The news channel CNA has implemented a 21st Century way of televised storytelling, and become the first in Southeast Asia to apply virtual reality in a TV documentary.
Two 360 movies, "A Date Gone Wrong" and "What I See" are additional narratives to a 5-part documentary series titled "Challenge Tomorrow". The documentary is, in and of itself, about some of the greatest challenges facing Singapore in the near future. Creating additional VR movies complemented this main idea, and presented the film crew with interesting, but not insurmountable challenges of their own.
"Producing in 360 was a wholly new experience," said producer Shanmuga Sundaram. "There were no rules or guidelines to follow. Discovering the best way to tell a story in VR was both daunting and exciting. It was a time of experimentation."
The first of its kind, the project lead to the discovery of new tasks, and solutions to getting them done. For example, with 360 filming, there is no way for the producer and crew to stay behind the camera – necessitating the creation of a new script. In one scene, there were 10 people involved in 8-minutes of non-stop action, something that has rarely been done before.
To enhance the experience, CNA engaged theatre actors and collaborated with students from Temasek Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic and MAGES Institute of Excellence.
For CNA, this 360 filming became a unique opportunity to enhance the viewer’s experience and provide "a sense of your presence", like you’re part of the environment", according to producer, Shanmuga Sundaram.
The TV series premiered on CNA from February 19 to March 26. It finished with an additional one-hour documentary "The Making of VR", telling about how these stories were made.
The 360 movies "A Date Gone Wrong" and "What I See" are available for viewing at 360 cinematic video library, chameleon-vr.com, for both Android and iPhone phones.