Using 360 Virtual Reality To Make Videos Interactive
Cocktail how-to videos aren’t exactly a groundbreaking way to promote a mixologist or the bar where they work. It’s a stagnant, standard formula: a static frame around the bartender, shot from the waist up, watching a drink be assembled ingredient by ingredient. We decided to break the mold with our cocktail how-to series focused on Becci, the star drink-slinger at Autre Monde in Berwyn, Illinois, whose fun, outgoing personality can’t be tamed. As big-time fans of 360 video and the many creative ways filmmakers can use it, we leapt at the opportunity to turn the standard how-to on its head with interactive film and content.
“Cocktails with Becci” Q&A with Brett Singer
What was the vision and inspiration behind the “Cocktails with Becci” series?
We made this series during our early days of experimenting with 360 video production. We wanted to create a series of videos that was fun, interesting and educational, and really see how much we could do with this new medium. Weeks before we decided to make the videos I had sat in nearly in that exact same seat at the bar, watching Becci mix up a delicious Sazerac for me, and thought, this is kind of a cool moment. Maybe it’s worth exploring.
How did you come up with the idea to use interactive 360 video technology for this series, and how does it take this series beyond the standard “bartender how-to” archetype?
As a 360 video creator, you’re always thinking about projects and ideas that would benefit from this new medium. I like watching smart, creative people do their craft. I think there’s magic there. I don’t care if you’re an artist, a gaffer, a plumber, or a bartender—I like watching people do physical jobs well. They make it look easy. But most how-to videos don’t capture that whole experience of seeing someone flex their muscle inside their creative spaces. Watching Becci mix ingredients is interesting, but to also capture how at ease she feels in this environment, and what it feels like to watch her do her thing from a perch on a barstool, paints a much better picture of how I felt that first day sitting at her bar. And, you get to learn how to make a drink, too!
What elements contributed to the effectiveness of the storytelling?
I think Becci is the most effective storytelling element. She’s a wildly experienced bartender who teaches classes on mixology and is effortless in front of the camera. I’ve sat for hours just watching her work and it’s incredible. Her work is complex, and fast, and she does it with grace. She’s the best.
I also think adding the second close-up camera is a cool detail. In 360 you often want to lean in, or zoom into moments, and you can’t. This technique allowed us to use both the 360 space and a close-up camera to stitch together a truly immersive experience.
How do you think your approach to this video helped to capture the unique elements of Becci’s personal style and the Autre Monde brand?
Any video with only one person in it will obviously, for better or worse, highlight their personality and put a spotlight literally and figuratively on them. Becci has a huge personality and a massive smile. For the most part we just got out of her way because we knew she’d knock it out of the park.
Did any obstacles come up while making this video? If so, how did you work around them?
Honestly, no. It was smooth sailing and happened so fast (we did one take per video) that we should have planned better and done 6-10 videos. But we literally shot them all in about 30 minutes.
What was your favorite part of the project and why?
The feedback we’ve gotten from the videos has been great. Super positive, and everyone seems to enjoy them. So, that’s always good. Plus we got to do some great day drinking.
Do you have a favorite cocktail from Becci’s series?
I’m a whiskey drinker, and I like a classic, well made Old Fashioned, with great bourbon.