People setting up a shoot

How to prepare for your first 360-degree video shoot?

You decided you’re going to make a 360-degree video. That’s great! To make a good 360 video you need to prepare for it. In this article, we’ll give you a brief overview of what steps you should take before your first shoot.

Why 360 VR is different from a normal video?

  • Scene setup is different (no behind the camera).
  • Normal videos don’t have stitch lines.
  • It’s hard to cut (redo) a section from a 360 scene – record it in one go.
  • Everything is part of the scene.
  • Treat it more as theater than video production (preparation is essential) – check out our post about 360 filming techniques here.

Scripting and planning for every scene

  • Description of the scene – how will you set up a 360-degree scene, including reporters, subjects, props, the environment in the back, what should be the viewer’s main point (where’s the action),…
    • There are no frames, so you need to describe the whole environment.
    • Do not create too short scenes (no quick cuts) as the viewers always need some time to adjust.
  • Use block diagrams detailing all objects and subjects in the scene.
    • A block diagram is a circle that displays the scene as a 360-degree environment from the top.
    • The camera is in the middle and stationary (it shouldn’t move).
    • The first circle is the minimum distance from the camera (minimize parallax issue – 1-2m).
    • Mark stitch lines (depends on camera) so people don’t stand on the stitch lines.
    • Show actors, important objects, and movement with vectors.
    • In each scene mark the first thing the viewer would see.
  • Soundscape plan – where the major sounds will be coming from and how to use sound to attract the viewer’s attention.
  • Light plan – how to position the camera without having direct lighting (lens flare).
  • Plan for hiding places for the crew.
    • Decide on where the crew should hide if you want it outside the shot.
    • Define the process of how and when will you start recording.
    • Some cameras support playback, some don’t (in this case good planning is crucial).

What to do a day before the shoot

  • Prepare your 360-degree camera.
  • Clean the lenses.
  • Charge the batteries.
  • Install any camera software if necessary.
  • Format SD cards.
  • Test connection with a remote trigger (usually smartphone).

Great. If you followed all the steps, you are now ready to shoot your 360-degree video. Congrats!