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Shoot 360 Video Like a Pro in 6 Simple Steps

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The thing that makes 360 cameras so awesome­—they capture everything happening in every direction—also makes them hard to use. Follow these rules to get sphere-ific results.

1. Make Some Space

Most consumer 360 cameras are essentially two cameras strapped back-to-back. Fish-eye lenses provide the ultrawide field of view, so the images become distorted if objects are too close. Be sure to place the camera at least a few feet away from subjects to keep things real.

2. Take Center Stage

A viewer watching your video in a VR headset will have total control over where they look. Think of the camera as a human—put it somewhere in the middle of the action.

3. Mind the Gap

The images from the two lenses are automagically stitched together to make a spherical video, and there’s a parallax effect where the two hemispheres meet. Position the camera so the stitch mark falls somewhere not critical to the action.

4. Farewell to Arms

If you don’t want the tripod in your footage (you don’t), you’ll need one without protruding pan-and-tilt adjustment arms, which are basically the 360 equivalent of your finger over the lens. Get a travel model or a monopod—something that features knobs instead of appendages.

5. Hide and Sneak

In this medium the camera operator easily becomes part of the action. To avoid playing a starring role, either run and hide or try to blend in with the environment. Trees and shrubs are great for crouching behind. If your camera can be activated remotely using Bluetooth, even better.

6. Share It Wide

YouTube and Facebook are two of the most popular spots for 360 content, but also try Samsung VR and Littlstar. You’ll need to add metadata to the file before uploading. Without it, the video player won’t know it’s in 360 and your work will be a mere 2-D clip from Flatland.

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