By Katelyn Umholtz
Virtual reality may be new to the visual journalism world, but it has made quite a splash since its debut. Ken Harper, a photojournalist and professor at Syracuse University, said VR technology is the future of storytelling.
“From helping us to better understand the Ebola outbreak in Liberia to being in the middle of the Syrian civil war, VR journalistic storytelling is taking us to places we may have a hard time understanding,” Harper said. “It’s in its infancy but still very exciting.”
Harper, who has taken an interest in all things VR and runs a website called vrstorytelling.org, said part of the reason virtual reality technology has taken off as much as it has is due to large financial investments in the innovation from tech and gaming companies. But it also wouldn’t be where it is today without a compelling story to go with it.
“You can have the best technology in the world, but without a compelling story, technology will leave you disappointed,” Harper said.
To learn more about virtual reality, here are websites featuring VR news, tips and productions by fellow journalists.
Road To VR: This site is all about virtual reality news, and the content is comprehensive enough for amateurs and pros alike. roadtovr.com
Within: Having collaborated with The New York Times and United Nations to build big-time VR productions, this is a site to see. All of their films are featured on their website with.in.
Felix & Paul Studios: They may not have as many big names behind them yet, but what little they have to offer are great stories nonetheless. A few of them can even be viewed for free on Facebook 360. felixandpaul.com.
Jovrnalism: Coining themselves “jovrnalists,” this is no ordinary group of journalism students. This team, who has partnered with Los Angeles Times, posts not only their work, but also includes helpful video blogs on creating VR projects and information on the industry. vrjournalism.io
Ryot: A product of The Huffington Post, these VR stories go one step further. Along with a virtual reality video that can be watched on their website, they also package together pictures, graphics and written word to deliver story worth reading. ryot.huffingtonpost.com
Realities: Seeing the world just became a bit easier with Realities, which combines high-quality photography and VR technology that can be viewed for free (with the exception of the VR-compatible headset that has to be purchased). realities.io
TED: This TEDWomen clip may had been filmed in 2015, but VR expert Nonny de la Pena is still someone to learn from a year later. The “godmother of VR” discusses the future of news and how virtual reality plays a part in that. ted.com