A Beginner’s Guide to Shooting VR/360° Footage: Tips from the Pros at SubVRsive
VR isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. With film giants such as Steven Spielberg, Guillermo Del Toro, and Jon Favreau rallying behind the technology, it’s fair to say we can expect VR and 360 footage to reach new heights in the coming years.
This seismic shift in video tech presents a brave new world for filmmakers and videographers—one which allows creatives to stretch the limits of their storytelling while presenting new and often intimidating challenges. Our partners Austin Mace and Ryan Thomas from SubVRsive have spent years navigating these uncharted waters. Their industry-leading cinematic VR experiences take viewers into the narrative and allow filmmakers to tell a truly immersive story.
We interviewed Austin and Ryan to find out the four biggest mistakes new videographers make when diving into VR/360. By avoiding these common mishaps, you’ll be well on your way to budding 360/VR producer.
Mistake #1: Shaky, Uneven Footage
Austin and Ryan’s Advice: With 360 video—and especially with content destined to be watched on a headset—user comfort is paramount. This medium is much less forgiving when viewed in a virtual reality headset than traditional video viewed on a screen, so it is critical that the sensory inputs you are showing matches the viewer’s own physical movements. If you aren’t careful, or the movements aren’t natural, you can make your viewers physically sick.
Usually, people experience VR sickness either because the camera is moving in an unsteady way or because the horizon in the scene is not level. The good news is that both of these are easily fixed by properly locking down a shot, moving the camera steadily, and making sure that the horizon stays level.
Pro Tip: Give your audience frames of reference to rationalize why a camera is moving, or keep the camera moving steadily in one direction. To give viewers a frame of reference while still achieving movement, try showing the viewer why they are moving. For example, if you put the camera on a boat to move across a lake or in a car to drive across the desert, viewers can ground themselves in the vehicle and understand why they are moving the way that they are.
Similarly to motion sickness, however, not everyone experiences VR sickness in the same way. Some people have a higher tolerance for comfort, whereas other may experience it with even minimal movement.
Photo Credit: Clark Terrell
Mistake #2: Too Many—Or Too Few—Cuts
A and R: First-time 360 video creators treat the editing process similarly to that of a traditional video. This can result in too many cuts being made—throwing off the pacing of the video and losing the viewer’s attention. While each case is different, longer holds on shots work reasonably well in 360 video, as it allows viewers to acclimate and explore before moving the story along.
Mistake #3: Impatience
A and R: Like any creative craft with a technical side, shooting, stitching, and patching 360 and VR video takes years to refine and master. Over time, you will refine your craft and become more savvy at spotting and addressing technical issues either before they happen or through clever masking techniques in post production.
Photo Credit: Clark Terrell
Mistake #4: The Scavenger Hunt Trope
A and R: A number of 360 videos like to treat the medium as a scavenger hunt. This has quickly become cliché and overused. Instead of continuing this trope, find unique and interesting ways to use the medium to tell a story.
Pro Tip: Experiment, fail, ideate and iterate. There are no masters of the medium yet- use that to your advantage.
So what do you say—are you ready to shoot your own 360 stock? Spark your creativity by taking a (virtual) walk through SubVRsive’s collection of gorgeous VR footage. To get the creative juices flowing, we’ve attached a few of our favorite clips.
|Immerse Yourself in SubVRsive Stock!|
Lead image courtesy of Clark Terrell.