360-degree video and photo production process

In a previous article, we dove into how to create a script for a 360 VR experience. Here, we’re outlining how to organize and execute a successful 360 VR shoot. The key is in being prepared for the production process. Unless you properly prepare, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and a lot of money for hours of unusable footage. Below, we cover three phases: Preparing for the Shoot, During the Shoot, and After the Shoot.

Production checklist

  1. Prepare for the shoot:
    1. Test your gear (video, audio).
    2. Make sure everything is charged.
  2. During the shoot:
    1. Setup the gear (camera on a tripod,…).
    2. Place the camera as high as the eyes are on an average standing human.
    3. Properly align the camera’s stitch lines.
    4. Prepare set and actors for shooting the scene.
    5. Press record on your remote to start recording the scene.
    6. Say the scene number out loud.
    7. Clap three times for audio sync.
    8. Hide the crew and walk out of the Field of View of the camera.
    9. IMPORTANT: talk to the camera as it would be the actual viewer! Consider it as a person standing next to you.
    10. Say “CUT” + mark if a take is usable or unusable (saves time in post-production).
    11. Stop the recording with the remote.
  3. After the shoot:
    1. Connect external HDD to the computer.
    2. Copy and rename files.
    3. Check if everything is correct.
    4. Organize files into folders.
    5. Stitch takes if necessary.
    6. Edit in Final Cut Pro / Adobe Premiere if necessary.
    7. Prepare video for distribution.
    8. Clear SD cards.

Common problems

  1. Be prepared to troubleshoot – things happen, problems arise. Be flexible.
  2. Bring spares and backups – you never know what will break so it’s good to bring extra items.
  3. Consider overheating (longer clips, more heat) – consider rotating cameras.
  4. Take several takes for just in case – backups are alreays good to have.

BONUS: Guidelines to minimize sickness in VR

  • Stable/level horizon lines – Every attempt should be made to keep your horizon lines stable and horizontal. Swaying horizons recall being on a boat in rough seas and can easily lead to virtual “seasickness.”
  • Minimal bumps – You also want to make sure that there are minimal bumps or jostling of the camera during your moves otherwise it will feel as though you are on a mountain bike going down a bumpy hill.
  • No pans – You shouldn’t pan or yaw the camera on the z-axis. This effectively forces a head turn to the viewer which is very disconcerting in VR. You should instead allow the viewer to turn their head naturally within the environment and look where they choose.
  • Minimal Acceleration – Finally, you should limit the acceleration present in your camera moves. Fast acceleration and deceleration definitely can cause motion sickness.