Shooting video with a 360-degree camera like the new Kodak PIXPRO SP360 takes a slightly different mindset. Throw away what you’ve learned about shooting with a normal camera — there’s a new format in town.
360-degree video is a whole new beast. You can’t think of it the same way as traditional video. And THAT is a bit of a mind bender.
After all, shooting video really hasn’t changed ever. Going back in time, you used many of the same techniques whether you shot on an iPhone, mini camcorder, shoulder camcorder or old school reel-to-reel camera.
As the agency in charge of the Kodak PIXPRO SP360 launch campaign, we’ve had some time to play with their new video camera. We’ve shot the painting of a 14-foot x 28-foot mural, six gymnasts simultaneously jumping on four pro-grade trampolines, a six-year-old’s birthday party, traffic along the Golden Gate Bridge, and much more.
Here’s some of what we’ve learned.
Think Two Cameras, Not One
A camera like the PIXPRO SP360 is really two video cameras in one. It’s easy to use it as a simple fisheye camera like a GoPro — and it works amazing in that function. But it ALSO works as a 360-degree video camera, which is WAY cooler and takes some different thinking. That’s where the tips below come in.
Get In The Action, Not Outside It
To take full advantage of the 360 angles, it requires getting inside the action. Your instinct will be to step back to capture everything. Instead, step IN and let the action unfold AROUND the camera. Don’t try to frame everything up in a single field of view. Step into the scene and let the action unfold around the camera.
Look At The Sides
Don’t point the camera at action. Instead, think about the action happening on all sides of the camera. That means you’ll actually be “pointing” the camera AWAY from the action. Most likely, the lens will be pointing at the sky so the camera can capture all the action happening in 360 around it on the ground.
Start And Stop
You are less likely to edit together a bunch of 360 clips. You are much more likely to upload a single clip of action that people can look around within. Because of that, it is much better to film in 30-second to 90-second increments to capture a full clip of action that can live on its own and be experienced from within by the viewer.
The Camera Creates The Horizon
You’re likely used to shooting video from eye- or chest-level. Go lower. Like ankle- or knee-level. Since you are capturing the action happening on the sides of the camera, you need to go low so you can capture the full action happening around the camera. The bottom of the camera creates the horizon of the video, so you’ll likely have to go low to capture the whole scene.
The Video Starts Opposite The Screw Hole
360-degree video means the viewer can look anywhere. But, the video has to START somewhere. With the PIXPRO SP360, the viewer will first see the framing opposite the screw hole. So, if there is a framing you want the viewer to see first, make sure the screw hole is opposite that location.
Go One Second At A Time
Action is rarely happening everywhere at once in real-time. Going with stop-motion increases the likelihood of action happening more frequently in 360. Go with one- or two-seconds per shot when you want to understand what is going on in the scene, go with 10- or 30-seconds per shot when you are trying to capture colors and motion only.
Take Off More Than The Lens Cap
The PIXPRO SP360 has a protective lens. Even with the protective lens, the quality of the video is exceptional. But, if you know the camera is safe, don’t be afraid to take off the protective lens. This can be especially useful outside where sun glare might create a lens flare. Just be sure nothing is going to knick the main lens!
So, basically: get inside the action, low to the ground, with an eye to the sides of the camera, screw hole facing away from the starting frame, lens protector off in safe environments, and take short clips!