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Run From Aliens Using Only Your Phone in Justin Lin’s 360 Video Short: HELP

Leave your tennies at home.

As VR experiences become more and more popular, you can (and should) expect some of your favorite 2D video platforms will start taking advantage of these new technologies. Case in point: HELP. It’s a short five minute film directed by Justin Lin (Fast and Furious: Tokyo DriftStar Trek BeyondBetter Luck Tomorrow) that centers on an alien invasion of Los Angeles. It starts innocuously enough: what looks like a pretty meteor shower becomes the impetus for an invasion of Earth by tiny little toddler-sized aliens. At least, they start toddler-sized, and after certain things happen, they grow larger. The entire video is totally worth watching, especially if you have an Android phone and a Google Cardboard rig. It’s just as neat on an iPhone held in your hand, but it won’t be quite as immersive.

What makes this video interesting among immersive stories is that it doesn’t try to insert the viewer into the body of a character; it just follows a main character and her co-star as they run from this giant alien creature. There are plenty of shots that are set up in such a way that it makes us feel as if we’re in the middle of the action, for sure, but here it feels like they’re stitched together as if parts of a whole. This doesn’t detract from the experience, don’t get me wrong. It’s made to feel different, I believe. It’s definitely a cinematic experience, one that’s absolutely full of some neat CGI effects.

The making-of look at the video provides an interesting look at the unique camera rig they used to film the video. Given that we don’t exactly have a standardized or even widely-accepted method of recording full 360-degree video, people who want to do so are often left to their own devices. It’s up to them to figure out how they want to do it. It’s super neat to see how the shots are stitched together to make a full “sphere” of video, and they break it down really well here.

To check out more immersive stories, check out Google’s new 360-degree video initiative called Google Spotlight Stories.

(via Laughing Squid)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.