#EMPJ Blog 6: Using VR

This week the City of New Orleans removed a statue of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, from the mid-city area where it stood for many years. The statue was removed under the cloak of darkness to minimize public outcry on both sides of the heated issue. The statue is the second of four monuments designated for removal within the city — deemed a public nuisance by the City Council late last year.

Our sister station in New Orleans, Fox 8, employed a number of storytelling techniques to bring viewers to the historic removal of an equally-as-historic monument. The station covered the hasty removal with several live reports from a reporter on the scene, a constantly updated article on the station’s website, live tweets, and also a live stream on Facebook Live (embedded above). I believe, however, a Virtual Reality experience would have been best suited for this type of coverage.

While the event, if covered in VR, would not be live it would still provide the viewer the most comprehensive coverage. A 360, VR experience could capture the removal of the statue as well as the crowd of protesters and supporters jeering and cheering down below the construction cranes. The story could also be annotated with the facts and figures in the article covering the event — think things like how old the statue is, how much it weights, who created it, when and why the council voted for the statue’s removal, and in-depth interviews with the supporters and protestors about why the statue meant so much to them. A depth camera could be used to give the user a more interactive approach to exploring this environment we create through the 360/VR video experience. Drones shooting 360 video could also be used to get a unique aerial perspective of the statue being taken down as well as the division in the crowd between supporters and protesters.

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