360 degree video is big and it is going to get a whole lot bigger. Why should you care? Because if you like immersive storytelling then 360 video and the resulting virtual reality experiences are your fast track to situations that you couldn’t conjure up in your wildest dreams.

We picked up a 360 Fly 4k video camera and took it for a spin. Part 1 throws you into the world of a surfer girl, as Geniya decides to go surfing and gets ready. Part 2 is her session. Now the waves might be small, but you’ll find yourself right there amidst the action.

If you’re not familiar with virtual reality or 360 video then there are a few ways to make the most of the experience.

How to watch 360 degree videos

  1. Use your smartphone. Enlarge Youtube to full screen and turn the phone around to look at the world from the 360 Fly camera’s perspective. As you turn, you’ll see (almost) everything Geniya saw.
  2. Use a Google Cardboard headset. It’s a low fi virtual reality solution but works pretty well. Slot your phone into your favourite headset and set it to cardboard view. Watch and enjoy!
  3.  If you have a high tech headset like the Oculus Rift then you won’t be needing these instructions.
  4. Just watch in your web browser and click and drag to look around!

What did we learn about filming in 360 degrees?

  1. Strapping the camera to someone’s head and running around, creating POV (point of view) videos is cool. But don’t look around too much. Let the audience do that.
  2. Film and edit as if you’re producing a normal video. Make the video watchable even if people don’t click (or look) around.
  3. For board-mounted surfing action shots, keep the camera completely flat. In our video the “black circle” covers up the nose of Geniya’s board. This is because we tilted the camera towards her, as you might with a GoPro. But the days of tilting are over, because you’re capturing the whole world!
  4. The black circle is an unfortunate result of video cameras like the 360 Fly having only a single lens. Dual lens cameras really do capture the entire world – feet and all – but they can result in stitch lines along the sides, where the two videos are fused together. The 360 Fly is pretty excellent for a single lens camera and there’s enough on display that the black circle is not such a big deal.

Enough about all that, enjoy some small waves and good times with Geniya.

Part 1 – Surf Check in 360 Degrees

Part 2 – Surfer Girl in 360 Degrees