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The Amazing And Exciting World Of 360 Degree Immersive Video Production

The film-making production process has evolved incredibly over the past few decades. What once was just a camera and a person or dolly has transformed to a range of filming techniques and equipment to better enhance your film production. One of the most exciting new tools for filmmakers like us at Team Creative (Melbourne), is 360 degree immersive video.

360 degree video is an immersive film technology that records a video such that the environment is recorded from all angles to capture any 360 degree space. The execution of the recording can be completed either through a single 360 degree camera or with multiple cameras placed in different areas to capture the entire scene from all angles. The complete viewing of any environment from a 360 degree video production service (like ours) can then be viewed and interacted with on all types of screens – from a smartphone or tablet to a computer or television or a VR headset for the full immersive experience. When viewing on a screen, the user will experience the feeling of being ‘the Director’ of the film and in full control of the environment, deciding what direction to go in and what view or angle to experience. Common examples of 360-degree footage can be found in Google and Apple Maps or a property walk-through in real estate. By immersing prospective property buyer in the environment 360 degree film allows the person to place themselves in the situation and imagine themselves in the space as if they live or work there.

As mentioned, this experience can be enhanced with a VR headset, fully immersing a user within the 360-degree environment. In this case, the person becomes immersed in the experience and has a total feeling of being ‘within’ the environment and in control of where they would like to ‘go’ within that environment. These types of videos are also easily accessible and user friendly with compatible platforms such as Facebook and YouTube where 360-degree video productions can be streamed and shared for all to experience.

360 degree video production for VR

360-degree video is an excellent tool for virtual reality experiences as it fully immerses a user in their environment and can transport them to a place they would normally never be able to experience or which would be hard to get to due to time, cost or safety issues. If a place can be filmed with a 360 degree camera, then anyone can ‘go’ there. After putting on a VR headset, a user can gain a full perspective of their virtual surroundings and move around much like they would in person. Imagine the relaxing power of a meditation VR experience under a tropical waterfall in Vanuatu, a workplace experience from the top of a crane, sitting at the top of a skyscraper in New York, or a limestone cave diving experience in South Australia. The person having the experience is not just viewing, they feel like a participant, with all the feelings that particular place and situation brings. The brain does not differentiate between the virtual and the real world. This aspect of 360 degree VR experiences provides for a genuinely engaging, highly effective learning environment, making VR produced through 360 degree film extremely valuable for use in many areas including education, careers exploration, corporate and workplace training, game development and brand experiences to name a few.

The possibilities that 360 degree filmmaking offers for immersive experiences in places all over the world, are almost unlimited. On top of this, there are countless exciting opportunities with 360-degree filming when it gets to the VR production stage. The film can be produced as a VR experience with the footage alone, or it can have animated, interactive elements added to the footage and the experience. Combining overlaid animation and interactive elements to your 360 degree video experience will create a truly immersive VR environment propelling the participant to a stronger physical and emotional reaction to the experience and better learning outcomes.

Equipment and production tips for 360 degree film making

Much like any film production, 360-degree video production requires a knowledgeable team with the right equipment and skill set. One piece of essential equipment needed for 360-degree filming, is a tripod. Keeping your 360 degree camera stable is important for the finished film to be seamless and stable. Sneaky issues to watch out for include lighting. Lighting is important to a viewer’s engagement with a film. With 360-degree filming, consistent lighting is needed to avoid uneven or low light issues showing up on screen. With uneven light, you run the risk of having stitch lines that disrupt the flow of the 360 degree journey and in lowlight, experience patchy, grainy content much like you would with a regular video camera. Working with experienced 360-degree filmmakers in Melbourne like our 360 degree video production team at Team Creative, you can avoid these risks and create a realistic, highly engaging, 360 degree immersive video.

360 video production Melbourne

Looking for a 360 video production company with the ability and drive to create a unique and effective 360-degree immersive video experience in Melbourne or any other city? Our creative team is yours. Contact Team Creative today.

