Google has launched a new 360 Degree immersive storytelling channel on YouTube called Spotlight Stories. The channel’s first film is a holiday themed cartoon called Special Delivery which was created by Academy Award-winning animation studio Aardman Animations (Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep). The film is a vintage UDA style cartoon that features a handyman of an apartment who chases Santa around the courtyard and into various rooms.
These films are a completely new and innovative way to watch video because they include a whole new layer of interactivity. According to Google:
“This is not just 360 video. The story adapts to your watch pace and the action will wait for you to see it. You can follow many story lines and discover hidden easter eggs on the way. The sensors on your phone allow the story to be interactive; when you move your phone to various scenes, you are able to unlock mini-stories within the story. Look anywhere, follow individual characters, watch it over again and again on your phone or in Cardboard.”
The video plays in 360 on all devices, however if you want to use the Google Cardboard split screen feature for VR Headsets, you currently need to use an Android device. I was able to launch the split screen feature in both the Youtube app, as well as the YouTube browser feature using the Samsung Internet Browser in Gear VR. The quality in Gear VR was a bit blurry, but was a much more comfortable viewing experience than using Google Cardboard.
There is a website on Google ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects Group) for the new platform as well as a “Making of” Video on the channel from Aardman that goes into more details about the film.
This type of video was hinted at during the Google IO 2015 event and we are really excited to finally get to experience where this is going. Definitely looking forward to seeing more. Anime is going to be awesome!