Virtual reality storytelling can feel like magic, but they also ask a lot of their audiences before they even begin: viewers have to buy expensive hardware or at least hold a phone in front of their faces. How can creators reward those who want that rich experience while not losing casual visitors?
We'll dissect how The Wall Street Journal, partnering with the VR documentarians at Scenic, built a story that aimed to engage on every platform: from an interactive VR version to a story printed in the newspaper. The story is called "The Fastest Ride," and it chronicles Denise Mueller's journey after an unusual goal: to set the land speed record on a bicycle. Hurtling at speeds well over 100 miles per hour offered a jaw-dropping subject to build a rich multimedia storytelling experience.
ABOUT JARRAD COLE Jarrard Cole is an Emmy-nominated virtual reality filmmaker and VP of content at Scenic, a documentary VR studio. Previously he was an Executive Producer at The Wall Street Journal, working on special projects and digital features across sections of the paper. He's reported around the world, from Tokyo to Beirut to the cornfields of Iowa.
For much of his time at the WSJ, Jarrard worked on the intersection of technology and video. He wrote, directed and produced the Journal's first ever interactive video. More recently he launched the paper's first interactive virtual reality videos, helped build the Journal's Daydream virtual reality app, and led the integration of virtual reality into WSJ's flagship news app.
Jarrard attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied history and creative writing. He spends most of his free time rebooting headsets and stressing over his Instagram feed.