Frequently Asked Questions: 360 Degree Immersive Video Production For VR

1. How do you shoot a scene with a 360 degree video camera?

When you shoot a scene with a 360 degree camera you capture the full scene as if the entire environment was encapsulated in a sphere. In the end result in an edited film, you see an environment from every angle – front, up, down, behind, side to side. Because of this nature of this type of videography, it poses some challenges when shooting that you won’t get with a regular film camera. The main thing to consider is that you will want to be at the ‘centre’ of the area you wish to capture and you will need to do that with a tripod. For the scene itself, you need to ‘stage manage’ all aspects in all directions – remember, we are not just capturing a frontal view, it’s everywhere. Therefore, 360 degree filmmakers includes consideration of the tripod itself as it will often be captured along with everything else. Depending on your 360 degree camera or editing program it is likely you will have an edit feature that removes the tripod automatically. Check this before you shoot. Aside from the post production (editing) all other aspects of the actual shoot with 360 degree camera are similar or the same considerations as you would give to a regular shoot with any video camera such as lighting, resolution, frame rate, compositional rules and filters.

2. What is the difference between 360 degree film and regular film shooting?

For the purpose of this answer, we will call 360 degree filmmaking ‘immersive VR filmmaking’ and standard videography ‘traditional filmmaking’. Aside from the fact that a 360 degree camera has two or more lenses, these are the main differences:

  1. The viewpoint
  • Immersive VR filmmaking: because the view is essentially a sphere, the viewpoint can be anywhere. As an immersive experience, the viewer can choose their preferred view!
  • Traditional filmmaking: the person ‘watching’ the film has no control over the shot – they just see what the director and editor shows them at any moment.
  1. Interactivity
  • Immersive VR filmmaking: the ability to actively choose where you want to look in a scene is the interactive element that helps define the ‘immersive’ nature of 360 degree film and VR experience.
  • Traditional filmmaking: the person ‘can view the film but not interact – it is a passive experience with no inclusion by the viewer except perhaps to stop, pause, FF or rewind.
  1. Dimensional storytelling
  • Immersive VR filmmaking: because you can see every angle in an environment in a 360 degree film a Director can allow multiple aspects of the story to play out in different areas of view at the same time. This is an exciting new nonlinear way to tell a story on film and is a bit like being at the centre of a multidimensional stage play where all the action and potentially multiple parts of the story are happening all around you. At Team Creative we call this Dimensional Storytelling.
  • Traditional filmmaking: as we all know, regular films go from a ‘start’ to an ‘end’ point following a linear narrative entirely controlled by the Director.
  1. Approach to Production
  • Immersive VR filmmaking: when you shoot 360 degree film you can’t have people ‘behind’ a camera or anything else – there is no behind! So your approach to production needs to be mindful of ‘hiding’ lights, people and other production elements as all will be captured on the film. With sound, you can really emphasize the space with ambisonic audio microphones.
  • Traditional filmmaking: the Cinematographer and Director shoot ‘forwards’ with standard camera equipment and lenses and set a particular frame in which they control all parts.
  1. Approach to Edit and Post Production
  • Immersive VR filmmaking: multiple pieces of footage from a 360 degree camera shoot needs to be stitched because of the fact that multiple cameras / lenses captured the footage and it needs to be turned into a ‘sphere’ showing an environment in 360 degrees. Most 360 degree cameras have edit software to assist this potentially difficult task.
  • Traditional filmmaking: the film edit takes pieces of footage from regular cameras and cuts them together in a ‘line’ (linear narrative) which is how the film story unfolds.
  1. Viewing Experience
  • Immersive VR filmmaking: to ‘experience’ 360 degree film at the optimum level, requires a VR headset. In this, you enter the scene and can then explore it from every angle. Overlaid on top of the footage, there might be other animated or interactive elements, adding to the story, engagement level and the feelings it evokes.

Traditional filmmaking: a regular film produced in a traditional way can be experienced on any screen – from a phone to a theatre. Rather than being interactive it is a more passive experience.

3. What are the uses of 360 degree video in business?

The uses of immersive 360 degree film are wide and varied across industries and business types. We won’t try to give you an exhaustive list of examples, but here are a few key areas where this type of immersive film making is being used in business:

Virtual Tours

360 degree film finds a natural use in real estate. People like the idea of a ‘walk through’ and to explore a potential home or business environment in this way.

Workplace Training 

Scenes can be set up and shot in 360 degree video to simulate the work environment and workplace scenarios for employees who can experience them. This VR training technique creates ‘empathy’ in participants so is useful for not just hard skills (such as its use in construction and mining) but also communications and management scenarios.

