WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE, BENGALURU? Bangalore Mirror, dated- 28th April 2016

WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE, BENGALURU?

What’s your angle, Bengaluru?
Refresh your love for the city with a 360 degree video of it launching today. Click and scroll to any part of namma ooru on the screen
Ever wished you could get into a screen and pull out that appetising ice cream on the table right at the fringe of the video — the one that’s just a wee bit out of reach? Or jump into the vast expanse of sky and sea all around the protagonist’s head? With Bengaluru Darshan, a 360 degree video, you can do all that and more — in fact you can click and scroll 360 degrees to any point in the video frame, even as your host Sahil Khattar yaks away in the centre.

It’s an initiative by makers of Being Indian, a YouTube channel by digital media company Culture Machine, and the second of its kind, after Mumbai Darshan. Karl Katgara, Creative Director, Culture Machine says, the idea was triggered by the evolution of technology itself, which he says is “going to force storytellers to adapt and evolve”.

Ask him how it’s done and he guffaws, “No it’s a secret and we do not want people to know,” before adding, “Just kidding”. The “rudimentary” hardware and software included a bunch of GoPros assembled in a circle, facing outwards and above. The resultant videos from each angle were then stitched to the next. “It sounds simple enough but the real art here lies in the editing process. We were figuring techniques as we moved along but we had our eye on a goal and did not stop till we got there,” he explains. And while the end product took a “fair bit of tinkering”, it’s been worth it. With this video, you can check out everything from Koshy’s to Toit from all angles possible.

Which begs the question, what made him pick nammu ooru as the second city for this unique initiative after the movement and mayhem of Mumbai? For Katgara, the answer is simple. “Because we live in Mumbai, but Bengaluru is our favourite city in India, and any excuse we get to come back we grab it. Our love for Bengaluru really was the only motivation.” Which is why, the video takes us through not only architectural landmarks of the city such as Vidhan Soudha, but also celebrates Bengaluru’s greenery with Cubbon Park.

The team spent a complete day in Bengaluru, gobbled food at Veena Stores and Koshy’s, gulped down beer at Toit, and even spent a quiet moment at Blossoms. The evening continued with some shopping at the iconic Vashi’s House of Jeans followed by a visit to Lake Ulsoor. Finally, they bid adieu from the happening Indiranagar 100 Ft Road.

But the biggest celebration has been the city’s people, “of, by and for”, as Katgara puts it. Most travel shows, he feels, are stuffy and show people “the same historical and economic landmarks of a particular city”. “When we go to a new place, we actually want to experience the offbeat aspects a city offers such as pubs, food joints, hangouts and more. We are talking to the 20-somethings who wants to have a good time in a new city,” he says. So in the Mumbai Darshan video they featured what they thought actual people might be interested in. “Where to grab a drink, what it’s like outside SRK’s house, what locals eat…It is definitely intended for an outsider who wants to know what to expect and where to find it”.

A viewer is taken through different spots, peppered with introductions to locals and interesting people along the way by an upbeat Khattar, who maintains an up-tempo, talkative, comedy narrative throughout. Katgara says they are working on several 360 degree formats at the moment, and allowing the viewer to experience an immersive travel guide seemed like “a fun way to start”. Hence, the lightheartedness of the video. “We are a youth channel that does not take itself or life too seriously. What the viewer takes away from our videos is very individualistic,” he says.

Unsure if the video format will now be taken to other cities, he says they have to “really love a city” for them to go there and do this. “It’s all about the people and how to find the right kind. Where would you recommend your cousin who is new in town go for a beer; what’s the right place for t-shirt and chappal shopping; which food joint is popular with people like you and I. If you want architecture and history, watch a travel show that comes on TV,” he signs off. But if you want a fun click-through of your favourite city, this is the way to do it.

Catch Bengaluru Darshan on the Being Indian Facebook page and YouTube channel tomorrow. 

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