YouTube ramps 360-degree video with 'Spotlight Stories'

A screengrab from Special Delivery, a 360-degree animation video by YouTube.
A screengrab from Special Delivery, a 360-degree animation video by YouTube. PHOTO: YOUTUBE SCREENGRAB

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - YouTube on Tuesday (Dec 22) added interactive, 360-degree animation video to its line-up, with help from the makers of "Wallace and Gromit." Dubbed "Spotlight Stories," the new feature will be viewable on the YouTube app of an array of Android-powered smartphones.

Showcasing the technology was a Santa-themed short film from Academy Award-winning studio Aardman Animations, entitled "Special Delivery." The animated short centers on a building custodian trying to find a "mysterious stranger" who remains just out of sight but leaves behind a trail of gifts.

Designed by Google as a new form of storytelling, the immersive films allow users to drill down into sub-stories within their plot by moving their phone towards what they want to see.

"The sensors on your phone allow the story to be interactive, so when you move your phone to various scenes, you unlock mini-stories within the story," technical project lead Rachid El Guerrab said in a blog post.

"Special Delivery" features 10 subplots and three potential endings.

Google Spotlight Stories will be expanded next year to more Android devices as well as a YouTube application for mobile devices powered by Apple software, Mr El Guerrab said.