We created a 3D 360 Video for the Children's Media Conference. It took several days shooting at a number of wildlife parks around Yorkshire in order to provide an experience that would be fun and memorable.
It was a pleasure to be involved with, especially when the animals didn’t behave.
Behind the Velvet Rope
In order to provide the viewer with a unique and exciting experience, we place the camera in an area not typically available to the audience — such as within a penguin enclosure, or amongst the lemur population of a local wildlife park. This delivers an experience that allows the audience a sense of privilege, without the smell or cleaning bill.*
Illusion and Immersion
To give the viewer the best experience there will ideally be more than one focal point, providing a reason for them to explore the footage. If there is only one focal point then you must question the validity of shooting in VR in the first place.
Sometimes it is unavoidable that the action will primarily take place in a specific direction. If this is the case, make sure the camera is standing free from its surroundings so when the viewer does turn around, they’re not met with a wall or otherwise blank surface.
Before hitting record, you must plan your escape. When shooting with a 3D 360 camera, the director cannot stand near the camera. While its possible to use a smartphone app that allows you to start recording remotely, there will inevitably be footage of you disappearing behind trees.
Knowing where you’re going to secrete yourself will make the footage of you disappearing before each take appear less creepy.
In order to cement the sense of immersion, it is important to avoid placing the stitch seams over any focal points. Even after repair work has taken place, objects moving across these seams will inevitably show some level of distortion.
In a Pinch
The footage inevitably bunches up into a ‘pinch point’ at the crown and base of the video, it can be fixed in post by adding in a photo-shopped patch. Ideally, you would use imagery captured on location with a secondary camera.
If you’re filming something tall or something passing overhead, then a simple fix is to tilt the camera on the tripod, rotating the top and bottom pinch points back and forwards respectively. You can undo this tilt in editing.
Anything you can do to tempt your ‘star’ to come closer to the camera, especially if the motive feels organic, will enhance the stereoscopic experience.
However, if they come too close then it can become uncomfortable for the viewer. For example, if a lemur climbs on top of the actual camera, places a foot on one lens and defecates on the other lens, the 3D experience can be marred and the footage becomes potentially unusable.