As a filmmaker, understanding the emerging mediums available in the industry is essential to staying ahead of the technological curve. Most recently this has seen the advent and rise of 360 degree video emerging from within the film industry. So why has it become so popular?
Aside from the exciting challenges and considerations for the capturing footage in 360, it’s in many cases a better way to connect with an audience and show them an entire environment. Often a one-sided view will no longer be good enough, now filmmakers must start to understand and consider much more depth in a scene for a 360 film when shooting. Here are a few tips for using a 360 camera to prepare your budding filmmakers for the inclusion of 360 video going forward.
- No Close-Ups
One of the limitations of a 360 camera is that they generally use 2 fish-eye lenses to create the extensively wide view and then stitch the two images together for the spherical effect. This means that the closer a subject is to the camera, the more it distorts. For filmmakers, this reduces the ability to use close-up shots with this medium… which can hinder dramatic effect and cinematography.
- Gateway Filming
360 degree video opens the doors for virtual reality age filmmaking, allowing VR headsets to immerse the viewer, so that they take the perspective of the camera. While this is an excellent experience, it needs extra consideration for filmmakers. Great care is needed to ensure the audience isn’t overwhelmed and are encouraged to look at the right space, particularly in busy scenes so they don’t miss the narrative and the message.
- Beware of Seam Lines
We mentioned above about the image stitching for a 360 camera. This means, that at some point, there will be a seam line where the two images meet. In some instances, you’ll easily be able to marry this up so that it is unnoticeable, for example in dark scenes or when adjoining grass and sky where the colours blend well. Unfortunately, this won’t always be the case. You’ll have to ensure that while filming, the seam line does not fall within a critical area of the frame, for instance, the main subject or characters being sliced in half and oddly reattached.
- Bye Bye Tripod
A tripod is usually considered to be an essential piece of equipment for a student filmmaker, however you’ll have no use for it with a 360 camera. This is because the legs generally protrude into the shot and instead you’ll have to opt for a monopod or camera with travel specifications so that it can handle extra shaky ground when shooting. You need to ensure that your equipment as a whole does not have any appendages which could be captured in the shot, instead opting for dials or knobs for control.
- Consider Audience Positioning
In 360 films, the camera takes on the role of the audience which means you’ll need to ensure that their positioning is correct in and out of the scene. If they are meant to be a bystander, the subject needs to be fairly close so that you could realistically be able to hear. Alternatively, if the audience is a witness or spectator you’ll need to create an environment where they aren’t exposed, offering coverings in the frame. How you incorporate the camera and audience positioning is the choice of the filmmaker, however remembering the perspective is key.
It’s an exciting time for filmmakers, particularly with the evolution of new waves of technology. So don’t keep your students in the dark, instead introduce them to the advantages and limitations of 360 degree filmmaking.