A 360 video featuring music from a two-person band in New York recently debuted showcasing an interesting experiment in panoramic content — a kind of choose-your-own adventure game.
The experience is called Rust Golem from Ghost & Goblin. According to the makers, Nicholas DiMichele and Spencer Synwolt, the web-based video was shot two years ago and features a lot of shaky simulated movement. So if you try it in a VR headset make sure you have a strong resistance to simulator sickness. It’s viewable on a traditional monitor as well. You need a fast Internet connection and a recent computer to stream the footage. I found my older laptop lagging a bit.
The video is essentially a chase through an underground maze and at different points in the story where you look is a choice that unlocks different sections of the video, with six different possible endings. The different scenarios provide a reason to watch the video more than once. Plus, the music is certainly cool — a mashup of a spooky Halloween album with a retro video game.
Producing this kind of project is extremely challenging and requires many different and sometimes experimental disciplines to execute effectively. The video is an interesting experiment in the same category as ManSlaughter, which featured four simultaneous scenes playing out in quadrants surrounding you. To piece together the story you might have to watch the video several times.
With big time players like Apple and the New York Times beginning to experiment with 360 videos, this project’s limited but effective interactivity offers another example of what’s possible with panoramic video footage in VR. It’s also worth noting the work of WEVR, which recently hired VR pioneer Tony Parisi to work on a 360 video player that allows for basic interaction to access more story. I hope we’ll see more interactive 360 videos like Rust Golem — with cool music and stylized visuals — produced from footage shot by a more recent camera like the Ozo from Nokia or Jaunt’s most recent system.