It’s not just destinations that are innovating with 360° video, event professionals can make the most of them too by capturing and sharing events in the most interactive way ever. With the ability to offer digital attendees a more in depth experience and making it accessible to those who cannot attend in person, 360° cameras offer a unique opportunity that can also create a buzz around your event while showing others what they are missing.
What Are 360° Cameras?
Essentially a 360° camera simultaneously records in various directions, either by using a multi-directional camera or a series of cameras and then the images are stitched together.
This renders a spherical, 360° view of what is happening, resulting in a much more immersive experience.
It can be viewed on any computer, phone or tablet, without the need for special equipment. You can peek around yourself by moving your device around or by swiping in all directions. It is available on all the major social networks and you may have experienced 360° video on Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.
It allows you to provide a more dynamic social media channel, setting you above the competition. Your followers a chance to see totally behind the scenes and it creates a more in depth interaction and connection over a standard edited video or 2D live stream.
360° cameras are also paving the way for virtual reality at events, using VR headsets. By combining 360 degree video with VR, it is possible to interact in a virtual environment – wander around, move, sometimes touch things.
5 Tips for Recording 360° Video
To get the best 360° video footage here are 5 important tips.
Increase Default Social Media Resolution
Don’t use the default settings, select 4K or HD settings if possible when uploading as this will avoid too much distortion when they compress the resolution during the upload.
Place Audio Under The Camera
If you are looking for higher quality audio you will probably be using an additional microphone but this can end up in shot and ruin the experience so keep your audio device underneath the camera and out of the way.
Invest In a Stick or Tripod
It helps to add the extra length away from your hands and in many cases 360 cameras are spherical or long so don’t stand up very well on their own. Just ensure you don’t opt for one with long extending legs that will end up in the shot.
For VR or immersive experiences you need to select a placement with plenty going on around you so that when they click around or turn their head there is more to explore rather than the same viewpoint they could have seen with a panoramic shot.
Leave Stitching To The Professionals
If you aren’t comfortable with editing software then opt for cameras with built in or easy stitching as this can take some time to master (and a lot of mistakes)
360° Cameras On The Market
With a variety of price tags and uses, here are the models on the market to watch out for and the best buys to capture your event.
Currently there is a lot of excitement and anticipation for the GoPro Fusion that can capture VR and non VR photo and video easily at a 5.2k resolution using its spherical camera. Pricing and availability is yet to be confirmed, with only a limited commercial release planned for some point this year. Relatively little is known except it is going to be state of the art! However, if you are a brand, agency or professional content creator, you can always apply to their pilot program to get your hands on one of those bad boys.
For now though, these are some of the best 360° Cameras you have to play with:
Ricoh Theta S
Some consider this to be the most cost-effective option as the middle range price tag offers the best value for money. It has the flexibility of features to capture high quality images and live stream as well as adapting the white balance, shutter speed etc. which makes it more adaptable for different types of events.
- Can shoot videos up to 25 mins
- HD live streaming
- 8GB memory
- High speed WiFi link to smartphone
- Video quality up to 1080p
- 14MP images
Samsung Gear 360
This middle of the range camera is a popular option due to its user-friendly stitching (as it doesn’t do it itself) and easy sharing accessibility. Perfect for individuals who want to snapshot their own event experience or see behind the scenes from their point of view.
- Dust/splash resistant, suitable for outdoor events
- Twin spherical lenses
- Comes with a mini tripod
- Compatible with Android and iOS (although some functions are not supported on the iOS devices)
- 15MP camera
- Geo tagging (via phone)
- Timelapse photos
- 3MP photo option (.JPEG)
- Record time up to 130 mins
- MicroDS up to 256GB
VUZE VR Camera
3cm thick and 12 cm square this is a compact but robust option. This is one of the most expensive cameras on the list but considered to be more of a professional option, particularly if you are offering VR experiences, combined with VR glasses. Orders are being taken now for this new release, with shipping in July 2017.
