The 360-degree video technology has existed for a long time, but now it has started to gain popularity due to the appearance of a multitude of channels built especially for its content delivery, as well as the emergence of new tools for watching such videos – VR glasses, desktops, and smartphones. But how to create a 360-degree video? Let’s figure it out.
The Essence of 360-Degree Video Technology
How does 360-degree video work? Well, making a 360-degree video is simple: we shoot a panorama with a viewing angle of 360-degrees, that is, cameras (usually two or more) to see absolutely everything around them. Each camera shoots its sector. In this case, the number of cameras required for shooting can be different. However, the minimum number of cameras required for 360-degree shooting is two. Typically, videographers use six cameras (most companies prefer GoPro for its compactness and good characteristics). After all, the more cameras involved in the shooting, the greater resolution will be for the finished video.
Cameras for Shooting 360-Degree Video
- GoPro Omni. This device is made in the form of a small cube, which has six installed HERO cameras of the 4th generation. Thus, each face of the “cube” has one GoPro camera. The finished video can be “stitched” with a specialized 360-degree video software and you will get a full panoramic video.
- Ricoh Theta S. This is the most popular 360-degree video camera. Compact portable Ricoh Theta S allows you to shoot video with a resolution of 1080p HD, 30fps, and up to 25 minutes (for one take). The device has a function of live 360-degree video broadcast and can send captured content to your computer or smartphone wirelessly.
- Samsung Gear 360. The camera has two wide-angle lenses, supports live streaming video on Facebook or YouTube, and also works well in conjunction with Samsung Gear VR helmet.
- Kodak PixPro SP360 4K. The camera is designed for use in extreme environments and has protection from splashes. It is not afraid of frost and heat. This 360-degree HD video camera creates videos at a rate of 30 frames per second using one ultra-wide lens: its viewing angle is 235 degrees. To shoot a completely spherical video, you’ll need to attach a second Kodak camera.
- ProTruly Darling. This smartphone was released just a few days ago, but it already managed to raise noise in the technology industry. ProTruly Darling in one of the first smartphones that have add-ons for shooting video in 360. For this, it has two 13-megapixel cameras in front and rear with an appropriate viewing angle.
So, How to Shoot a 360-Degree Video Properly?
From the point of view of creativity, the most important thing is to create a story that justifies the use of such technology. You can not just take an exciting idea, for example, a TV script, and put it into practice in a 360-degree format. You should design the story so that the audience has a desire to look around.
It is not appropriate to choose a small space. I guess you do not want to cause claustrophobia among the audience. It is better to stop at a place which you want to examine and study in detail. Curiosity is very conducive to involvement. There is much less space for creativity in a small room than, for example, in a labyrinth or on a battlefield.
What are the Pitfalls?
The main difficulty is the parallax effect. Often, straight lines in the video become broken. Even when shooting with two cameras, we can face this effect when adjacent frames have a very noticeable line of junction. It is possible to edit this line using 360-degree video editing software, but this is a fairly complex and painstaking process. Therefore, it is important to properly set the 360-degree camera during the shooting. The more seams a video has, the more difficult it is to get the perfect image, but the higher resolution the finished product will have. And if the seams are small, then it may not be enough to demonstrate video content on large screens. So you always have to look for the perfect solution for each specific case.
How to Install the Camera Properly?
If you have the opportunity to predict the development of events in the frame (for example, staging), it is advisable to set up the cameras so that a dynamic action unfolds in front of one camera. You will not have problems with seams. A static interior is much easier to sew accurately than frames from moving objects.
In case you cannot predict in advance what will happen in the frame (for example, shooting a party), it is better to use a smaller number of cameras (preferably two), so there you’re sewing a smaller number of joints during processing.
What Devices Do You Need Besides the Camera?
What about other 360-degree video equipment? You need a tripod. Unfortunately, the market does not yet have enough tripods for 360-degree cameras. Most videographers recommend using Tamrac TR406 ZipShot Compact and Promaster LS-CT Compact Travel Light Stand. We do not recommend the use of an ordinary tripod. Its legs will necessarily fall into the frame and you will have to remove them during post-processing.
Does Illumination and Contrast Matter?
When working with panoramic video, it is very important to set the light correctly. Otherwise, post-processing will become much more problematic. GoPro cameras do not like mixed light, and all light sources should be of good quality. Try to organically integrate them into the interior, so that you will not have to overwrite them during 360-degree video editing. It is optimal if you can use bright sunlight. In addition, it’s absolutely free.
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