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Common mistakes when making a 360 Virtual Reality Film

Here is a run down of some of the most common mistakes that are made when making 360 content.

Having your subject too close to the camera

This is the most common of all the mistakes when making 360 content. Having your subject too close to the camera rig causes them to cross the ‘parallax lines’ or ‘stitch lines’ and become obviously distorted. The ‘parallax lines’ are formed when view from the different cameras in the 360 rig overlap each other. If a subject walks too close to the camera, they are likely to cross these lines and then they become ‘split’ along the line as if they were being weirdly chopped in half. The best way to avoid this happening is to keep the subject at least 3 metres away from the camera rig when filming, and make sure they are not standing in between 2 of the cameras from the rig.

Moving the camera too quickly or in unnatural ways

A common technique when making a 360 film is to walk around with the camera showing different locations to the viewer. This is either done with a ‘selfie stick’ or a head mount. However adding camera movement into the scene can introduce a lot of problems. When making a 360 film, you have to remember that the viewer is likely to be sat stationary which watching the content, so to move the camera too quickly or in violent motions is likely to disorientate the viewer and cause motion sickness.

Tilt the horizon unnaturally

Moving the camera to the left and right while recording can cause the horizon to warp and move up and down when watching the film back on a headset. This can be extremely disorientating for the viewer, who is likely to be watching it sat down looking straight ahead. Having warped horizons can detract from the actual content of the video.

Cut too quickly between scenes

One of the biggest differences between 360 films and normal films, is the time spent looking at each scene. With a traditional video the viewer can only see one view of the scene, and they can only see this one view at any time. However a 360 film encourages the viewer to look all around them, which means each scene you film has to be on screen for the viewer to be able to move their head around 360 degrees. This means each shot will usually have to be on screen for at least 15 seconds.

Having different camera settings for each of the cameras

A massive mistake is not having each of the cameras in your 360 camera rig recording on the same settings. Without the same settings some sections of the scenes are likely to look out of time, have different colours or warped completely.

Putting the camera too far away from the action

Despite the fact that it is important that the subject you are filming is a least 3 metres away from the camera, you will not want to have the camera too far away from the action. You have to remember that you cannot ‘zoom-in’ to the action to make it bigger so it has to be a reasonable size on screen. Anything between 10 and 3 metres to the camera is the ideal distance to have the main action.

Recording bad audio

Audio is incredibly important in 360 videos, it can control the direction in which the viewer is looking and can change the way in which a scene comes across. Therefore you have to make sure you bring along good audio recording equipment when filming.

Not keeping the viewers’ attention for long enough

Having a boring scene is a real drag the watching 360 content. It is important to keep the viewer entertained, especially as you are going to have each shot on screen for at least 15 seconds. When filming in 360, make sure there is something going on all around the camera. Even if you are trying to make the viewer look in a particular direction in a scene, it will make for a much better 360 film if you have at least some content in every direction. 360 filming is no longer the gimmick it was in 2015, and more and more people are expecting more from their virtual reality experience; you can no longer get away with sub-standard content in the hope people will watch it just because it is a 360 video.

Having bland lighting

Lighting is key in encouraging the viewer to look in a particular direction when filming in 360 degrees. Spotlights and dark areas are key tools for a good virtual reality filmmaker. Boring and bland lighting often allows the attention of you viewer to wander and miss the main content of the video.

Not having legible text on screen

If you’re going to have text on screen, make sure it’s there long enough to read, in a visible colour and size, and in multiple locations around the viewer, so that they don’t miss it.