How to Make 360 Experiences that Sparkle
Shooting 360 images and 360 videos entails wonderful new vistas and opportunities: We’re now able to send the viewer on a lifelike journey to a completely new place. However, sometimes the Wow factor is also the one that makes everything much more complicated. One example is that 360 cameras capture an amazing ultra-wide view of everything in sight – but this also makes the 360 video much harder to stage and shoot. So how do we overcome the challenges of 3D shooting? Here are some valuable tips.
Check Out and Choose a Cool 360 Camera
Now, with compact, friendly 3D cameras, anyone can create 360 content. There’s a huge variety of cameras, each with its own unique lens. Top level cameras include two fisheye lenses that cover 2×180 degrees of each shot, avoiding complex processing prior to exporting the file. Experts recommendGoPro Fusion, Ricoh Theta V, Detu Twin, Samsung Gear 360 (2017) and a few other models.
Creating Your Experience Can Be Easy
There are plenty of stitching software types on the market for the more experienced. But fortunately, image stitching today can easily be handled by most 360 cameras. With some types of software, adding features like titles and graphics can be a cumbersome mission. However, there are friendly professional online tools out there that allow you to easily add text, music, icons and more with a drag and drop interface.
Design a User-Friendly Experience
If there’s one thing all experts agree on, it’s that camera stability is the #1 issue to consider in creating a VR experience. One of the major causes of nausea in VR is the dissonance between the movement perceived in the experience and the viewer’s static position. VRScout wrote a great piece on how to avoid the effects of motion sickness in VR, focusing on the question of movement – slow paced and even slow-motion scenes, no camera shaking, less acceleration, creating a static point of reference for the viewer (like the inside of a car or cockpit), a visual representation of the direction of movement (such as roads or guidelines, in the real world or created in post-production), and even eliminating movement completely and using “teleportation” instead. All these tips can help create a user-friendly VR experience people will love. Remember – Keeping the flow is very important for the realistic feel of the experience.
Watch the Lighting
3D shooting can be rather challenging when it comes to lighting. Uniform lighting is the name of the game.Many find dawn and dusk to be the best times for the photo shoot as they offer uniform lighting without strong shadows and irregularity that tend to hamper the VR experience. Direct sunlight is less desirable, as it can cause lens flare and can emphasize the stitching. If you need artificial light, take care to test the environment in advance, and place the focus of the camera in as close as possible to the lighting. You can use imaginative ways to hide lighting that’s placed in plain sight or choose to edit it out later, during post production.
What About the Height of the Camera?
Positioning the camera at eye level complements the VR experience and makes users feel that they are inside the video. However, positioning the camera lower than that reduces the level of immersion and may provide the perspective of a munchkin. To increase the 3D experience, position an object that has an all-familiar, well known size that can serve as a reference for the other objects on the scene and increase the immersive level.
To avoid being the star of your video, try activating your camera remotely using Bluetooth. Also, images can appear distorted when you’re standing too close, so position your camera some distance away from the object. Place the camera in an area that’s central to your story.
There are some key accessories that can be the difference between success and failure in your 3D experience:
• Charging devices – for shooting in areas without a power source
• Headset – for testing your VR content
• Travel tripod – for stabilizing your VR visuals without legs that will stick out during the shoot
• Extension – for raising the camera to reduce the appearance of the tripod in the scene
• Backpack – for comfortably wandering around with the equipment
Get Your Tripod Out of Sight
Always remember that 360 cameras show a full view of your environment, including the tripod. However, if you use a travel tripod, it can be hidden beneath your camera during the shoot.
Down with Parallax
Parallax is when the images do not appear precisely aligned, and the image stitching appears to be less than complete. Software can help avoid this effect, reducing it to nothingness. To facilitate this, ensure the stitching doesn’t directly relate to objects that are central to your story.
Using video in your VR experience increases the immersive depth, as movement helps create a lifelike experience. The same goes for sound. Test your sound to ensure that all voices are clear and audible. You can use a recorder that supports spetial recording from all angles to match the 3D perspective.
Today there are lots of 3D videos you can watch to help you brainstorm for ideas, and decide which ones are right for you and what scenes would best serve your purpose.
Take File Sharing Requirements into Account
Some sites, like Doublx, enable hosting and sharing an unlimited number of video and image files of any size and format, but sites like Facebook and YouTube have restrictions on the files that can be uploaded to their sites and shared. For instance, on Facebook the max image size is 6000 x 3000 pixels (18 megapixels).