Canon: Giving Stories a New Form

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Canon case study featured image
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YLD helped Canon explore opportunities of adopting VR to innovate existing products and services

At the heart of a photo is a story

image representing travel

Photography is a great storytelling medium, capable of relaying both facts and emotions. To make sure we did not lose this in whatever product we ended up creating, we had to make sure we emphasised exploration and joy of discovery. Instead of locking users into a “single path” when reliving their memories or “photographical stories”, we decided to break down a story into smaller groups of photos, illustrating its most memorable parts, leaving space for exploration of individual groups, without imposing a specific order on the user.

Beyond photography

To ‘fill in the gaps’, elicit stronger response and simply make it more fun, we weaved in content generated from Canon’s metadata and object analysis software, amongst the photos. Time and GPS data, combined with the social media content, allow for richer stories with travel routes, landmarks, weather reports, social profiles, quotes of people involved and more.

Image of a travel itinerary

Exploring the story

With the story broken into smaller parts and enriched with other related content, we were left with our biggest challenge; How to use all 3 dimensions of VR to the fullest, whilst consuming content that is mostly 2-dimensional?

Each part of the story was represented by a ‘cloud’ of photos and other related content, placed around a user in a 3-dimensional space, allowing them to look around and explore the content freely. The navigation between different parts of the story was designed to be linear — back and forth — and based on the flow of time.

So, without further ado, here is a 2d recording of the working prototype:

Out in the wild

The prototype was presented at Photokina 2016 - the largest international trade fair for the world of photography. The feedback during the fair (and afterwards), has been very positive and inspiring; both the concept and its realisation were met with curiosity and excitement among the Photokina community and navigating through a story proved to be intuitive.

In a nutshell, the prototype got people talking. Canon’s efforts to branch out into a new domain were met with excitement and raised the question “Where will it go from here?”. Well, we guess that only the future will tell!

As for the YLD team, it was a great experience designing a real product for VR that definitively left us with a taste for more .