360° video and photo production basics

This is a systematic introduction to 360° video and photography production methods for journalism (mostly news coverage): Overview and theoretical considerations by Kai Rüsberg for scientific and educational use as a topic collection. tbc

Fundamentals for 360° video and photo

  • What is 360°, what is VR, what is Augmented Reality?
  • How are media produced for virtual realities? Which formats do exist?
  • How can virtual media be presented? Which internet platforms, software and hardware are there for presenting?
  • Marketplaces and distribution channels for virtual stories and software on the internet.
  • Who are the users? What are their needs or interests?

Journalism with all perspectives

  • Journalism in virtual reality: Which report forms? Where is the journalism in 360°?
  • Which subjects are suited. Which are unacceptable?
  • The role of the journalist: Should the reporter appear in the picture of 360° reports? Or shoot, run and hide – be hidden on the recording?
  • Does it generally need explanations if the spectator can look around by himself?

Production of 360° media

  • Which hardware for the production of 360°: Market overview of typical cameras incl. assessment.
  • The resolutions and picture variations: QHD, 4K, 8K, full dome or 180/360?
  • Settings in the camera and practise with admissions with 360° cameras.
  • Before the trick: Installation, tripods, nadir, movement of the camera.
  • Ideal conditions for the installation in the space, audio admission and exposure.

Directing a 360° production

  • Is the director or author in the picture and can directly intervene?
  • If director is out of sight of the camera, how can he direct?
  • Usage of wireless communication and picture monitoring of the 360-device.
  • Installation of additional monitoring and communication systems.
  • Need a storyboard for 360 news production?

Language of VR*

  • Close-ups, pans or zooms focus the viewer’s attention
  • Proximity as a factor: What is closer to the camera seems to be more important
  • Centering is directing the viewer’s attention.
  • First shot of a VR film is the most important.
  • First shot is the only time you have complete control over where the viewer will look first.

Audio in all dimensions

  • The good tone: How is the audio captured? Where do I hide the microphones? Direct input or synchronisation in post processing?
  • Multichannel audio, Ambisonics, 3D-audio and Spatial audio: The high school of the locatable audio admission.
  • Which technology is available for multichannel-audio admission?
  • The sound, which comes from all sides, caught spherically: How do I make it right? Where do I place the microphones? What must I follow for post-processing?
  • Which software and plug-ins to integrate my 3D-audio into the film project?

Lighting and external devices

  • How to use natural and artificial light?
  • Where to place artifical light? May the lights be visible?
  • Unvisible artifical lights: Monopod-mounted systems.
  • Using mono-/tripod oder gimbals for 360 cameras: market overview.

With both eyes: stereoscopic

  • The entrance in real virtual reality: producing stereoscopic 360° videos and photos.
  • Do-it-yourself construction or ready made models: What does the market offer with stereoscopy?
  • Workflow with the post-processing: Which tools and software?

Treatment of the media

  • Stitching: what does it mean and how do I make this? Which software?
  • Cutting and storytelling in the timeline: Which software is available?
    Possibilities of the post-processing and picture improvement with software and plug-ins.
  • The possibilities of insertions: Title, 2D video and text boards. What and how much makes sense?
  • Correction and editing of stiching lines
  • Cloning out tripods and other objects

Legal and ethics

  • Who needs to be informed and how that 360 filming is in place?
  • Does the filming infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties (copyright, right of depiction, private life or harm the image of persons who may be identified within the content)
  • What about children or other immature and the right of their their own likeness. Do you need a written consent of their caretakers? Are they in prominent position or in the background?
  • Does the filming take place in a gated/closed-off area?
  • Are you humiliating people in private surrounding or filming children (partly) nacked? (Maybe in a private room or Kindergarden, which could result in a criminal offence in Germany)
  • Are you able to monitor the whole scene, esp. if streamed live?
  • Inserting greenscreened shots into another picture or stiching of  separatly shot parts of the sphere: is it cheating the viewer?

In addition… (to be defined later on)

  • On-line platforms for the treatment and help / know how, education.
  • Use of the material in other media like 2D video, fish-eye or little planet photography.
  • Live transmission in 360°
  • Continous exposure series of photos instead of video for resolution enhancements


Anything to criticise?

Anything to add?

Please put it in the comments below!

*= “Language of VR” after Dane Christensen in Medium “What I learned making a 360° video…”