Why you need to ditch what you learned with cameras to shoot 360 video

( Agencies ) Updated: 2016-07-30 07:02:39

Why you need to ditch what you learned with cameras to shoot 360 video

'Gear 360' camera by Samsung[Photo provided to China Daily]

As cameras that shoot 360-degree photos and videos become affordable, curious users will face a new challenge: Figuring out how to take meaningful and compelling shots in what's effectively a new medium.

With 360, it's tough to stay out of the shot, as there's no hiding behind the lens. And old video habits - like following subjects as they move - will die hard. Whoever holds the camera no longer controls the field of vision. With 360, viewers do that in virtual-reality headsets, phones or computers.

Some phone apps can create 360-degree photos by stitching together images, similar to a panoramic shot, but a 360-degree camera is required for video. Ricoh's 360-degree Theta S camera sells for $350 and LG's 360 Cam costs $200. Samsung is also coming out with one this year.

Diving into 360 video means ditching traditional techniques that work well with smartphones and other cameras; doing otherwise means lots of dull 360 photos and videos. This is a new way of capturing the physical world, and it's as distinct from normal photography as television was from radio. It takes trial and error to create immersive clips that will make viewers feel as though they are there.

Videos become selfies

360-degree cameras work by stitching together images from two or more lenses. It's hard to stay out of the shot, even with the camera turned sideways, because the ultra-wide lenses are designed to capture everything, from top to bottom.

It's possible to minimize unintended selfies by holding the camera well overhead, although any viewer who looks down during playback will see a hand. A tripod helps - as long as strangers don't run off with the camera.

There may be times the shooter wants to be part of the shot. A 360-degree camera works well then. It can capture the shooter's reaction as a kid lodges water balloons. Roller coaster videos are also popular for seeing - not just hearing - riders screaming.

Forget framing, avoid panning

With ordinary video, people are conditioned to move the camera to follow the subject. Do this in 360, and it'll make viewers dizzy. Folks watching the video will be moving their heads when using a virtual-reality headset or moving the phone with an app like YouTube. While shooting, it's OK to walk forward or backward slowly if necessary - just avoid panning to the left or right.

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