360° Video: Capturing

A rapidly growing trend in content delivery, 360° video is an immersive, thrilling and memorable user experience.  With a video production division and an immersive digital division, Current is set up to produce 360° video in a number of mediums.  Since the technology is still in its relative infancy, we wanted to share our perspective on it as a powerful tool and introduce you to some of the options and players in the market as well as our vision for the future.

 360° video, like all video, can be broken into three equally important steps in the pipeline; Capture, Post and Delivery. We will dive into all three in this article. 



 The filming or shooting of your video sequence is just the beginning. A 360° video camera is essential to this process and there are several in options in market. 

 Some are designed to only shoot complete 360°.  An example would be Immersive Media Hex ( http://immersivemedia.com/?page_id=89 ) which records at 12mp and captures 80% of the 360° spherical field of view.  It just leaves a hole at the bottom where the stand is.  



There are also several options of rigs that incorporate a series of Go Pros locked into a device that are synced together and all filming simultaneously. http://www.360heros.com

While the quality of the video captured is great with the Go Pros, the post-production process is more taxing as you have to use software to stitch the videos together. 

On the low end for personal or guerrilla use, you can use one of the mirrored base solutions.  Basically, these options use a traditional video camera pointed at a spherical mirror to record all directions at once.  The output is cylindrical, meaning the user isn’t able to view above and below the camera.  Some even have adaptors for your smart phone.  These are certainly more accessible to the general consumer, and result in a pretty cool final product, but the quality is nowhere near what you would experience with the options listed above.  These wouldn’t be suitable for Oculus or web deployments, but are great for quick, on-the-go sharing of 360° video. The output must be processed and viewed in a particular companion app to the hardware, so the suitability for sharing isn’t as easy as posting to Instagram.  For a cool example, check out GoPano. http://www.gopano.com



Although we haven't worked with this product (because it isn't available yet), we are excited to see what the 360 fly can do. 



Now that we’ve introduced the hardware, it’s not enough to just go out and start filming.  The process takes considerable planning.  For example, how do you light a 360° video without the lights being visible to the user?  Hiding lighting rigs behind objects can be a tactful way to shoot at night or filming during the day in high-light environments will avoid the issue entirely.  Production value in 360° video is just as important as in regular video and hiring a seasoned production company will give you this.

In our next post we will talk about stitching and editing your 360° video in post production.