Communicating about Farming and Local Food Systems through Immersive Video

Worksite Location
Tompkins County
Project Dates
May 20, 2019 to August 16, 2019
Faculty Sponsor
Anu Rangarajan, Horticulture-SIPs and Andrea Stevenson Won, Communications
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Monika Roth, CCE Tompkins County and Matt LeRoux, CCE Tompkins County
Wages Up To
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Immersive video offers a unique strategy to more fully engage a viewer in content and messaging. For most of our citizens, their connection to agriculture is little to none. Could immersive video be a useful tool to improve a consumer’s understanding of and interest in local food and farming?  This Intern will work under the direction of Drs. Won and Rangarajan and CCE Educators Monika Roth and Matt LeRoux to create and then test the use of immersive video to communicate about local farming and agriculture to a non-agricultural audience.  The goal is to determine if this type of media experience supports a better understanding of key challenges and opportunities faced by local farms.  Videos produced in traditional 2D and 3D immersive formats, with different narration strategies, will be compared to understand which strategies support a greater connection to the narrator and therefore improved retention of key messages conveyed through the video experience.  This summer we will build on our experiences creating 360-degree video in 2018.  Our design will also be informed by our pilot study results (on-going) on how to frame the social interactions in 360-degree video.

Roles and Responsibilities

Initial work will focus on identifying key local bloggers or thought leaders who communicate about local food systems in Tompkins County and Central NY. Communications through these channels will identify emergent themes or areas of interest or confusion about local food systems.  This intern will then work with the project mentors to engage a few local farmers willing to participate in virtual storytelling on local food systems theme via immersive video.  Specialized camera equipment and editing software is available to create short immersive videos. Once complete, the intern will then test the videos with local residents, to better understand how these video experiences might influence knowledge and behaviors around participating in local food systems.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Agriculture or communications coursework helpful; social science methods helpful. Comfort with interviewing and conducting surveys.

Benefits and Skills

The intern will gain practical experience in the techniques required to create thematic short immersive video, in both indoor and outdoor environments, and the optimal circumstances to create such videos.  They will also deepen their understanding of the challenges facing local farmers and the opportunity that new communication strategies may or may not offer to shift dialogue on pressing issues.  They will also be able to observe activities on local farms and create new ways of presenting agriculture to a non-farming public. They will be able to understand simple strategies to test the effects of different scripts, positioning and narration of immersive videos and use survey strategies to clarify if teaching outcomes related to local food understanding were met. They will learn about the diverse perspectives and understanding of local food systems among diverse audiences in central NY.