The Eye of Sauron 360 OR 1st Samsung Gear 360 BTS Clip

HE SEES ALL. Now with fewer stitch lines!

Greetings! I had THE BEST catchy alternative title for this post, but I forgot it. So I ran with Eye of Sauron 360. No reason, other than HE SEES ALL.

We had a great shoot with our Samsung Gear 360 Camera last month, and we’ll be rolling out what we did soon. But first, wanted to share a BTS clip we made. I’m the gal in the gray, and Eric is the guy in the blue.

Check it out at the Samsung VR Portal:

https://samsungvr.com/view/cvnFZvkxCAu

And for those who don’t have access to the Portal, check out the clip on YouTube:

https://youtu.be/vTGeqlSZwLE

Obviously sound and graphics will play a big role in other future experiences, but here’s the basic rundown of this simple piece:

- Camera Placement

I wanted us to be filmed with our own lens, so I put the camera between us, each lens facing our seated body position. It dawned on me after the fact that you can see the stitch line if you are looking for it at the pavilion behind us. (Kind of a giant duh, because, well, reality — this is a two camera system).

But I wanted to make sure the humans in the experience weren’t crossing the stitch boundary — ’cause that would be obvious. Part of me wonders if we could have hidden the stitch boundary more easily if we had tweaked the placement of the lenses, but oh well! Eric’s hand does cross it momentarily, but its not terribly distracting.

Making this clip has made me super aware of where one should put your lenses — where the “money” action might happen, and how to make sure that potential stitch lines don’t distract if you have humans or objects moving close or through them.

- Temperature

We had this camera out in the heat for about an hour in 103 heat (see my previous post) before we filmed this clip. We believe that the lens trained on Eric started to lose focus due to a design flaw in the camera. Both Samsung Gear 360s have shown focusing problems when overheating. Eric says something must be swelling inside when it gets too hot. But it doesn’t seem permanent. When the camera cools down, everything goes back to correct sharpness.

- Stitching

Used Autopano Giga and Video. I won’t get into the nitty gritty of stitching here, but I do want to point out that we finessed this stitch line. A LOT. I think it looks AMAZING at our feet, and even farther away, where the grass meets the sidewalk. But in the pavilion between us, there is a tiny bit of a disconnect. We tried making the pavilion seam line up better, but the the green grass/sidewalk line close to the statute starts to jut…so this was the best of both worlds.

- Editing, Exporting, and Revisions

This was a one take wonder, which I brought Adobe Premiere. Added the opening and closing graphics, spent waaaaay too much time tweaking the music hits, adjusted the in camera audio just a wee bit, put a sharpening mask (its unlabeled unsharp mask in Adobe — that’s just lunacy!) on the video clip, and then exported.

We actually put this through the Samsung headset several times as we continued to finesse the stitch line.

- Post Workflow

Autopano Video Pro — to combine the two lenses views into one with a special sauce of a template; adjust color. That file goes to:

Autopano Giga — to finesses the camera alignment and lens distortion, which gets sent back to:

Autopano Video Pro — which finally renders the file with the template, color, and finessed stitch. That clip gets imported to:

Adobe Premiere — where you edit. Then I exported an MP4 so that I could:

Import MP4 onto Samsung Galaxy S6 — used Android File Transfer (I’m on a Macbook Pro)

Watch down MP4 in Gear VR — if edit is needed, start the process again in Premiere, or if you need to go back to the stitch, go back to Autopano Video Pro. Thankfully, once you update an Autopano file and open up your project file in Premiere, the clip will update automatically. (If you’re good. Wink).

Final Thoughts

A lot of similar things to a traditional post workflow, but lots of considerations to think about. Namely, the stitching and editing.

If you need a lot of stitch finesse time, do you hold off doing your edit until all the clips you want to use are “final” stitched? Or if you need to get jamming on a large edit, how do you tackle the workload of fine stitching?

Lots of things to think about in developing creative for VR and executing that vision. More as our thought process develops.

Lastly:

And here’s a silly GIF of Eric DPing a 2D music video that involves a cake. He’s the guy in the green:

http://giphy.com/gifs/9hy3vKmwDkSMU

filmmaker + photographer + writer

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