Posted by: kklist | November 19, 2015

Ethics of Virtual Reality Video

Hiya Ethics,

Public Editor Margaret Sullivan’s column in today’s Times deals with the ethical implications of the paper’s inclusion last Sunday of a cardboard device that–when combined with an app–offered readers a 360-degree immersive experience.  It was an 11-minute virtual reality film on three children displaced by war.  
It was amazing, but readers raised many ethical questions.  Here is an excerpt from the column:
Ben C. Solomon, who shot the film, told me by email that the V.R. process brings special challenges.“Since V.R. films a scene in 360 degrees, in every direction at the same time, there is no place for the photographer or filmmaker to stand unless they become a constant character in the scene. In traditional photo or video, they stand behind their camera and craft scenes so they do not appear to be present.” So, he said, “we had to hide.”
[Philip]Corbett [the paper’s standards editor] told me that “it would be crazy to think that all the implications, questions and issues have been settled and determined, or that we have a fully formed set of rules.” After all, he said, “It took decades to develop a body of best practices in news photography.” 
Interesting times!

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