#EMPJ Blog 4: 360, 3D and practicality

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I consider myself to be an early adopter when it comes to most things in the social media, video, and technology space. But I’m also a bit of a skeptic. My unbridled curiosity is often checked by my practicality.  “How will this new technology disrupt my workflow? Will the technology allow me to work smarter instead of harder? Or become an additional burden to an already busy schedule? Will this new technology actually improve the user experience (in my case consumers/viewers)?” These are just some of the questions I ask myself when weighing the benefits of an emerging technology — 360 & 3D video are no different.

Like most technology, there’s a race to make 360 & 3D capture devices smaller and more user-friendly for both consumers and producers, but there is still a lot to be said for the laborious stitching processes required to make 360 & 3D viewable and the serious computing power needed to render the videos. As a broadcast journalist, there has been little movement to transform our TV content/traditional newscast into a live or recorded 360 or 3D viewing experience. However, our digital team has begun to experiment with producing 360 video for our digital properties. An example that comes top of mind is producing a 360 video for the grand re-opening of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY. These are the types of videos I would like to see more of.

kentucky-derby-143-logo-2017Personally, I believe 360 video works best capturing an experience where curiosity is the driver of the ‘story’ verses the transfer of information from one person to the next. For example, 360 video would be a better fit for experiencing Kentucky Derby 143 on the track at Churchill Downs than it would be for covering the latest homicide in Louisville that happened Friday afternoon.

Experiment: Whether a 360 live stream video of Kentucky Derby 143 from the track provides a better user experience than a series of static cameras positioned around the track to stream live coverage of the race.

Hypothesis: A 360 live stream video of Kentucky Derby 143 from the track would be a better, more immersive user experience than traditional live coverage using cameras positioned around the track.

Measuring Results: There are a couple of ways I could potentially measure results.

  1. The first way to measure results is to have two groups of people: one group that views the Derby in our 3D live stream from the track and the other group that views the Derby by watching our traditional coverage. I would then ask both groups a series of qualitative questions about their viewing experience that would be paired with quantitative ratings (1 to 5). Whichever gets the highest score would be dubbed the better of the two user experiences.
  2. The second method of measuring the results of the experiment is to show both versions of coverage to one group of people, one after the other. I could then asks the viewers which experience they preferred and the medium with the highest number of affirmative votes is dubbed the better of the experiences. Or there is the potential to still ask the viewers a series of qualitative questions that reflect a quantitative value and add the scores up to determine which the viewers enjoyed more.
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