Definition Of Terms

360 Video

'360 Degree Video'. '360° Video' or just '360 video'.

A general term for video, edited or just one shot, that gets projected on a full or partial sphere around centered on the viewer's head.

This sphere may by literal, as with curved projection surfaces, or may be represented in space through a moveable viewport. A screen or headset that uses motion tracking (accelerometers, usually) to move the image shown such that it reflects the shows the appropriate part of the screen.

Spherical Video

Roughly interchangeable with 360° video, but I use spherical video when I need to clearly refer to the thing, the medium of video-around-a-viewer specifically. The video reel vs a film watching experience. Spherical video is not an experience or production effort or playback device.

VR video

Many 360 videos have been marketed as "VR experiences" or simply "VR". VR stands for "Virtual Reality". I do not consider the goals of immersive storytelling to be symbolically in-line with those of virtual reality, which is why I consider the conflation of terms to be not only needlessly confusing but potentially detrimental to general perception and expectations of the medium of 360 video.

This is why I have avoided using the term VR video in this thesis. Yet, the term is popular.

Equirectangular Video

Equirectangular refers to a 2:1 video file that is stored as a rectangle but projected around a sphere. This makes it 'spherical video'. Equirectangular is the term for the projection technique. This term will be used when talking about the video file specifically, as will 'spherical video', but this term will be used when dealing with issues that stem from the projection process.

Otherwise, 'spherical video' will be used.


I go into detail about this later, in the section on engaging the audience.

Someone is engaged with something when they are asking themselves questions and seeking answers about or within that something.

Engagement, as used here, stems from caring.

Engagement, Engrossment, and High/Total Immersion

VR practitioners have been using the term 'engrossment' to refer to when a user or player has completely tuned out their local environment, and Total Immersion to refer to when they believe in the new environment.

360 video isn't really trying to do this, so I avoid the terms engrossment and total immersion and stick to engagement, which I define and use on my own terms.