Emerging Technologies in Storytelling
Is there a new way to tell stories?
Stories are a steadfast part of life. They live within every song, book, video, and interaction we have with one another. However, changes in technology might also change how we tell our stories.
Alexa Barnes, Innovation Project Manager at UNC-Chapel Hill, highlights several different ways that the field of storytelling might change. Most notably are the 360-degree camera, virtual reality, augmented reality, and robot assistants.
If so, what are they?
A 360-degree camera offers a unique point of view and the opportunity to be immersed in completely new experiences. Barnes finds that this style of filming is best when there is a lot of action happening on all sides or combined with spatial audio. Barnes also mentions that while 360-degree cameras allow you to be “placed in someone else’s shoes” there are still a few difficulties shooting with the cameras. Most amusing of these issues are trying to find a place to hide after you hit record or trying to blend in because unlike a traditional camera where you are behind the viewfinder, you could easily end up in the shot.
Virtual reality (VR) offers the viewer an opportunity to be immersed in a digital reality. Unlike 360-degree filming, you can move around in the space and interact with the virtual elements around you. Personally, I was able to see and use a lot of VR when I was in Seoul, South Korea. It is truly a unique way to gain a new perspective but is also a little cumbersome to use and not as natural as it could be. ( Cool fact: Even prisoners are finding uses for VR to gain necessary life experiences. )
Augmented reality (AR) is more popular than VR and offers a more integrated experience. A popular example is Pokemon Go, which took the world by storm. Rather than wearing a headset and googles to create a whole new reality like with VR, AR allows you to utilize tools you already have to improve upon your existing experiences. For example, you could use your phone, download certain apps, and hold the camera up to different objects and the app will alter what you see on your phone. Personally, I think this is the coolest way to integrate storytelling with reality.
Robot Camera Assistant
The robot assistant will help create smoother or difficult shots with ease. Nowadays, camera crews use expensive rigs to ensure their cameras have stable movement and expensive drones to get impossible aerial shots. But with robots like “
What does this mean for the future?
These are fairly crazy ways the world of storytelling and journalism might change in the future. For the purpose of my own micro-documentary “Life Unwritten,” I think it was best told using traditional methods. Which brings me to an important point: with the evolution of these technologies we must use our tools to best serve the purpose of the story. Therefore, whether we use an Olympus camera from 1980 or a semi-automated robot to capture and tell our stories, as long as we find balance in how we use our tools, the future of storytelling will truly be amazing.