Click the image below to watch the clip:
* Test. Using a 5DMKII, we tested out a Manfrotto 303SPH and found that with 6 rotations with the head set to 60° we could get plenty of overlap using a Canon fisheye lens and 1080p 16:9 recording, with the camera mounted sideways.
* Practise. If you are going to shoot like this, make sure to brush up using a panormaic head (some good lessons on Youtube) - if you do it right you will get no stitch lines, because you will be rotating the lens precisely around it's nodal point - something that's impossible with a GoPro rig. Practise this before the shoot, the heads are a little complicated and you don't want to be working it out on the day.
* Plan. Examine your space, preferably test shoot in the space itself, and work out exactly where you will need each camera angle to sit to best place your characters, props, set around the space. Remember, no moving objects can cross between frames because you are shooting each angle at a seperate time. Unless you are a roto wizard, adding CG or using greenscreen techniques, keep it simple and confine moving objects to within the edges of each frame. I'd highly recommend also shooting a very quick test and stitch on the day of the shoot to confirm everything is working...it's an extra 15 minutes well spent.
When it comes time to shoot, it's simply a matter of shooting one angle until you nail it, and then rotate on the panormaic head and shoot the next. There are a few important things to remember so take a close note:
* Lock down the tripod! Mark it with tape, and preferably sand bag or tie it down. If it moves during the shoot, make sure to line it back as best you can according to your marks and reference frames - but you may well be in for for problematic stitching... so don't let it happen!
* Be extra careful when changing batteries or cables to avoid misaligning the panoramic head.
* Lock down the objects in the set. The props should not move between adjacent frames.
* The lighting must remain fixed and at a constant level (i.e works best in a controlled indoor space). Stay tuned because I will do a separate tutorial on lighting for 360° soon.
* Use a good external monitor and watch it closely at all times. Do not let anything move outside the edges of the frame.
* Have someone on set dedicated to continuity - i.e keeping track of times, the action for each angle, set continuity - it's a complex job when you are shooting so many angles and requires someone dedicated to making sure everything will work.
* Shoot a clean plate of every angle. This may come in handy in post.
* Allow time to shoot your nadirs (top and bottom plates) once you have wrapped, you will need to move the tripod for these.
* Editing - we were making a music video so our "slate"/synch point was the song audio. If you are shooting drama you will have needed to slate to synch up all your takes so the action between angles matches. We found it easiest to edit each angle for best performance and then quickly stitch to see how it worked as a whole. Then go back and refine if necessary.
* Stitch - If you shot with the camera mounted sideways as we did, you'll have to rotate all your footage 90° first. If you have lined up your panoramic head properly and enter the correct lens settings into your stitching software, the footage should stitch like an absolute dream. Remember parallax errors won't exist because your nodal point was lined up perfectly. Use the mask tools if you are in Kolor AVP to easily define your borders between frames to make sure nothing is getting clipped.
* Compositing - How long is a peice of string... basic tripod and light removal was all we had to worry about in this particular video.
* Grade/Blend - Because exposure and colour temp was locked in camera, all the angles blend seamlessly. May not be so simple if you shoot, for example, outdoors and the light changes between takes.
Hopefully that's given you a good primer to get out there and make a creative (and cheap) 360 video which looks even better than a GoPro rig. Please post any comments, suggestions or your own experiences below. Happy Shooting.