Aldo Agostinelli

Young people favorite app has produced a documentary concerning climate change shot personally by the protagonists by using AR Spectacles. Here are all the details of the new format

A series about climate change filmed in first person by several activists from different Countries by using  Snapchat Spectacles. This is the latest and peculiar project by Snapchat, the instant (and impromptu) messaging app, used by over 350 million users worldwide. “First Person” is a series of 6 documentaries produced by  journalist Yusuf Omar and directly shot by the protagonists through augmented reality glasses. We are not only talking about a special production method – explained the author – but a choice which allows viewers to see things from the point of view of those who work for the safeguard of our environment (Watch the trailer for ‘First Person,’ a climate-focused series shot on Snapchat Spectacles).

Spectacles, Snapchat jewels

To better understand this project we need to start from the instrument used, which is actually the innovative element of the whole project. Spectacles, the AR glasses launched by Snapchat, represent the high tech evolution of less successful Google Glasses. Spectacles, though, cannot show contents. They feature two tiny video cameras, one on each corner, and are strong, colorful and equipped with high quality sunscreen lenses. The basic model costs 175 Euros. Thanks to these glasses you can film what is in front of your eyes. The world is seen through a round window exactly like the video which is then produced; videos may last max. 30 seconds, may  be edited by adding a few effects and may obviously be shared and posted via Snapchat (Arrivano Spectacles, gli occhiali di Snapchat: cosa sono e come funzionano/ Welcome the Spectacles, Snapchat glasses: what they are and how they work).

New video formats between technology and citizen journalism

In addition to being a pioneer of citizen journalism, Yusuf Omar boasts a long experience in AR glasses: he claims he has been wearing the Spectacles every day of his life since 2016. His “Hashtag our stories” project has involved in the production of citizen journalism reportages over 10 thousand people from  140 different countries, operating via their smartphones .

“First Person” is almost an extension of his work: the team sent some Spectacles to different people in six countries in the world so as to allow them to document their work against climate change. “When Covid-19 started spreading, many traditional journalism activities stopped– explained Omar to Techcrunch. Our innovators, on the contrary, never stopped working. Sending them the Spectacles allowed us to reach for stories which would have been impossible to tell during the pandemic”.

A live documentary

Representing the daily lives and activities of the protagonists in first person, videos will show how these people work, create, recycle in the most concrete and direct way. “Watching hands work, from the point of view of who is performing the action, makes stories unmistakable, interesting and thrilling – commented the curator -. This way the audience can watch and think: I can do the same”. “First Person”, visible on Snapchat starting from the last week of October, has been conceived for young people, who are also the majority of Snapchat users. However, it may turn out to be an excellent solution also against the limits set following the pandemics, and a way to draw people’s attention to crucial issues offering an alternative to the difficulties of traditional journalism.

Do you think a documentary shot by using Snapchat AR glasses may be a good quality product or just a stunt? Tweet @agostinellialdo

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Aldo Agostinelli