Shooting 360 with a multi camera set up is hard and here is why everything that can go wrong goes wrong when you start recording. If your are new to spherical video check out this video and read on why it is not (yet) as easy as it seems to produce quality 360 video.
I recently was able to work with three different 360 rigs. Each of them based on different camera models. 6x goPro Hero3 black edition, 6x SJCAM4000 and 6x Hero Session. Before the shoot everyone made sure that cards are formatted and ready to go the next day. You think all is good to go, but in reality so many things can go wrong with a multi camera set up. For a better 360 shooting experience here is some insight into what went wrong and how you can avoid it.
#1 Getting the settings right on all cameras
Having different rigs and camera models we had to go and boot up each goPro and double check that all the settings are good. It takes a couple of minutes and be sure to do it before the shoot, not during.
Solution: Think well ahead and prepare your equipment.
#2 goPro Remote random disconnecting & kills camera operation.
You get the cameras finally going and run off to escape from the field of view so your not in the shot. You look at the remote and see one camera operational, you curse at the damn remote. You would assume that the camera can handle a disconnecting remote but no, you wonder what is going on. You have to reset each camera and your Oscar shot just got ruined.
Solution: Next time start shooting and just leave it next to the rig don’t run around with it, not worth it.
#3 Battery life
Even a 400 euro battery bank can just decide to freeze up. If you don’t make sure all your cameras are charged you will cry.
Solution: Charge your batteries good and get a proper battery bank.
#4 People who you shoot don’t understand how stiching works
and make your life more complicated in post production by waving flags infront of the rig or getting too close. When shooting live events this is bound to happen. People will screw with the stiching if your don’t tell them what they can and can’t do.
Solution: Explain to all the actors how the rig works and what are its limitations.
#5 Moving shots in 360 are cool but stabilization in 360 is a super hard. Do not walk with a 360 rig without a GOOD gimbal.. I know, the idea of seeing a world from the perspective of your eyes may sound good and is looking ok using a smartphone for viewing but it’s a terrible experience wearing HMD. I have not yet seen a good 360 stabilization gimbal / setup that would be ideal. Cost is factor and the equipment can be seen in the field of view of the camera.
Solution: Try to avoid at all costs running with the rig. If your story needs motion then make it sutle, use a dolly or skateboard if you are on a budget. Keep in mind that if your shots a shakey you will have a hard time stiching it together and your viewers won’t enjoy the video (even if its amazing) when everything on camera seems like under a earthquake. Keep it as steady as possible.
Example (cool video, no stabilization):
#6 You wonder why the goPro just switches off. They love to overheat and when you have 6 of them the chances of one crashing from overheating increases dramaticaly. When this happens it becomes a drag, file names get mixed up and just plain is something that should not happen.
Solution: Try to cool them in any way possible. Put some heatsinks on the cameras, blow a fan at the rig, shoot during winter outside or even consider changing the 360 camera setup so the cameras don’t touch eachother too much. You are not the first, not the last person who’s goPro decided to overheat and shut down. Combat it with style.
Image Source: https://360video.fb.com/learn/
Tips suggested by Reddit user rafal1
#7 Please give me some time to look around at the scene before you cut it! There are many many videos with amazing content, but their duration is mostly under 2 minutes, still they consists of multiple scenes/cuts. You can imagine how fast we have to move our head around to see everything, not to mention adaptation time required to every new scene.
Solution: Try to keep the pace the speed of cuts in editing more time and space. Your viewers will have more time to enjoy the scenes and get immersed in the experience
Example (cutting here is a little too much):
#8 Record/leave ambient sound. Immersion is a king in VR and 360 Videos while still not perfect, can be a great experience. Let me immerse myself in the world, I don’t want to listen to some cheap Creative Common YouTube tune. If you didn’t recorded the sound, maybe add some ambient sounds like a sound of city, nauture, sea?
Solution: Get a pair of high quality mics / Zoom Recordered or use Binaural Sound
Example (what NOT to do):