360 Video Part I The Shoot

Submitted by Mark Ferro on Thu, 06/15/2017 - 10:24
360 Video Part I The Shoot

360 video is rapidly becoming a popular format to shoot in if you want to really give your audience an immersive experience into your story. We have a full-range of 360 cameras for rent and since 360 videos are still fairly new, we’d thought we’d put together a 3 part series to share with you what’s involved and different types of cameras currently available for rent.

For part 1 in this series, we’ll discuss things to consider when shooting 360 video since they’re much different than traditional videos. We outfitted one of our associates with a GoPro Omni who went down to Washington, DC and capture some footage at various monuments. Here are some things you should be aware of when shooting 360 videos.

Everything is in the shot

Either stay out or become part of the shot. Whether it’s a low-end 2 lens camera or a higher end camera like the Nokia Ozo with 8 lenses, everything in a 360 degree radius of where you put the camera will be in the shot. Everyone seems to know this but when you get out there to capture content we find that people need to remind themselves of this fact.

This also means that any crew you have for the shoot needs to leave the area once things are setup including the director and camera man. This is a big difference from a traditional camera. Besides staying out of the shot the other option is to become part of the shot. In our test videos, we captured footage at various monuments that also had a lot of tourists walking by. Eric decided to be in the shot and blend in with the tourists. Eric’s main reason for doing this was he didn’t feel comfortable leaving a $5,000 rig unattended. The good news is that it worked out really well. In another video we created I found a tree that we positioned the camera next to that allowed me to stand behind and be near the camera.

Where To Stand While Filming 360 Degree Video

The other thing to be aware of is if you’re shooting in public some people may not want to be in the shot.

Camera Placement

For 360 cameras, you’ll want treat the camera like a person and therefore when you’re considering a shot think, about how the camera (as a person) should be viewing the video. A good example of this is say you’re capturing a board room meeting.  You wouldn’t want to put the camera in the center of the table but rather positioned in one of the spaces where a chair would be so that the person viewing the video would feel like they’re part of the meeting.

360 cameras incorporate wide angle lenses that magnify distance between objects.  Because of this, keep the action at least 3’ to 5’ away from the lenses.  If you’re too close it will look distorted. On top of this, 360 cameras have stitch lines where two lenses’ fields of view overlap.  The stitch areas get worse the closer you get to the camera. Think of it as a no-go circle around the camera. On the flip side if you’re too far from the camera, your focus area will be too wide and objects will become indistinguishable.

Concerning camera height, the average height of a person is about 5’ 7” so you should setup the camera around that height to make viewing of the video seem natural to the audience.

To prevent motion sickness, the camera should be placed on stable ground and avoid panning, tilting or unnecessary movement of the camera.  Remember the lenses pickup 360 degrees so there’s no need.

While there are multiple mounting options, you’ll most likely be using a tripod for the camera which means the tripod will be in the shot.  The simple fix is in post-production to put a graphic over the area to cover it. With that said you should try to keep all accessories, cables, etc to a minimum and tucked under the tripod footprint.

Where To Stand While Filming 360 Degree Video

Last but definitely not least, be aware of where the stitch lines are. This will dictate good placement. You’ll want to keep motion and main objects to a minimum whenever possible in the stitch lines.

Lighting

Lighting can be a bit tricky and even more so if you move from a 2 lens rig to an 8 lens or more rig. Like all cameras depending on the location and available light, with a multi-lens camera one lens might be taking in light with a different CRI (color rendering index) value than another lens especially when you look at the bottom half vs. the top half. Flat lightning works best. You should aim for a location with pleasant, practical lighting. If you can do so, avoid having your subject directly under any overhead lights. If you are going to provide external light sources make sure they are all the same. We ran into an issue where the lights had different CRI values that were very noticeable and ultimately ruined the shot. Nighttime shots can also be a challenge for obvious reasons. During the post-production process a lot of lighting issues can be corrected but it’s always easiest to start with good footage.

So you have your footage what’s next? The next step is the stitch and with 360 video it’s all about the stitch. 

We’ll discuss stitching in Part 2 and 360 cameras currently available in Part 3 of this topic.

If you’d like to discuss more about our 360 cameras for rent, please contact us at 888-520-5667 or by filling out our quick quote form.