360 & VR Video

360 video (A.K.A., 360-degree video) has burst onto the scene, with social media and hardware makers churning full-steam, so it's no surprise to find Interior videographers producing their own (sometimes) immersive works. Here are a few hints for making the most of your own attempts at 360 video or other immersive content:

  • Purchase decent gear. Please don't burn taxpayer dollars on the most expensive rigs without a good reason; but definitely spend what you need to spend, to produce the quality of video required for your projects. Spending too little can be as wasteful as spending too much, especially once production time is included in the math.
  • Don't forget that you're shooting in 360 degrees. This means you never, ever, need to turn the camera while recording to "get a shot" of something. You have no idea where in those 360 degrees a person will be looking as you're trying to point them at something. You might just make the viewers seasick. No pan. No tilt. No spin!
  • There is no "behind the camera." If you hold the camera in front of you, a big ol' distorted image of your arm and face will be in the shot.
  • Where you're pointing does matter. Avoid putting important objects or people on the seam between lenses. For example, assume that you're shooting a stage performance with a two-lens rig, one lens might point at the stage and another at the audience -- or at least toward the back of the room. To the left and right would be the seam between the two lenses. A bad "stitch" can cause objects to vanish or appear broken.
  • Steady shooting matters, especially if you're producing for VR gear. Shaky-cam may be fine for some purposes, but never (ever) for immersive video. Shaky VR can trigger headaches and nausea.
  • Zoom with your feet. If you want viewers to be able to see the details of an object, get close to the object. Then start recording.
  • Every shot is a wide-angle shot. This should go without saying, but -- I'm saying it. A 360 camera needs to be "in" the action, not just facing it. You're shooting the experience of an event, not just the view from outside.
  • For VR video, consider fades, rather than cuts. Abrupt changes can startle viewers. Again, viewers are "in" the experience, not watching from the outside. Learn to patch the "hole" at the bottom of VR video. The part of the video where the tripod (or your hand) sits is usually a nasty "stitch" or a black hole deliberately left by the camera. If your gear produces a hole, try patching with a branding mark or other meaningful identifier. Just don't make the patch more distracting than the hole or stitch.
  • Assume that whatever quality of video you think you're shooting, it will get worse when you share it on a social media channel. Lossy compression was painful for still images. It's just as bad for 360 video.
  • If your produced photo or video "declines" to present as 360, there's probably a problem with its metadata. We won't endorse any particular software, but search for 360 metadata, VR metadata, spatial media metadata -- you'll work it out.
  • Forgive yourself. Hey, there's a lot to learn. A lot can/will go wrong. No worries. Just call it a learning experience, salvage what you can, and move on. Your next video will be better!

We haven't included advice on producing artificial immersive content (e.g. VR games, digital landscapes, and other non-photo/video content), as we're not actully that good at producing it (yet). There are a few top-grade gaming engines out there (which we're not individually naming/endorsing) which offer free production environments. Please, try them out -- then help us by providing advice & guidance of your own. 

As ever, we welcome the advice and experiences of anyone who can help us produce better materials. Just let us know! 

Was this page helpful?