360-Degree Interactive Video: Where Did I Begin? – Britney Cole

Britney Cole is a speaker at this year’s Learning Solutions Conference and Expo. In this guest post she talks about the beginning of her journey with using 360-Degree interactive video. 


I didn’t plan to get into 360-degree video. It started with that all-too-familiar request – “I need updates to an old eLearning course. Can you do it quick?” After reviewing the Flash eLearning module of a tour of a data center that was full of custom 3D objects, I realized that it wasn’t updates – it was an overhaul!  The depictions of the equipment – which were beautifully done in 3D – were outdated and most needed to be recreated or removed. There was new equipment. And there were no source files to be found. So, it wasn’t really an update, but a completely new (and expensive) request!

Shortly before this request, one of my peers purchased our first 360-degree camera (an InstaPro 360, if you’re curious), and started an internal test pilot on how to best use it and the level of effort to build out into a simple 360-degree experience.

So, instead of coming back to the request with an expensive and unrealistic solution of building a 3D data center – that was surely to change again – I recommended creating a more immersive, relevant, innovative, and inexpensive solution with 360-degree video. And that’s how it started!

Before even getting into the logistics of 360-degree video planning and shooting, we started with what we had – the storyboard of the old course (that we had to recreate…remember, no source files!). We reviewed each equipment asset with Subject Matter Experts and identified was wrong and what was missing. Once we agreed on the equipment that was in the data center and wrote clear and simple descriptions, we started planning.

One SME took pictures inside a “good” data center so we knew what we were getting into. And, conveniently, that “good” data center was in the exact same place where the video camera happened to be. Win-win! We had three team members onsite – the person who knew how to use the camera, someone to help him, and then the “Creative Director” who had a good handle on the content. They took a day to plan the shoot and made a spreadsheet to ensure they covered all the equipment and matched the equipment with the filming location so nothing was lost. Day Two was then all about filming – we even livestreamed the progress.

There were lots of lessons learned, but like most of my work in L&D – it was a beautiful accident of a great use case for 360-video!


Want to see how this project turned out and how it was built? Join Britney Cole and Tom Pizer at their Learning Solutions session Seeing into the Unseen: Using Interactive 360 Video to Explore a Data Center on Tuesday, March 26 from 10:45-11:45am.


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