MOSCOW, OCTOBER 24, 2016 – RT published unique panoramic footage filmed in the Syrian city of Homs, devastated after years of conflict. RT’s Murad Gazdiev walks the viewers through war-ravaged streets.

“The battle for Homs was especially brutal, even by Syrian standards,” says Murad Gazdiev, RT’s war correspondent. “All sorts of weapons were used here: tanks, artillery, RPGs. They fought for every street, for every house, in some cases, for every room. As evidenced by the destruction here.”

“Panoramic footage of war-torn Homs is an excellent example of VR journalism, which is the format of the future, as 360-degree videos allow us to take the viewer to the heart of news events. The scale of devastation and the eerie quietness of the empty city will leave no one untouched,” adds Eduard Chizhikov, head of the RT360 project. 

For PCs, left-click on the video and move your cursor to enjoy the panoramic view. For smartphones, rotate your device to alter your view accordingly.

The Homs 360-degree, panoramic footage was first presented at MIPCOM 2016, a major audiovisual industry forum that took place in Cannes.

RT, which is among the leaders in adopting the 360 format for news production, presented a panel discussion on “VR & Immersive Journalism: The Future of News.” The session included journalists from RT, Euronews and the founder of Immersiv.ly, a London-based panoramic content production studio.

The speakers agreed that the innovative format opens up new horizons and creates opportunities for engaging the audiences on an entirely new level, as virtual reality goggles allow viewers to experience total immersion in the story. “The whole news industry got a chance to regain the viewer’s trust,” said Louis Jebb, founder of Immersiv.ly, which produced its first panoramic documentary in January 2015.  

Chizhikov says that RT plans to expand its VR offering and stay ahead of the curve in this format. Along with the panoramic news stories, RT produces live broadcasts in the 360 format, adding complex graphic elements to panoramic videos, which makes the content more informative, engaging and interactive.

Along with the 360 footage shot in Homs, RT presented other unique 360-degree videos in Cannes, including a story from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESPF), one of the leading research centers in Europe, and panoramic views of Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula, shot from a drone.

In December 2015, RT presented its first panoramic documentary about Donetsk, filmed in the war-torn city with a 360-camera from a drone. The network launched RT360, a mobile application for viewing panoramic videos, during the same month. RT is also one the first global media outlets to produce panoramic news video content. In May, RT showed panoramic footage of the Victory Day Parade in Moscow shot from a Mil Mi-8АМТSh helicopter and a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter as well as self-propelled howitzers Koalitsiya SV and Msta-S.

Earlier, RT was the first TV channel to offer a live 360-degree HD broadcast of the Victory Day Parade rehearsal on YouTube and a live 360-degree HD broadcast of Russian President Vladimir Putin addressing the Eastern Economic Forum.

RT 360-degree video content is available on Facebook (in English) and RT’s YouTube channels (in EnglishArabicSpanishRussianFrench, and German).

MIPCOM is an annual international trade show geared towards the television industry. It is attended by professionals producing films and shows for broadcast, cable, digital, and satellite television and radio. MIPCOM is a forum for key players of the audiovisual game – all major global TV stations, film production companies and other producers of audio/video content are represented.