Creating Virtual Reality Content

A Guide To 360° Media
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How To Produce Virtual Reality Content

Virtual or augmented reality isn’t something we’re unfamiliar with — most of us have experienced, or at the very least heard of it by now. But while the tech is steadily advancing and the accessibility and consumption of VR is growing, incredible opportunities remain to create new and unique 360° video experiences for all kinds of different industries. VR as a medium is a mainstay, yet still unrealized by many. We want to change that.

Now, let’s discuss different options of approaching 360° production.

Choosing a 360° Camera

360 degree cameras build in popularity on a daily basis, become much more ubiquitous for hobbyists and serious professionals. This, like anything else, is due to the fast evolving tech — making 360 degree cameras easier to use and more affordable to purchase. As more users familiarize themselves, Lightstack continues to research and stay up-to-date with the newest technology that complements it.

When choosing a camera, you must consider a few things:

1) Resolution
2) Monoscopic vs. Stereoscopic
3) How you will use it

Some of the most advanced and highest resolution cameras are comprised of 6+ lenses or combinations of RED or sony camera and lenses. That makes for a bulky form factor, but the trade off is being able to record in up to 10K resolution. These are ideal for stationary shots or moving shots where you don’t have to navigate around many obstacles.

Monoscopic vs. Stereoscopic or 3D 360° is another decision. Some six-lens cameras can use two sets of three lenses to create a 360° image for each eye. This can give the 360° image more “depth” or in some cases, “6-degrees of freedom,” which will allow users to “move” within your video using a headset. If maximum resolution is your priority, a monoscopic 360° video from the same six-lens camera will combine all six videos into one higher-resolution 360° video.

Lastly consider the application of it. Are we filming action sports or do we want a 360° cam with a small form factor to mount on a helmet or bike handle, for example? Or is the camera stationary?

For each of these scenarios, we like the following cameras:

Maximum resolution and stereoscopic 3D 360°
– Insta360 Titan
– Kandao Obsidian R
– Nokia Ozo

Form factor and portability
– GoPro Fusion

Live-Streaming
– Insta360 Pro
– Kandao Obsidian S

Capture Spherical Audio

Video alone isn’t the total experience. Advancements in audio, specifically spherical audio capture, make for a much more immersive experience. The ability to record sound in 360 degrees might sound strange, but that’s exactly what spherical audio capture does. When played back and paired with 360 degree video, you can actually hear the direction from which sound comes.

What does this mean for the future? Interviews, commercials, live concerts become more real than ever before.

Directing 360° Video

So you can’t operate a 360° camera without getting in the shot. And how do you signal to your viewers where they should look—where the action is?

Writing for Wired Magazine, Jeremy Bailenson recommends to not “waste the medium on the mundane.” Filming a 360° interview? Bring your audience to a venue that will catch the eye in every direction. Or take your audience somewhere they want to go. Give them a proper tour. Bring them places they want to look around

Don’t waste the medium on the mundane. VR experiences should be engaged in mindfully.
Jeremy Bailenson, Professor of Communications - Stanford
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