1. 360 video and VR are actually two different things
special info You’ve probably also heard many of these 360 videos referred to as VR (virtual reality). While the media and marketing materials often use these terms interchangeably, 360 video and VR are actually two separate categories. Virtual Reality refers to creating a completely artificial reality for a viewer to become immersed in. To create a truly virtual world, one must use computer generated graphics to achieve this (at least for the time being). Most VR content out there resembles video games for this reason, it allows you to be completely immersed into a virtual world, where you can sometime use the controller buttons of a device to open doors, move to different places, etc. 360 video is all about capturing the real world around us and then letting a viewer put on a VR headset to experience this real location or scene in the world. Its a great way to let people experience a location or scene that is not easily accessible to viewers all around the world.
2. The shooting environment (mise en scene) matters
Shooting 360 video means that every angle of an environment is captured. That means every object and every person will be in the shot. It requires a whole new level of attention to detail that is unique to shooting 360 content. Just as important is the ability to hide objects, lights, equipment, and people that would potentially get into a shot and ruin the feeling. When all else fails, relying on post production effects to hide tripods, lights, or anything else is required.
3. The planning process is completely different
Planning out a production shot in 360 video is very different from planning a traditional film. It requires a different approach to scripting, storyboarding, and motivated story telling that is absolutely unique. Relying on people who have experience producing 360 video content is smart for this reason, but at the same time 360 is still very much of an experimental art form, so it benefits from thinking outside of the box.
4. 360 video capture and viewing technology is changing at a rapid rate
Whether we like it or not, 360 camera technology is changing rapidly for film makers. Some of the biggest names and camera models in 360 VR capture technology have come and gone over the past 2 years. We’ve been following the trends in the camera technology world for the past 20 years, and it feels like 360 camera technology is changing more year to year than any other camera category. With this in mind, its important not to place too much emphasis on what camera looks good at the moment, but into people who seek to find the best tool for each unique job and also bring a significant amount of 360 shooting experience to the table.
5. Capturing 360 video involves a lot of new tools and techniques but it pays off to have a crew with experience in regular video production.
360 video production can require a crew as little as 1 person to 100 people working together on single project. It may involve complex audio capture, lighting setups, choreography, art direction, and VFX supervision. All of these positions come from the regular film making world, and it pays to have them onboard a 360 video production.
6. The method of storytelling is different but just as important
As a viewer of 360 video, you’re immersed in a filmmaker’s artistic vision in a way that no other medium allows. It’s like being within a movie, which is why we talk about “experiencing” 360 rather than simply watching it. Playing back 360 video without any motivated story or direction can make a 360 video an aimless experience though, so its important to find every tool available to help tell guide a view.
7. 360 video production is still in the wild west phase
360 video production has not been around for very long, so the idea that there are certain established theories of shooting, editing, producing, and presenting 360 video is nonexistent. You could say its a lawless landscape like the wild west.
8. Audio Capture
When shooting 360 video, you have the option of capturing ambisonic sound as well. This means in simple terms, that you are capturing sound in every direction. This can have a powerful effect on a viewer if sound is used to help tell the story.
9. Understanding and choosing between Monoscopic vs Stereoscopic capture is important.
Some 360 video creators have the option to shoot in stereoscopic if they choose to. Stereoscopic 360 capture is essentially the same principle as stereo capture on a traditional two camera rig. It uses the divergence between two cameras (left eye vs right eye), to create perceived depth in an image. Depth perception in 360 is pretty cool to see, but it has its draw backs. When presenting stereoscopic 360 footage on a VR headset the resolution is effectively cut in half to allow one eye to see the left eye and the other to see the right eye. When shooting monoscopic resolution is increased, and results in a sharper looking image, but at the loss of no depth perception.
10. 360 Video capture is just like traditional video production in terms of production quality.
As with anything in the creative field, the more effort you put into a project, the better the outcome will be. For the same reason why the quality of a video produced by a one person band is lesser than a normal sized crew dedicated to making a quality video, 360 video production benefits from the combined efforts and resources of a crew of people. Certain kinds of 360 video can be produced by just one person going out into the field, but the truly cinematic kinds of 360 media production takes teamwork.