360 Degree Video-What About It?

360° video is one of the new and fancy pieces of technology that everyone seems to want and no one knows why. But that does not mean that 360° videos and still images cannot be used in a marketing campaign successfully.

Why Should I Buy One?

According to Cella Lao Rousseau on AndroidCentral.com, the biggest reasons why you should consider getting a 360° camera are its cost, convenience, ease of use, wide selection, and multiple uses. 360° cameras are getting cheaper and cheaper the more popular they become, which makes them less of a burden on your budget. It’s hard to find a high quality camera for less than $100, but the majority of them are less than one thousand. These cameras are often small and easily portable, requiring nothing more than the ~5 inch tall camera and a monopod if you want a taller perspective on your video.

DSLR cameras are notoriously difficult to understand, requiring a lot of time put into just figuring out how it works. But the only thing you have to figure out about a 360° camera is where the power button is. Some have a couple more buttons or light cues to decipher, but they are still much easier to learn how to use than the majority of handheld cameras. There is also a huge selection of cameras to choose from now. A couple of years ago, there wasn’t a large variety to pick from. But now there’s a camera to fit every need and lifestyle.

Lastly, there are infinite possibilities for using a 360° camera. From using them as a security camera in your home (with Giroptic 360-degree camera with their wall plug adapter) to using it as a branding video in your advertising campaign. The only thing keeping you from doing something really cool with your 360° camera is your imagination (and possibly budget, but that’s another issue).

How Do I Film a 360° Video?

When it comes to making 360° videos, Amanda Zantal-Wiener has a few tips for you in her blog on HubSpot.com. First, have a good reason to shoot the video. Don’t slap together a plan just for the sake of having the video. A 360° video requires more interaction from the viewer, who must move the video around themselves. So give them a reason to interact with your video.

Next, give your viewers something to look at. This doesn’t mean just find a really interesting room or event to set your camera in the middle of and hitting record. Have one person or specific part of the room that attracts the attention of your viewers. Once you have decided what that is, make sure you get the right camera. Consider your budget, as well as where you will be sharing it to.

From here on, the steps are similar to conventional videos. You will want to stitch together your scenes into a single video, although scenes shot on a 360° camera often have a higher resolution, and therefore require a higher RAM on your computer. Then, just decide where you are going to share that video. You have to take into consideration where your target market spends their time, just like any advertising campaign.

But What Are the Specifics of Filming a 360° Video?

But if you’re not sure how to best film on a 360° camera, no worries. Chris Lavigne has some suggestions for you. First is how to frame the shot. In his experience, the best place for your subject is roughly 3 to 5 feet away from the camera, with the camera placed at chest height, not the eyeline. Realize that everything you shoot will be wide angle, meaning there is no chance of getting that close-up you would be able to with a DSLR or other camera. You must get more creative with how you frame your subject and location to make it work.

You have to throw out all your knowledge about lighting when shooting a 360° video. It’s just not possible to hide your studio lighting behind the camera, since “behind the camera” does not exist here. For these videos, flat lighting and ambient light are your friends. It is possible to use studio lights in your video and edit them out later, but it is arguably impractical. So Lavigne suggest finding a place with pleasant, practical lighting, avoid positioning your subject directly under any overhead lights, and use high Color Rendering Index (CRI) bulbs in existing lighting structures within your shots.

Then comes your audio. Even though Lavigne is a self-professed fan of shotgun microphones, he recommends having your subject(s) wearing a lavalier microphone. You can also try placing 1 to 2 stereo microphones near the camera for more natural, realistic sound capture, but just be careful where you place them.

Have your ever wanted to kick your director or crew out of the room until you finished filming? Well now you get to! Unless they play a part in your video, then they cannot be in the shot, which means they cannot be in the room you are filming in. This does create a multitude of challenges, especially in regards to your actors and their scripts, each of which are unique and can be worked around in various ways, depending on your team and set up. You could use cheesy cue cards, or hide a laptop in the shot with the script on it. Lavigne even suggests hiding an iPhone near your hidden script so you can direct your subject through FaceTime.

Finally, the pacing and editing. In terms of the pacing, turn everything you know on its head. You have to allow the viewer enough time to look around your video and digest all of the information in it before you move on. But no one seems to be completely certain of how you know how long that will translate to in your video, or the best way to edit it so you are certain your viewers feel like they were able to take in all of the information you threw at them. For some editing tips, visit Lavigne’s article for a short guide in how to edit 360° videos.

So What Now?

Now comes the experimentation with these new cameras. There are a lot of unknowns with this new technology that can only be solved by trying. Take a dozen shots of that video, with something different in all of them, edit that video a half a dozen ways and test it out on your friends and family to find out what works, and what doesn’t. Just be sure to tell others what you tried and what worked for you!


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