I’ve been having a lot of fun producing 360 video content. While I wouldn’t call myself an expert, I’ve already learned a handful of new production tactics for this totally immersive, unforgiving medium.
The very first thing to remember is that with 360 video, everything is in the shot. The lenses being 360 shoots everything including you! So the clue here is to be INSIDE the action and if possible be part of the action.
To take full advantage of the 360 angle, it requires the action to be fairly close to the camera. In reality, the closer the action is, the better. Another thing to note is that as opposed to a ‘normal’ camera where the lens is generally at eye-line level, with a 360 it’s better to have the lens at roughly chest level of the subject (avoiding too much sky in the end result). It’s also handy to note that being 360 there is no need to move the camera around so use a tripod or a mono pod (even better).
It’s unlikely that you will edit (in the normal sense) the video. More likely is that you will compile clips together as they were shot, or simply shoot a long scene and upload directly. So, when shooting I find it easier to shoot clips that can simply be trimmed before compiling together. But remember that you need to give the viewer enough time to explore the scene. For them it should feel like they are (almost) there.
Once your 360 video is ready, you’ll want to upload it to YouTube or Facebook. Facebook is slightly easier and will take the 360 video as it is straight from the file, but YouTube is a little more complicated. The video needs to have metadata injected into it so that YouTube knows it is a 360 and how to process it (which takes a while). Luckily, YouTube provides a ‘metadata injection tool,’ which is a little piece of software that is free to download. Once you have injected your metadata, the file is then ready to upload to YouTube. It sounds complicated but it really isn’t. It’s also useful to note that some 360 cameras automatically inject the metadata.
The kit we have been using is a Ricoh Theta S and although I’m still learning on the editing process I’ve been using Adobe Premiere Pro to edit.
You can see an example of one of our 360 videos on YouTube.
Martin Sayers is the Digital Media Producer at Imperial College London. Got 360 video questions? You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Martin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/marvinius.