How Not to Shoot 360 Video

Shooting in 360-degrees

Making 360 videos can be tricky. Honestly, none of us have really figured it out. We’re learning as we go. But thanks to the YouTube Creator Academy, we can all learn from the collective knowledge base at YouTube. After battling in the trenches of 360 video production for the past couple years, here are the pieces of advice they’d like to share.

1. Direct the Audience

Virtual reality and 360-degree videos are designed to put the audience in the center of the video’s universe so really have to put yourself in their shoes. Think about where they fit and the role they play. Take into consideration why they are they doing what they’re doing and how you can best direct their attention within the experience you’re creating for them.

2. Treat the Camera Like a Person

This is an extension of the first point. Since the viewer is at the center of the action, some of the things video creators are accustomed to don’t translate to 360. Take handheld cameras for instance. It feels really weird to enter a scene as a viewer in the giant palm of your subject. It feels downright sickening to be an unstable camera. And one of the great things about VR is the agency it provides. Try not to take that away.

3. Mind Your Stitch Lines

360 pioneers know all too well the cumbersome process of stitching together footage from multiple cameras by hand. Fortunately for you, cameras and software are being developed to do it automatically. But you do still need to know where the stitch lines are when directing your shots. Your subjects will become distorted along the stitch lines, especially when they’re close to the camera. Keep that in mind and keep the action where it belongs.

4. Make it Sound Right

Audio is important in any video, but in 360 it provides so much more than a soundtrack. Once you get good at shooting, consider investing in an ambisonic or ‘spatial’ microphone to further increase your viewers’ sense of presence. It makes a difference.

5. Rules Are Made to be Broken

This one’s mine. These are all tried and true techniques, but don’t get too caught up on what you should and shouldn’t do. Experiment. The only reason we even know this stuff is we’ve spent time doing it wrong. Make your own mistakes. Maybe you know everything in the video above sucks in a headset but you’re creating something for folks holding phones. Maybe you’re developing a new means of locomotion. In any case, write your own rules. This is an exciting time to make your mark. We’re all building the plane as we fly it.

Learn More

This is just a snippet from the YouTube Creator Academy course:

360-degree video and virtual reality on YouTube

Head over there for full, interactive lessons and quizzes to hone your 360 skills or download a PDF of the lesson here.

Happy shooting!

About the Scout

Eric Chevalier

Eric Chevalier co-founded VRScout after a decade of content marketing in sports, entertainment and gaming. When he isn't sandy, Eric is scouring the streets of Los Angeles in pursuit of the best new storytellers from Hollywood to Silicon Beach.

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