Seven Final Lessons in 360-Degree Video

I finally finished the 360-degree video short course. The first weeks offered an overview of virtual reality and 360-degree video and the following weeks moved into pre-production and gear. The final weeks covered editing and other considerations. I found this module the least helpful of the three as it relied on external videos and offered little verbiage to stitch (see what I did there?) the information into a coherent lesson. Either way, here are seven more takeways from those final lessons.

1. In for the long… take.

When editing 360-degree video, rely on longer takes and fewer cuts. A long take refers to any shot that extends for long enough seconds to feel, well, long. The long take offers art and novelty in traditional cinema. But in 360-degree video it seems almost a requirement in order avoid breaking the illusion of the immersion, or presence.

2. Once again, let it go.

In traditional 2D filming, editing offers an immense form of control when it comes to choosing the right images to create the best visuals and tell the compelling story. Instead of creating tension, cutaways create confusion in 360-degree video. Instead of creating intimacy, extreme close-ups create discomfort at being too close to the depicted person’s virtual space and face.

3. Redefining your center.

And no, not through meditation. Filming in 360-degree video creates a centerpoint across the image. Sometimes that centerpoint falls on an interesting place, while other times the more interesting point of interest is to the left or right. Editing can help with putting the center on that more compelling point of interest. “Om.”

4. Check all the platforms and devices.

This item refers to any video or content placed online — check to ensure that it performs the way it’s supposed to. For 360-degree video and other applications, that means testing it on all the platforms and devices it might appear, such as Vimeo 360-degree hosting or a headset file.

5. Say cheese! Or tofu, if you’d rather.

Using text and titles to a 360-degree video provides a way to add important information that all users will see. When used sparingly, text and titles can be a powerful addition to an experience. But adding the titles right to the video without altering them will cause them to curve into a smile when the video is rendered for 360-degree viewing. Extra steps are needed in editing to make the text align with the horizon.

6. Kodak? No, codec.

A codec is a program that encodes and decodes a digital data stream. The term is a shortened version of “coder-decoder.” Two of the encoding options available for 4K 360-degree video include H264, which is considered standard, and H265, which offers higher quality.

7. Where to share it?

Options for uploading and sharing 360-degree video include Vimeo, YouTube, and Facebook.

Overall, the course provided an adequate overview of 360-degree video and virtual reality production. I would like to learn more about ambisonic sound and its role within creating attention and experiences, as, perhaps not surprisingly, sound was overlooked in this course. Now just to find an affordable ambisonic microphone.

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