Our team was tasked with using our skills to assist a local community partner. We got in touch with Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County and discovered that they had a desire to use 360 video to showcase one of their new locations. Through talks and coordination with one of DVS’ community managers, our team began to develop a 360 experience to promote the organization’s cause.
As the liaison between our team and DVS contact, it was important that I get a clear idea of our client’s goals, desires, and pain points. I used our email correspondence to get a clearer idea of these factors, as well as set up in-person meetings. Our team visited a celebratory gathering at the main DVS office, getting to know several staff members, clients, and speakers. I used this opportunity to gather materials, take notes, and establish contacts that our team would call upon later. Through these different experiences and meetings I came to understand that DVS had two important goals. First, highlighting their current successes and congratulating people currently involved in their community efforts. Second, spreading awareness of their activities in order to prompt more community involvement and donations. With these two goals in mind, we began ideation.
One of the most important virtues that came out of our collaboration with DVS was privacy. DVS clients are often seeking shelter due to unsafe conditions and need to be protected. Filming people at a DVS facility would be difficult, if not ill-advised, because of the sensitivity of the situation. In addition, the nature of 360 video is to transform the viewer into a wandering observer. The strength of the medium is its ability to give viewers freedom, freedom to look around and take in the experience as they like. It was these qualities that informed my thought process in tieing the experience to environments, rather than specific people. After pitching this to the rest of the team, we prepared to collect footage/interviews.
Through talks with our contact, I scheduled a time for our team to visit the newly established DVS facility and shoot some footage. Walking the grounds and entering some of the different rooms was a humbling experience. Using a tripod and a Ricoh Theta camera, a teammate and I collected as many shots as possible. (These were later organized into a library for DVS to evaluate and use at their discretion).
After the shoot-day and spending time organizing the footage, I started an unorthodox storyboarding/editing process. I wrote a new flexible script that summarized different parts of the DVS facility, as well as promoted the value and graciousness of their work. Within a text document, I began coding and time stamping different footage along with parts of the script and quotes we had recorded from interviews. Using this document, one of our team members began to assemble the pieces of marked footage, pairing it with respective quotes and text versions of lines. Another teammate performed some fantastic voiceover, capturing the proud, calm tone that I’d hoped we could create. Our editor spent time composing the final pieces and after completing the work, I sent it on to our contact for evaluation.
After our contact checked the video for privacy concerns and gave the green light, our team arranged a presentation for several DVS staff. Seeing nods and smiling faces from the different workers and staff members, I could confirm that our video experience had accomplished at least one of the two goals our client had held. This project was one of my favorites to work on, largely because of the inspiring perspective and knowledge our community partner gave us.