#SXSW2017: Visual Storytelling Within Reach

Virtual reality is everywhere you look at SXSW—from VR panels and brand activations to the exhibition hall. NASA brings you to the surface of Mars, Facebook showcases 360 videos and the WeDC House takes you on a bike tour of the city. 

For many consumers—and brands—a robust VR experience may not be an accessible, or logical, platform just yet. Video, however, is readily available to any brand to help take storytelling and customer engagement to a new level. 

In a panel on social video and the future of consumption, New York Times reporter Deborah Acosta, VICE’s Adam Banicki and Vox’s Joe Posner made the case for journalists and brands alike to pick up a camera—or smartphone. Posner noted that social video platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have shifted expectations in quality. Audiences put a premium on interesting stories, unique access and points of view in exchange for high quality video production techniques. 

At the New York Times, Acosta noted that live video reporting bring the audience closer to the story. The final piece often incorporates viewer comments that helps the story reach higher truths. 

All three panelists agreed that Facebook is the main stage for video at the moment, while Snapchat is used to connect with new (primarily younger) audiences. Facebook is an incredible opportunity to test both owned and paid content and find new ways to connect with audiences. Pro tip: square video tends to perform best on the platform. 

The bottom line is that you don’t need expensive VR or even expert production skills to get your message out there. Anyone can shoot video that resonates with their brand’s audience. Take it from VICE Senior Producer Banicki: “If you’re already a good storyteller, you just need to learn to think visually.” 

For more insights from our time at SXSW, check out our digital hub for live updates.

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