Ready, Set, 360°!

While it may be difficult to comprehend, entertainment consumes a large portion of Americans’ lives.

In 2016, Americans were consuming entertainment media (viewing television, the Internet, mobile apps, etc.) for 10 hours and 39 minutes per day (Koblin, 2016). Therefore, the average American was consuming 306,315.3 hours of entertainment programming in their lifetime (44.3 percent of the average life expectancy calculated at 78.8 years) (Stein, 2016).

How many hours of entertainment have you consumed today?

When you stop to think how many times you have looked at your social media, personal email, or YouTube, it’s not such a stretch to see how many Americans accumulate 10 hours and 39 minutes of entertainment consumption in a day. Internet content is expected to consist of 82 percent of video traffic by 2020, which will also significantly increase the time spent by Americans consuming entertainment yearly (Cisco Visual Networking Index, 2016).

Particularly in the agricultural industry, where less than 2 percent of the nation’s population identifies as a farmer, communication and public relations efforts will rely on messages delivered via entertainment media. Due to the large number of non-farmers in the United States, it is essential for the agricultural industry to utilize transparency in their communication strategies as well as keep up with emerging entertainment trends. Millennials are considered the driving force behind many of the current food trends. They are also the first generation to grow up with the internet, and they desire transparent communications about agriculture and their food (G. Johnson, 2016).

One way to have transparency in communications is the use of virtual reality. Virtual reality (VR) seems like it is something out of a futuristic movie, like Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One (2018). However, the future of VR technology is already available and is gaining popularity with educational institutions through the implementation of virtual field trips.

VR is a concept that encompasses several kinds of immersive media that is typically viewed by wearing a headset. The two main components of VR media are 360° videos and augmented reality (AR). The 360° videos are able to provide viewers with an interactive view of the scene.  AR is where the viewer has a live view of what is around them, but has additional computer generated (CG) graphics or audio incorporated over the live view.

As a Millennial, a farmer, an agricultural communicator, and an Extension Educator, I love the opportunity to share educational information via videos. I believe one way to have true transparency of video messages is through the use of 360° video. This allows the viewer to have the full picture – there’s nothing cropped or hidden from view. Viewers of 360° videos are able to have a true virtual experience of the scene they are viewing.

I have had the opportunity to use two 360° video cameras to create several videos for upcoming projects. At the Highland County Fair, September 1-8, 2018, I will be demonstrating VR videos. The video shown below is a 360° video highlighting aerial application of fungicide, the Fallsville Wildlife Area waterfall, my cat (Mr. Socks), and the Hillsboro 4th of July Fireworks finale. If you are viewing the video on a computer, use the circular toggle on the upper left corner to change the perspective of the video. If you are using a mobile device, move your phone around to change the view or use your fingers to drag the screen in multiple directions. The best way to view a 360° video is with a VR headset. If you have access to a VR headset, use the split-screen function to view the video for the optimal experience.

Here are some tips for making your own VR videos:

  • Have a good, stable tripod.
  • Be close to the action of the scene, as there is currently no zoom function on 360° cameras.
  • Remember to bring your camera charger if you are planning on a long video shoot.
  • If you are filming in a windy area, utilize a secondary audio source.
  • Use SD cards that have large amounts of available space because the file sizes of high definition 360° videos are large.
  • Allow for more time to edit 360° video content. The GoPro Fusion camera requires two SD cards and needs additional time to render.

If you are interested in viewing more 360° videos, there are an increasing number of 360° videos online. The New York Times has a channel called the Daily 360, National Geographic made the first 360° video in space with the help of astronaut Paolo Nespoli, and Google offers Google Expeditions. You can also find other 360° videos on YouTube.

Individuals attending the Highland County Fair this year will have the opportunity to view a different video with a VR headset. The video shown at the fair will highlight agricultural production and the Highland County community. For more information about 360° video production or when the video will be available at the Highland County Fair, contact Brooke Beam at beam.49@osu.edu or at 937-393-1918.

References:

Cisco Visual Networking Index. (2016, June 1). White paper: Cisco VNI Forecast and Methodology, 2015-2020. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from Cisco: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual networkingindex-vni/complete-white-paper-c11-481360.html

Drake, N. (2018, April 16). Exclusive: How We Made the First 3-D Virtual Reality Video in Space. National Geographic. Retrieved from https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/04/making-first-360-video-space-nespoli-one-strange-rock-science/

Johnson, G. (2016a, February). Food Trends: Consumers Want Healthy, Local Foods. Successful  Farming.

Koblin, J. (2016b, June 8). Netflix Studied Your Binge-Watching Habit. That Didn’t Take Long. Retrieved May 12, 2017, from The New York Times:    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/09/business/media/netflix-studied-your-bingewatching-habit-it-didnt-take-long.html

Lei, J. (2017, July 19). Adventures abound: Explore Google Expeditions on your own. Google Blogs. Retrieved from https://www.blog.google/products/expeditions/adventures-abound -explore-google-expeditions-your-own/

Spielberg, S. (2018). Ready Player One [Motion Picture].

Stein, R. (2016, December 8). Life Expectancy in U.S. Drops For First Time In Decades, Report  Finds. Retrieved May 14, 2017, from NPR: http://www.npr.org/sections/health     shots/2016/12/08/504667607/life-expectancy in-u-s-drops-for-first-time-in-decadesreport-finds

The New York Times. (2018). The Daily 360. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/video/the-daily-360


Brooke Beam is a County Extension Educator, Highland County.

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