11 Simple Tips to Improve Your 360 Videos

These tips were provided by Michael Wohl in his webinar Secrets of Success for 360 Video Production that ran in late 2017. This article was updated in June 2018. Recording of his webinar is available below.

There’s a June 2018 giveaway for a free copy of Michael’s book, The 360 Video Handbook.

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  1. In 360 video, the location is ALWAYS a character, potentially the most important character

  2. Your technique must change based on how you want your audience to interact with the camera. Is your audience a participant or a ghost?

  3. In 360 video, the camera is the viewer’s head. One angle captures the whole scene. Don’t put the camera too close to the wall or ceiling

  4. Respect the personal space of the audience. Objects are closer than they appear. Move the camera cautiously to avoid nausea.

  5. Place the camera in the position of an imaginary person. Don’t stick the camera in the middle of the room.

  6. Use theater as a metaphor for your 360 movie strategy to help in planning focus, both for fiction and non-fiction

  7. Use spatial audio as one of your strongest tools for storytelling. Lighting can also guide focus. (turning on or off lights)

  8. Create a frame within a frame for 360 video. Use building or rooms with strong diagonal lines to guide the viewer’s focus

  9. Use mono mics for dialogue and special effects and mix into spatial source recording with special software to lock sound to a specific position in video

  10. Use Facebook spatial workstation (free) or Blue Ripple Sound to lock audio to a specific object in a 360 video

  11. Use special 360 plugins when you add titles or transitions inside your video

Bonus info from discussion

Apple’s Final Cut Pro to be upgraded with 360 editing features

Zoom H2N used by community to add spatial audio to older THETA cameras

Carne y Arena provides hints to the future of VR storytelling

June 2018 giveaway for a free copy of The 360 Video Handbook

Sign up for your chance to win


I find it interesting how much of “normal” video techniques are required for 360° videos. Things like interesting subject, good lighting, good audio, and more. At the same time, Wohl shows how different it is, too. Things like #3 and #5, which I find related, about where the 360° camera should be located. It’s the center of the activity, not pointing to it.

Question to developers working with the THETA: How good do you personally have to be at using a THETA? Is it important to be an expert 360° videographer? Fairly familiar? Not particularly familiar at all?

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I think it depends on the type of application. If the application is targeted at photographers, I assume that the developer has to be pretty proficient with photography.

If the application is targeted at construction project managers, I don’t think the developer needs to be an expert on photography. Though, I imagine they need to understand things like lighting.

At the bottom of this article, I wrote a short analysis of business and development trends for 360 applications. For applications like sales presentation or corporate training, I imagine that the photography skill level needed is about medium.

For an HDR application like Ichi is building, I imagine that more photography skill is needed.

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This makes sense to me. I guess there are times when developers are not experts on the product they are contributing to and it’s not an issue.

I think there’s a difference between expertise on the product and expertise using the product. If I’m developing a new carbon fiber material for hockey helmets, I need to understand the game, but I don’t need to be in the NHL. I think that some knowledge of the game is needed, but I don’t need to be an expert hockey player. I would probably need to be an expert in the helmet.