As 360 video increasingly opens up a new world of content possibilities, more and more videographers are adding the new format to their bag of tricks. Those looking to take on 360-degree video can, however, sometimes face a bumpy learning curve. Image and video stitching company Kolor knows this all too well, hence its mission to help train 360 newcomers with comprehensive documentation and free video tutorials. We spoke with Kolor’s Marketing Director, Rami Tohmé, about some common misconceptions and technical hurdles beginners face, and gleaned a few “don’ts” for all you aspiring 360-degree videographers out there.
Don’t Think It’s Just a Trend
One misunderstanding about 360 video happens before a camera even gets picked up. “Some people are still wondering if it’s just a trend, or if they really should invest in 360-degree video creation,” explains Tohmé. Those hesitations should be put to rest, he says, predicting that 360-degree video will be the next major content platform. “It’s a huge thing,” says Tohmé. “It’s the new way to tell a story; to let your audience be literally immersed in the scene you’re showing; to let people feel incredible experiences.” In other words, stop wondering if 360 video will be the next big thing and believe that it already is, so you can dive in and start mastering the new status quo.
Don’t Assume Only Some Industries Will Be Impacted
For some, the issue isn’t accepting 360 video’s success, but believing it will be relevant to them and/or their clients. A videographer who only creates content for banks, for example, might not think he or she needs to learn about 360 content. Tohmé encourages creators not to think this way. “If you look at immersive media as a new way to watch content, every single industry will be impacted,” he insists. “It’s better to be aware of that now and begin to act, to prepare the content that will make the difference.” That way you won’t just be ahead of the curve — you’ll be ahead of your (or your clients’) competition.
Don’t Get Too Close to What You’re Shooting
Naturally, missteps with 360 video aren’t all about wrong assumptions. There can also be technical issues. Many have to do with what and how videographers are shooting. Two quick tips from Tohmé: “Try to avoid having the most interesting parts of the scene in the overlapping areas,” and be careful about getting too close to your subject with your camera. “Since the cameras aren’t recording from the exact same point of view, you need to avoid having objects too close,” says Tohmé. “Otherwise you can end up with some parallax issues.” Those issues can be corrected with post-processing software, but it’s still best for beginners to either try to get it right in camera, or avoid getting close at all. “When beginning in 360-video creation, start with simple cases where you don’t have close objects,” Tohmé recommends.
Don’t Start Without Proper Equipment and Settings
We probably don’t have to tell you this, but you’ll want to do your homework before taking on a new camera, let alone a new medium. So if you’re starting out with 360-degree video, be sure you’re doing it with the right equipment and settings. Kolor has found a few that work best. “We use 6 GoPro Hero 4 Black cameras, because the resolution gives great results, but also because the higher number of frames per second enables better synchronization,” says Tohmé. He also points first-timers to a list of recommended settings for the camera, including everything from resolution to frame rate. The better you’re set up from the start, the gentler the learning curve will be.
Don’t Forget That Great Content Is Still the Key
Mastering 360 video isn’t just about learning the technical hows; it’s also about remembering why you need to master the tech. In the end, the ultimate goal is to create great content. “This subject is very new and requires some skills, so we need to train people on how to record and stitch videos to get perfect results,” says Tohmé. “Our goal is to enable them to create the best immersive content. Great content is the key to success for the spreading of 360-degree videos among the masses.”
Explore a selection of 360 video clips on Pond5 in the collection above. We’re just getting started here too, so stay tuned as our 360 library grows!