The 6 Rule Of 360 Filmmaking

360 Video, also known as VR video, is just as similar to shooting 2D video as it is different and there is a couple of things that you’re gonna wanna keep in mind to help ensure your content turns out awesome.

Rule #1: Think about the camera as a character.

One of the greatest things about VR is that you know how the ability to create a sense of presence inside the viewer. You can make that person feel like they’re actually sitting in the room with your characters and the simplest way to do that is to think of your viewer as a character. If you’re going to be sitting in this room we’re standing in this room with me while we shoot this video blog where would you want to be standing? Put your camera there. It’ll help create that sense of presence and immersion inside your 360 video.

men at a table 360 video POV

Rule #2: Mind the stitch.

Most 360 video cameras have at least six outward-facing lenses and we have to go in post and stitch all 6 of those video files together to create one spherical video at the end of the day that we can use in our VR piece. You want to keep most of your action inside of a single lens if possible and minimize the amount of time that people are either crossing stitch lines or having action on the stitch lines. Software has gotten a lot better in the last few years and they can do about 90 to 95% of the work for you but you are gonna have to go in and manually fix any of those stitch errors if you have a ton of action happening on that stitch lines. You can see the stitch error in the picture on the left.

man holding laptop demonstrating 360 video stitch error

Rule # 3: Do not forget about sound!

Audio is important in any video. I believe it is even more important in 360 video. One of the great things about 360 video that we mentioned before, is that the user now has the ability to look around anywhere they want. However, as a director that can be tricky because if I want to make the user look over there, how do I do that without a big flashing annoying arrow on the screen? Audio is a great way to do that. In addition, a really rich spatial audio track can help add layers of immersion to that video, to that sense of presence, you’re trying to create with your viewer. A Zoom Spatial 360 microphone as an example.

zoom h3 spatial microphone

Rule #4: Move with caution.

One of the biggest complaints you hear about any type of VR is it makes people nauseous and 360 video is unfortunately notorious for making people feel sick. And the number one reason for that is because of camera movement. If you’re gonna move your camera make sure you do it with intention. The second thing is if you are gonna move the camera make sure you move it at a constant speed and very very steady. Any acceleration or deceleration or camera shake, a simple way to make your audience run for the bathroom.

Rule # 5: Fill the scene. 

I see so many 360 videos that are so close to being good but I think that some creators forget that the viewer can look anywhere they want to. They have an amazing story unfolding right here in front of the viewer but what’s happening to the left, what’s happening to the right? You want to make sure you take full advantage of that full spherical format and give your user something to engage with and look at no matter where they’re looking.

soccer stadium examples of creating a good scene in 360 video

Rule # 6: Don’t be afraid to say no. 

I know it’s hard to say no and it’s really hard to say no if someone’s willing to pay you to do something. However, 360 video is not a solution for every problem. It’s a tool in your tool kit as a creator. There’s lots of video content that shouldn’t be shot in 360 video. It will make a much better video shot on a professional 2D camera! But when the time is right shooting 360 video can be way more powerful than 2D video. You just need to understand why you’re going to be shooting in that 360 format. Keep this and the other five rules in mind and this will help ensure that your 360 video content is professional and engaging.

I hope you enjoyed the post and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about 360 video production. We are here to help!

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