360-degree video for climate disasters
In September I went to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. I spent 10 days working hand by hand with other AP journalists, photographers and videographers as the only 360-producer. Over my shoulders I had the responsibility to produce an average of one or two 360-video story par day. I worked using a Samsung (2016) 360-camera, a monopod, a lab mic and Mac Book Pro. I mostly shot during the day and edit at dusk.
Adding journalistic value with 360-degree video
During natural or climate disasters a 360-degree camera becomes a great tool to portray the magnitude of these catastrophes, the camera allows us to see without framing, as “we were there”. And this is a unique and key advantage of this technology.
As we all know, journalism is not only about seeing, but also about understanding what we see. In this case, beyond the disaster we also needed to bring new details, evidences, facts and stories to the table. Journalism is key in democratic societies, which are based in the right to have (reliable) information.
For me, one of the most relevant pieces we did during Harvey’s aftermath was the one about toxic Superfund sites. This piece came together because Jason Dearen and Michael Bieseckher had done previously a FOIA request and had prepared a map of all the Superfund sites in Texas. With the 360-degree camera we were able to probe, even before the EPA visited these sites, that one of this locations was completely under water.
This collaboration between investigative journalists and a 360-producer shows for me the potential of 360-degree video for journalism or advocacy projects. Collaboration is the key to bring these kind of stories and evidences to the table, when people from different backgrounds collaborate we can truly add value to our journalism:
Other links worth checking:
Lauren Easton from AP wrote this piece about AP 360-degree coverage.
And here a playlist with all the videos we produced during Harvey and Irma (Scott Mayerowitz, Trenton Daniel and me).