- Single button operation
- 8 lenses
- Micro SD storage available
- WiFi compatible
- Remote control app for Android and iOS
- 4K resolution for both video and photo
- Recording rate up to 120 Mbps
Top of the middle range of 360 degree cameras, this is the upgrade to the 360fly. With its improved 4k quality it offers some of the best detail and quality on the list and has no need for image stitching as it is a singular fisheye lens that captures a vertical and horizontal view simultaneously. This does result in a small blind spot depending on the orientation you are using.
- Can capture 360° as well as first-person point of view modes
- Water and dust resistance as well as shockproof for outdoor or difficult event types.
- Compatible with the specific VR headset
- Singular button operation
- 64GB storage
- Wi-Fi/Bluetooth enabled
- Smartphone app control (iOS and Android)
Nikon Keymission 360
Perhaps not as cost-effective as other options, however for outdoor or sporting events it is water and freeze-proof, which could be essential for adrenaline based events. It can create high quality images and video whilst being light and wearable for the roaming eventprof.
- 4K high quality videos
- Smartphone app controlled
- Waterproof, freezeproof and shockproof
- Wireless sharing
- 23.9MP photos
- Time lapse options
- Micro SD compatible
- 1 hr 10 mins battery life
LG G5 360
For the average consumer, this is a budget friendly option and the most affordable of the list, particularly for its user friendly remote use and the ability to take 360 spherical and 180 panorama pictures.
- 4GB memory with SD card compatible up to 2TB
- 2K 360 Video
- Immediate Google and YouTube360 upload
- 2 wide angle fisheye lens
- 3 microphones for good sound capture
- Small and compact
A completely spherical camera that reduces blind spots compared to other models, as the multi-cameras are positioned completely around to help create a better experience. This is why it is the other high end option on the list and another suitable VR option.
- iOS and Android compatible apps
- WiFi compatible
- MP4 video
- 14MP photo (.JPG)
- Audio in MP3 format
- Micro SD card (up to 32GB)
- 80mm diameter sphere
- 280g weight
- Comes with mini tripod and lens pen.
If you are looking for stable capturing, such as live streaming an event, the ALLie is a good option as it isn’t suitable for “on the move” capturing. Requiring a WiFi connection it can be useful as a device for uploading to social media as it is designed for webcasting and at this it exceeds some of the other models.
- Facebook and YouTube 360 compatible
- VR headset compatible
- 4K video resolution
- Has 360 live streaming capabilities
- Dual fisheye lenses (no blind spots)
- Compatible with iOS and Android
Kodak Pixpro SP360 4k VR
This upgrade from the single SP360 allows you to take VR videos, unlike its counterpart, as well as impressive panoramic shots. It is around $150-$200 more expensive than the non 4K. It does require some photo stitching but that can be done with the included software (needs some practice for the best results).
- Facebook and YouTube 360 compatible
- iOS and Android control app (wireless)
- Drone mounting capabilities for cool aerial event footage
- 4K video quality
- WiFi/ Bluetooth enabled
- Compatible with Micro HDMI, USB and SD cards
For the eventprof that is focused on social media and wanting to boost your account quality and variety, this could be another contender. It is a small and compact option, one of the cheapest around and it also doesn’t require you to stitch. Simply plug and play from your mobile device or on the silicone case. This means that it is perfect for quick and efficient social media sharing or could be used as a 360 degree webcam.
- Android compatible
- Facebook, Instagram and YouTube direct uploading
- 3K stills and 2K video quality
- Live streaming option
- Panoramic video talk on meeting software such as Skype
- Dual fisheye lens
- MicroSD compatible
360° cameras are an excellent opportunity for any event professional looking for the next stage in capturing and sharing their event but it is important to select the right one. Using our guide and key features should let you pick a camera within your budget, with the specifications you need to suit your events and brand.