Do’s and Don’ts of shooting 360 content
The world of 360 is growing by the minute. Thanks to new innovative technology, such as in-camera stitching, taking 360 video is now easier than ever. That being said, in order to shoot the 360 content you desire, best practices should still be followed. These guidelines, in this case, Do’s and Don’ts, set the stage for creating truly stunning, truly immersive 360 content with your 360Penguin.
Do: Clean lens regularly with a microfiber cloth
You can’t see great content if your 360Penguin can’t see. Cleaning your lens regularly with a microfiber cloth cannot be overstated. A lens with smudges can give you blurred results or could cause extreme flares from light sources. Make sure to check your lens before every use.
Don’t: Point the camera directly at the sun or other light sources
Pointing the 360Penguin, or any other 360 camera, directly at the bright light will cause a very noticeable seam line because each lens is getting a different amount of light. You can avoid this by pointing the side of the camera at the light source, this way the light is balanced across both lenses. Make sure to identify the main source of light before shooting your content.
Do: Use a fast memory card
Using a fast memory card is recommended for shooting in 360. Due to the fact most 360 cameras shoot in high-resolution 4K, most SD cards can’t cope with such large files. High-speed SD cards are more expensive, however well worth it. To further understand SD cards you should first know the four class ratings, 2, 4, 6, and 10. These ratings indicate the minimum number of megabytes each card can process. Class 2 cards can handle standard video, whereas classes 4 and 6 are adequate enough for standard HD video. A class 10 card, such as the SanDisk Extreme Plus, is faster than required for standard video and perfect for shooting 360. It’s important to note that a card that has a sustained write speed of 90 megabytes per second receives the same class 10 rating as a 12 megabyte per second card.
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Don’t: Have the most important parts of your scene in the overlap
Whatever the focal point of your image or video may be, make sure it is lined up directly with a lens. If it isn’t, the main focal point of your content will appear distorted. Especially when you are too close to the lens. Notice in this image, my face is directly in the stitch line, therefore appearing distorted.
Do: Keep your distance
360 cameras like the 360Penguin use fish-eye lenses, which cause distorted images when objects are to close. Additionally, the seam becomes more noticeable the closer objects are to the camera. To avoid this keep objects a couple feet away from the camera.
Don’t: Be close minded
The capabilities of 360 video are almost endless. Therefore think outside the box, don’t conform to online forums telling you to always shoot at a particular angle. Sure, if your mission is to capture point of view (which will be the case probably 95% of the time), then obviously you would shoot at eye level. However, capturing angles rarely seen before can be very captivating for your audience. For example, having a camera above and below a drone can create a fully spherical image, without the drone in the picture.
Do: Pay attention to the resolution
Paying attention to resolution is vital, as is understanding that screen resolutions in 360 are much different than standard screen resolutions. Common 360 viewing platforms, such as the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset, only allows the user a 90 degree viewing range at a time. So the viewer only sees a quarter of the possible output resolution. For example, only 500 pixels are seen in a 2K (2,000 x 1,000 pixels) video. When uploading to social media outlets like Facebook and YouTube, cameras like the 360Penguin should be kept at 4K even though they have the ability to shoot at a higher resolution. YouTube and Facebook only recognize resolution as high as standard 4K, which is 3840 x 1920. Make sure your camera settings are at 4K and 24M in photo mode. See our in depth article on why 360 resolution is so important!
Don’t: Forget to charge
This is the very definition of common sense, however its something the author of this blog forgets all too often. It’s important to remember battery life lasts much longer when not connected to a smartphone, so be mindful of this. The 360Penguin (Now available on Kickstarter!), for example, has a battery life of roughly 90 minutes, so be sure to charge your camera after every use.
Since its release upon the world several years ago, 360 content continues to push the limits of possibility!
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