What I want from immersive video and why that MLS highlight reel was not quite it

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

Jason Snell on Six Colors: Apple’s Immersive Video Problem

Now, having seen the video, I have a few more observations. The first is that I don’t think the new video is very good. Oh, sure, the individual shots can be impressive. […]

The problem is that, based on how Apple and MLS built the video, it’s not actually immersive.

As you might expect from the runtime, the video is a highlight package, with lots of quick cuts. […] But immersive video doesn’t work with quick cuts, I don’t think.

I watched the highlight reel today and I came away with the same impressions as Jason: each moment was cool, but the video style did not lean into what’s cool about immersive video.

The short of it is immersive video encourages the viewer to explore their surroundings and get…well…immersed. The quick cutting of this highlight reel was kind of exhausting because I spent more time figuring out where I needed to look for each shot and then before I knew it I was somewhere else entirely and had to do it all over again.

There are editing tricks video editors have used for ages to try and reduce the fatigue viewers get from cutting from one shot to the next, and those can be used in immersive videos as well, but a highlight reel doesn’t really give me time to explore, which is something I’ve enjoyed about the other immersive videos Apple’s released so far.

Most of the shots in this reel made me go “I want to spend more time there” even if it’s just 15 seconds rather than the 2-3 seconds most shots seemed to get.

Jason also points out that this video took months to release after the events it’s depicting, which is pretty substantial in a world where we are used to highlights being up on social media and YouTube minutes after they happen. I guess I would liken this to NFL Films, which started in the 1960s and was the only way to get really high quality video (well, film I guess) of football games, and they took months to release anything. But today we get HD video streamed live and high quality highlight reels edited and posted the same day they happen. It will take some time to ramp up the processes here, but I have no doubt that if this takes off as a medium people want, the production times will come way down.