I had always thought of 360 video as another marketing gimmick that would come and go, like 3D – a few marketing execs had proabbly sat in a boardroom in somewhere like Chenzen and said ‘what the latest tech we can flog this year?’ and some young, ambitious, social-media-marketing-millennial piped up and ‘360 video?’ They would have checked out a few eye-catching 360 images and realised it is a social media dream. Geeky Youtubers would get hold of it and make a few VR style videos, or ‘tiny planet’ photos (looks like you have photographed the planet from space) that would be interesting for a few seconds but soon drop off the planet and be forgotten about.
But the real issue I have is that most of the work I do requires a certain amount of compositional skill – half of my job is to take a well composed shot, but of course youdont need to compose anything in 360 – you put a camera on a stick, or simply hold it out infront of you and it records everything around you.
Then a client asked me to film a fashion show in 360 and I started to look into what could be done with it. Fair enough it was a live event so it was very much point and shoot rather than a structured story. I had a look into what others were doing with 360 video and came across a video that was filmed documentary style which rather changed my opinion.
It is edited with interviews and cut aways, as if a normal dcoumentary but you are of course able to turn the camera around wherever you like. As this was about a fashion designer and his fashion show (the models walk down 2 catwalks) it was perfect for 360 where you can view the model coming down both ways. Then cut to the interview – shot in his studio before and you can see him speaking with his seamstress working on the garments, effectively behind the camera, but you can scroll around and see them talking. This technology suddenly became a lot more than a marketing gimmick!
We have become too cynical of tech influencing ‘art’ perhaps. But does 360 have a place for telling a greater story? What can us producers do with it that makes it worth the extra hassle editing; it’s still a technology in its infancy with most of our edit suites incapable of processing the massive files, so we have had to upgrade at enormous cost!
I have been lent the insta360 8k camera and the Go Pro Fusion – I will be back very shortly with my results!