YouTube and Aardman have teamed up to launch a new 360-degree video format, which Google has dubbed “Spotlight Stories”.
The new, festive short film builds upon a year of technical innovation from the streaming site, which has introduced both 360-degree support and virtual reality features – both big steps in placing YouTube ahead of its increasingly fierce competition.
Spotlight Stories take those features to create an interactive format that uses the sensors on your phone – the gyroscope and accelerometer – so that when you move your phone to various scenes, you unlock mini-stories within the video. Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group have developed several of these before, but the partnership with Aardman marks YouTube’s plan to make them a more mainstream form of content on the site.
The animated short, called Special Delivery, follows a humble caretaker, who is surprised when a mysterious stranger causes mischief on the roof. He investigates, but can’t seem to catch even a glimpse of the troublemaker, who leaves behind a trail of gifts. If he can’t catch a glimpse, though, we can – by spinning around your phone, you can watch any part of the story you like. In fact, there are 10 subplots to view, three different ways to see the ending and more than 60 moments where you can choose to follow the story in different ways.
At present, the full experience is only compatible with select Android phones – but YouTube has also released a 360-degree version for those with other Android and iOS devices can also watch the video. It also works with Google Cardboard.
More Spotlight Stories will be released in the coming year by YouTube, while support will be rolled out to all Android devices and the YouTube iOS app.