Berlin Planet” in which they present 50 portraits of Berliners from around the globe for whom the German capital has become home. Embedded 360º Fader stories offer access to their restaurants and/or stores.
Last but not least, Fader has become a 360º experimental platform for individual journalists and filmmakers who are eager to produce immersive stories in an easy and fast way – be it about portraits of people living in Copenhagen, impressions of Israel, or life along the Wales Coastline. Fader is suited for creators who are just starting out in this field, who have little time and almost no budget.
Making 360º Stories with Fader
You can always go to the tutorials section on the Fader website, but let’s look at how you can produce your first Fader story in a few simple steps:
Let’s assume you already uploaded your 360º content to Fader and you are back in your first scene. All you have to do is pick the type of media you’d like to include in your first scene. It can be anything (and a combination of): 360º images/photos, 2D flat images/photos, sound, text and interactive hotspots.
We are going to pick 360º and we see three 360º pictures we uploaded to this story. Click on one of the pictures.
You will now see the 360º image in your first scene and you have some options for that image. You can rotate it (e.g. if you want to make sure that the user will look at a specific angle at the beginning) and you can also remove it again to pick something else.
When you are happy with your first scene, click on the plus sign at the bottom left of the site and create your second scene.
Now you are in your second scene and you basically repeat what you’ve done in your first scene.
You choose another 360º image and include that into your second scene by clicking on it.
At the very bottom, there are even further features for your scene.
For example, if you have any videos in your current scene, you can play them. Also, you can name the scene (this makes sense if you are planning to create many scenes).
Also, you can define the duration of the scene in seconds, if you have images. As soon as there are videos in your scene, the duration of the scene will be determined by the duration of the video.
At last, you can “Allow jumps to” – this will create a navigation in your player for your viewers.
Again, you click on another scene and you can add content. These scenes can be switched around (try it by dragging one scene over another), deleted etc. Since Fader is web-based, you can add/change your story even after you published it.
Once you feel like you added enough scenes, you can either preview your story or publish it right away.
And if you have any further questions, there is a blue Intercom sign at the bottom right of each of our pages – drop us a question and we will answer them as soon as possible.
You can also download our production guide for further information on 360º storytelling.
Publishing Stories with Fader
The future of the VR hardware market is still unknown, so WebVR is the name of the game because it makes it possible to experience VR in your browser. “The goal is to make it easier for everyone to get into VR experiences, no matter what device you have.”
Because WebVR is device-agnostic, it also works with all of the most prominent headsets, including the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Playstation VR. There is no need to install an extra app or buy a specific headset.
Fader uses WebVR, all 360º stories built on the platform are basically available for any device–now or in the future. Here is a tutorial on the publishing process which shows you how easy it actually is:
Firstly, click on share at the top right.
Now, there are two options:
- Share on Fader Discover for others to search for it and watch it.
- Share privately. That means, you can send the link to your colleagues/friends and they can watch the story without it being shown on Fader Discover.
Both options allow you to use the iframe option which means you can embed your Fader story to your own website.
Extra perk: During this stage, you can still change the title of your story and when you click on the thumbnail, you can even change your thumbnail picture.
Since Fader is a web-based platform, you can always change your sharing options. Once it is public, you can turn it back into private mode and vice versa. Fader is super flexible in that way. Also, you can share/add/delete scenes even after the story had been published. No more exporting and uploading videos.
Increasing Engagement, Interaction with Fader
Immersive storytelling comes with many perks: By inviting viewers to virtual tours and by granting them access to places they have never been to, immersive storytelling can add a lot of value to your stories.
“A key challenge immersive journalists face is to adapt the mission at the heart of journalism, informing and serving the public […] and do it in an engaging way,” said Thomas Seymat, ex-RJI fellow working for Euronews and Journalism360 ambassador.
With Fader, it’s possible to build interactive 360º stories to increase engagement and interactivity. “With Fader, we build stories where the user is in control, stories where you only progress to the next scene when you click a hotspot,” pointed out Ole Krogsgaard, former immersive journalism editor at Euronews.
Here is a tutorial on how to turn your 360º story into an interactive experience with Fader:
Interactive hotspots allow viewers to decide: which way to go, which next scene they might be interested in, which next protagonist they want to see more about.
Interactive hotspots allow content creators to break away from linear storytelling and create interactive, highly immersive Fader stories for viewers to watch.
As a creator, it is super simple to add hotspots to your stories.
Log in and add a new story.
You go to your editor and start creating your story with different scenes.
Now you go to the scene you want to add a hotspot to and click on interactive.
Select the picture you want your hotspots to look like.
You can re-position your hotspots, make it smaller or larger, whatever you like.
When you scroll down, you can select the scene, your hotspot will lead to.
Select the next scene.
You can add multiple hotspots into one scene.
Some examples of why and how you could include hotspots:
1. Picking a story within your story
2. Moving to the next scene on viewer’s terms
3. Using hotspots as a menu for stories to start.
Fader: The Bottom Line
Immersive content creators need to continue to experiment with storytelling techniques. Fader is one tool in their toolbox to do just that. All you have to do is sign up and start creating.