360 Degree Video Production: Five Pitfalls to Avoid

360 Video

At Subvrsive, we’ve been creating immersive content on behalf of some of the world’s leading brands for years, and our experiences have taken us from the beaches of Hawaii to center stage at Austin’s Moody Theater, and many places in between. Through it all, we’ve learned a thing or two about best practices for 360 degree video production. And perhaps more importantly, we’ve learned the pitfalls to steer clear of. So take it from us: if you’re thinking of creating a 360 Video of your own, it’s a good idea to avoid these common mistakes:

1. Excessive Camera Movement

360 Video places viewers in the center of the action, allowing them to experience stories from the first-person perspective as if they were really there. Because of this, any disconnect between the camera’s movements and the viewer’s own bodily movements can be disorienting at best, and nauseating at worst. So, when it comes to immersive video, it’s vital to use smooth and consistent camera movements – and to use them sparingly.

Pro Tip: If a scene requires the camera to be moving quickly, a good rule of thumb is to consider giving the viewer a frame of reference for that movement. For example, placing a camera in a boat to move across water or in a car to drive across a desert allows viewers to ground themselves in the vehicle and gives a reason for the movement.

2. Unlevel Horizon Lines

Another common issue that can cause viewers to experience motion sickness is an easy one to avoid: unlevel horizon lines. Viewers don’t watch 360 Videos with their heads cocked to the side, so the video shouldn’t be askew either. Take the time to properly lock down stationary shots and be sure moving shots remain level by tweaking them in post-production. Your viewers (and their stomachs) will thank you.

3. Panning and Tilting

When people watch 360 Video in a headset, they should feel as if they’re really and truly a part of the scene. They should be able to explore the story from any perspective they choose and alter their view by turning their head. So, when filming 360 videos, it’s best to avoid panning and tilting the camera, as this takes directional control away from the viewer and in essence forces them to turn their head, shattering their sense of Presence.

4. Poor Pacing

Unlike traditional videos, which can benefit from fast and frequent cuts, 360 Videos require a slower pace. Viewers need enough time to explore each scene before moving along to the next, but not so much time that the story drags or feels boring. 360 Video pacing is more art than science, so it’s important to play around and experiment to strike the right balance.

5. No Directional Cues

Part of the fun of 360 Videos is that they place the viewer in the director’s chair, giving them control over their entire viewing experience. Rather than limiting their view to the frame chosen by the director, 360 Video offers a full 360º x 180º panoramic field of view that lets users look up, down, and all around. To ensure that viewers don’t miss out on the most important parts of a scene, it’s important to use subtle directional cues to attract their attention and guide their gaze. Things like motion graphics, moving focal points that slowly drift across the screen, and even text overlays can be extremely effective.

Telling stories convincingly in 360 degrees is a completely different challenge than shooting traditional video, but sticking to best practices and avoiding these common mistakes will allow you to take your immersive experiences to new heights. If you’re interested in the possibilities of 360 Video for your story, learn more about Subvrsive’s 360 Video Production services here.

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