360 video has exploded onto the market in the past few years, aided by social media integration and having the ability to be easily embedded into websites using the YouTube 360 video player; it’s something that helps everyone get an immersive experience which you can’t achieve with regular video.
How does it work?
Rather than doing a pan using a video camera on a tripod to give you a 360 degree surround view, a dedicated 360 video camera records a spherical view so you also get the ground and sky. There are many different types of video cameras that produce spherical 360 footage. Some are single lens cameras and some are multi-lens or multi-camera units.
When evaluating what equipment to buy we opted to use six independent 4k cameras in a special mount. This ensured ‘fish eye’ distortion was reduced. The result is that we have 6 videos which, once we’ve finished the shoot, can be stitched together into an entirely 360 environment.
Using this approach gives the audience total control of what they look at and when rather than relying on the camera operator to decide what they see depending on what shot and what order it was edited into. The audience gets to experience the environment as if they were they really there themselves with them controlling what is being looked at and when. That experience can be further enhanced if you are viewing this kind of video through a VR headset – it feels like you can almost touch the environment as it is so immersive.
Planning for this process is key as the 360 rig we use produces 6 videos that need editing together.
The process of filming means the crew cannot stay in shot unless crouched under the tripod and edited out later! (most edits add a logo or mask to overlay the view of the tripod legs). This means that choosing the location of the camera and tripod is important not only because the crew has to find somewhere to hide (to be out of shot) and if it is in a public place the health and safety of passers by needs to be considered.
The synchronising the cameras is important when capturing moving objects (people, cars or animals) or when you come to edit you will find something appears or disappears unexpectedly. Finally the task of stitching 6 videos together so the joins are as seamless as possible takes time and careful editing and a powerful editing machine to work with as there is so much footage.
However all this effort is well worth it as the results are so highly engaging and effective.
360 video has been one of the more popular video trends of the past few years. It is something that has provided us with yet another powerful and creative technique to help clients address their marketing and training communication needs. Before 360, audiences only took away information from a video but with 360 they can now take away an experience which research has shown has more engagement and post-event impact. With social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook it can easily be shared with others at the click of a button.
The whole premise behind 360 video is you are giving the audience a larger role in the experience. No longer looking out on things from a small window, the audience is now ‘in’ the environment, whether that’s a factory floor, a conference or exhibition room or a tourist attraction.
- Research has shown that 360 videos outperform normal videos on social media. NASA experienced a 35% increase in subscribers to their channel and achieved double the views. Maginfyre have also done research into 360 videos which shows higher rates of engagement, click-through-rates and overall views compared to traditional video. Despite 360 video still being in its infancy, it works incredibly well.
- You can use 360 video to give the sense of space and perspective of a location. This is key when you consider that you can use 360 video as an immersive video tour of absolutely anything and there are two techniques to do this; you can edit a series of locations or scenes together via menu links so allowing the audience to view things in any order they want. However, the most immersive and engaging is the tour concept. By utilising a floor plan over multiple locations you can give your audience the sense of a large scale tour of just about anything. You can then add a voice-over to guide your audience through or film a presenter, or just use music to enhance their overall experience. You can also add additional information through click through buttons so allowing close ups of objects. This is what we call 360i – where the ‘i’ stands for ‘interactive’. We have used this effectively on employee induction and health and safety training and also ‘walk through’ building training videos. This is a great way to show people insights into operations and facilities that are not local or easy to access such as the engine room on a ship or a restricted access oil production platform or refinery. People can view the facilities and listen to a guided tour via voice-over and have their attention drawn to various items or areas via on screen highlighters, pop-up photos or links to additional videos. A great example of a studio backstage tour as the guest of the host check out Will Ferrell on the set of Saturday Night Live here.
If you want to consider using 360 video for marketing, customer or employee training please let us know and will share with you our experiences we have gained over the last couple of years working on our own and client projects.
As part of our work on the Mayflower400UK and on the Meon Valley DVD projects we have filmed at Titchfield Abbey a number of times. We thought you would like to see some views of it in 360 so check out the video below.