How to get started with 360 video
Some call it VR Video or Virtual Reality Video or even Spherical Video but hey let’s just stick to the fact that the new cameras record in 360 degrees thus naming this new tech infant 360 Video.
360 video cameras are still in their infancy and thus the pricing is still quite in the high end. The first real consumer ready gadget is the Ricoh Theta S which is so far one of the cheapest ways to get started with 360 video.
Pro tip 1 – Buy the cheapest cameras to get started
The optimal use for 360 video
360 video enables the viewer to become the center of no attention. Not the fly on the wall but rather the incognito fly in the soup that sees everything from every angle up close.
NB: The embedded 360 videos from youtube currently does not display on iOS devices
Pro tip 2 – Always put the camera in the center of the action
You need to think differently when using a 360 photo or video camera. First of all you need to put the camera in the middle of the action. A 360 shot is only worth it when there’s something interesting on all sides thus you cannot be a bystander watching and filming. You need to be in the middle of the action or better yet make sure to get the camera into the center (and get yourself out of the way).
Homeoffice #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
You should definitely consider buying a selfie stick or a monopod preferably with a tripod stand (like this one) to ensure that your fingers and face are not always in frame. The cool thing about the Theta S is that it can be controlled by your smart phone from within wi-fi distance thus the monopod is a must have 360 video gadget add-on.
Pro tip 3 – Buy a monopod with a tripod stand
If you are not out in the wild but indoor you can put the camera on the table and do a “groupfie” (or even better a “groupie” if not too ambiguous for you). Once again put your camera in the center and gather your friends up close for a cheer.
Sushi with friends #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Pro tip 4 – Make sure the object of interest is within 1-2 meters tops
The draw back of the Theta S is the quality of the shots be it indoor or outdoor. Quality wise it is a low end thus you need to make sure that whatever you are filming it needs to be real close to the camera (1-2 to meters tops) if you want it to be perfectly visible. For professional use you will need to consider some of the much more expensive rigs with 4k awesomeness. However they are by far too expensive to even start dreaming about as a consumer. So to begin with stick with something like the Ricoh Theta S thats perfect for your everyday sharing on Facebook or Youtube.
Pro tip 5 – Don’t waste money on fancy VR rigs – get a Google Card board
Recording 360 video is one thing the other is actually sharing it or making use for it. Personally I am still just using the Google Cardboard viewer and smart phone as this is by far the most democratic way to enable a lot of people to get a quick introduction and entry to the world of VR and 360 video experiences. But there’s no doubt that the Rift and the Vive rigs will soon be upon us.
How to share 360 photo & video
It is possible to upload 360 video both youtube and Facebook the latter however only two minutes. But first you need to transfer the video from the camera to your desktop computer and run it through an encoder program. This is included with the Ricoh Theta S camera.
In regards to photos I have been using the Theta platform which is not fantastic. You can only get your 360 photos online by using the smart phone app and thus posting the photos to the public and then embedding them in eg your wordpress blog. Not perfect but I’m sure it’ll soon be much easier, cheaper and better quality.
I hoped you enjoyed my guide and if so please help me by sharing this post with your friends and please don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments…and NO you cannot borrow my 360 video camera…go out and buy your own toy 😉