Google Spotlight’s Heart-Warming ‘Pearl’ is One of the Best YouTube 360 Videos Yet

by Jamie Feltham • May 23rd, 2016

YouTube’s 360 videos usually bring us to exotic locations and get up close with sports stars and wildlife. Pearl is something completely different.

Trust us; you’ll want to give this short animated film directed by Patrick Osborne a look. It’s a new entry into the Google Spotlight Story series, which highlights the potential of 360 storytelling. It’s a heartfelt piece in which we follow a young girl’s journey through life from the passenger seat of a car first owned by her father and then passed down onto her.

It’s a short but sweet piece; beautifully animated with a touching soundtrack to complement a relatable story that’s akin to a short you might see ahead of a Disney film. That’s hardly surprising; Osborne directed 2014’s Feast, a charming piece that debuted in front of Big Hero 6. Pearl‘s car seat perspective makes perfect sense for a cinematic VR experience, letting you feel as if you’re a part of the family as you travel through the sun and snow, visiting times both good and bad for this close-knit father and daughter.

To view it within VR, you’ll need to boot up the YouTube app on either Android or iOS, or download the Google Spotlight Stories app for the latter. You can then hit a Google Cardboard icon, insert your phone into a mobile-based HMD and enjoy the video in a truly immersive way.

If you like what you see then there’s plenty more to enjoy from this division of Google. Excitingly, it’s just the start of the company’s plans for the tech. Last week’s I/O developer conference saw Google make huge strides into the world of VR, announcing its Daydream VR platform which consists of a set of high-powered smartphones, reference-checked software and a full mobile VR ecosystem supported by motion controls. A part of this ecosystem will be a new YouTube VR app, so there’ll soon be another way to enjoy the Spotlight Series.

Until then, we look forward to what’s next from this unique creative studio. You can also get a look at how Pearl itself was put together with the Behind the Scenes video below.

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