Product Releases

Some product sales will benefit by allowing a potential customer to experience a 360 degree view of them. Cars are a great example and you will probably have visited a car manufacturer’s website where you can view both inside and outside a new vehicle through a 360 degree image.

Career Exploration

At Team Creative we know directly, via our years of work with Mindflight7, the VR education and careers exploration innovator from Melbourne, that workplace simulations and careers experiences are a fantastic way to use 360 degree film. Young people get to explore a wide variety of workplaces ahead of their subject and career direction decision making – a great way to ‘try before they buy’ so to speak!

Marketing and Advertising

Because if its potential for high engagement and fun, 360 degree video can greatly assist all areas of marketing and advertising. Think about VR brand experiences in a virtual retail store or the ability to ‘go’ to a place – perfect for tourism and destination marketing.

Healthcare and Emergency Services Training

360 degree video can capture realistic medical and emergency scenarios. Whether that might be a simulation of a heart attack, a fire, a car accident, a distressed swimmer or some other emergency, training for these scenarios in an immersive VR environment through 360 degree video is a highly effective way to expose and prepare staff and employees to a possible future event.

4. How do you edit a 360 degree film?

Most 360 degree cameras in 2023 come with their own footage stitching and editing software or the manufacturer recommends editing software that will be effective for footage from their camera. This has reduced some of the previous complexity of editing for 360 degree film as much of the more difficult set up work is automated or semi-automated. Once you have your scene stitched together adding elements such as text or animations can be completed with your 360 degree edit software as well. You’ll need to think differently to traditional film post production about placement of all elements that go ‘above’ the film as well as any transitions to a new scene. A straight cut won’t cut it! Finally, remember that the person who will see this will likely be wearing a VR headset. This makes your approach to the sound, a whole new dimension to think about too. Explore the uses of sound in a 360 degree environment that are impossible in a regular film. Spacial audio, ambisonic audio, binaural audio and positional audio should all be considered to really bring your 360 degree space to life.

5. What is the best type of 360 degree camera?

The 360 degree camera you buy will depend on your needs and budget. Luckily you will find a great range of 360 degree camera options out there. After looking at many, we have selected a couple of models we like the most but please do your own research as you might have a different opinion! Rather than going into lots of written detail below, we’ve provided product links for you to get the full picture for each camera’s features and benefits.

For making cinematic level 8K video content this is our pro level 360 camera pick

The ‘Titan’ is a brilliant camera, but it’s firmly professional level. Bear in mind that if you are thinking of using it for the creation of VR experiences on Meta Quest 2 VR devices, you will not be able to get the benefit of its super detailed and dense 11k footage at the moment.  Now check out these two…

The Insta360 Pro and the Insta360 Pro 2 

These two 360 degree cameras are great, packed with features and represent serious alternatives to the Titan. Among other things you’ll love, they have excellent output and remote viewing/control.  One thing to remember is that these three cameras are likely going to get better and cheaper as time goes on, so you may look at leasing or hire first as a ‘toe in the water’ before you make the big investment here.

For making very high quality 6K video content

We love the Insta360 1 RS one inch 360 edition.

This is a truly excellent 360 degree camera that shoots at 6k which is more than enough for a VR device right now.  Its large sensor (1 inch, hence the name) means it has more dynamic range than others like the Insta360 One RS or the X3 and so can shoot in lower light, and is a camera deliberately designed for 360 shooting.

The 1 RS body is a modular design that can do GoPro style shooting with the correct lens. It has a remote control function via an app, but with less range than the pro versions – it does mean you can record and monitor a shoot from out of frame (10m ish away) – making it better than other comparable camera such as the Ricoh Theta options that both charge you for the control app and have far less monitoring capability. It has 90 minutes of battery life on paper, though as this is a modular design, you can buy an additional battery – you will need to plan shoots carefully. Just note that there is a reported overheating issue you might want to research. But overall – it’s a very good 360 degree camera in our professional opinion at Team Creative.

360 degree camera accessories

For any 360 degree shoot, there are a number of accessories that would obviously be beneficial to purchase. An invisible mount is one, as is a second battery or extra multiple batteries depending on where you want to shoot and how easy / hard it might be to capture your whole shoot with the minimum number of batteries.  Additionally you might want to purchase a single lens to get GoPro style shots and a microphone jack so you are not only relying on the built-in microphones.

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