360 Degree Storytelling Video

If your family is like mine, every time you get together you tell stories. No matter who starts the story, before long, everyone is adding bits and pieces of what they remember until you have a group-telling of the story.

The world of business has a performance evaluation tool called a 360 Degree Review where a person’s performance is evaluated by their peers, employees, and customers instead of just their boss. The idea is to get as rounded a view of their work as possible by asking people who have different relationships to the person to evaluate them. We can adapt this idea to create a fun video project.

Let’s create a video project that captures a 360 degree group-telling of a shared story. Fancy lights, expensive tripods, and complicated video editing systems are not required for this one (although, if you have them, feel free to use them!)

What You Will Need

  • Quiet Room or Area
  • Video Camera
  • Tripod
  • Microphone (preferably a lapel mike)
  • Blank videotape
  • Lights (this is optional. You can use whatever lights are available.)

What To Do

Set-up the video camera on the tripod, hook up the microphone, and set-up or adjust any lights you want to use. Ideally you want to do this in an area where each person will be away from the group when they tell their version of the story.

One-by-one, bring each person into the recording area and ask them to tell the story as they remember it. Keep the camera zoomed out wide enough so the subjects can move around freely without going out of frame – a medium shot should do the trick. Also, don’t interrupt unless the subject is nervous and needs reassuring. You want a quick snapshot of what they remember right now and you want them to come across comfortable and natural on camera.

Pause the camera and bring in the next person. Repeat the process until everyone who was a part of the story has spoken. Rewind the tape, connect the camera to the nearest TV, and let everyone watch the story be told all the way around – 360 dgrees!

Don’t be surprised if everyone wants a copy of this video!


This is a great project to do at family gatherings and parties. Since it requires so little setup you can bring your camera and, if the opportunity arises, quickly prepare and record.

Consider a 360 degree story as a birthday or anniversary gift. Have people tell the story of a couples wedding day and give it to them on their first anniversary (you can even make this at the reception and save it for them.) Or, get children to remember the day dad got his new boat and present it as a birthday present.

Best of luck with your Reel History project!