Futures Lab Update #134: Delivering News With VR, Apple Watch

    by Reuben Stern
    January 7, 2016
    Immersive 360-degree content is part of what makes virtual reality journalism so compelling, but involves its own complications. Screenshot courtesy of RJI.

    This week we look at capturing and delivering immersive virtual reality content and we get some tips on tailoring news for the Apple Watch.

    "For us, the ideal scenario is if news is breaking near you, you can go and see it on your watch; you can see what it is. If not, you can tip us from it." -- Cory Bergman, co-founder and general manager, Breaking News

    PART 1: Creating VR content

    As more news organizations jump into immersive virtual reality storytelling, we highlight a few options for putting the finished material online and explore some of the complications of creating immersive VR content.
    Reporting by Andrew Hébert.


    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    A few options for viewing and uploading immersive VR content:

    • Littlstar hosts immersive 360-degree content from major media brands like Showtime, Disney, Discovery, PBS, etc. for viewing on its website and across a variety of devices via its proprietary apps. The companylaunched an Apple TV app in December that enables users to watch 360-degree video on a television and use the Siri Remote to rotate the view. Content from Littlstar also can be incorporated into other companies’ apps or websites.
    • Jaunt offers an integrated VR system that includes camera equipment, image processing and editing tools and a cross-platform viewer that can display content on the Oculus Rift and in apps for Android and iOS.
    • ShrimpEyes, based in Germany, hosts 360-degree, 3-D and virtual reality media content for playback on any devices or headsets with a working Web browser. Other details are explained in the site’s Q&A.
    • Vrideo enables viewing and uploading of “immersive video,” which founder and CEO Alex Rosenfeldexplains “isn’t always fully 360° or spherical, and while it’s best experienced in virtual reality, it can also be experienced on the Web and on mobile devices.” The Vrideo support page includes troubleshooting tips for uploading videos and for viewing them on various VR headsets.
    • YouTube began enabling users to upload 360-degree video last year. Files need to be processed to include necessary metadata. Processing of the file upon upload can take as long as an hour. Instructions can be found here.

    PART 2: News for the Apple Watch

    Among the first news outlets to optimize a mobile app for the Apple Watch was NBC News Digital Network’sBreaking News. We sat down with co-founder and General Manager Cory Bergman to get some insight into the possibilities offered by the wearable platform.
    Reporting by Adam Pressler, Reuben Stern and Rachel Wise.


    [To skip directly to this segment in YouTube, click here.]

    Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.


    The Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the iPad app to watch the show wherever you go. You can also sign up to receive email notification of each new episode.

    Tagged: apple watch breaking news futures lab rji storytelling storyup vr video vr wearables

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