Jumping into Slow-motion 360-filmmaking

360 video production camera behind the scenes
360 video production director behind the scenes
360 video production behind the scenes

There is a special joy in witnessing a 360-film newbie spinning around with mobile phone in hand, delighting in the magical experience of the video content that surrounds them. Loco is riding this wave of 360-video excitement by exploring emerging technologies and software as well as developing new techniques to take our creative work further into this realm. Our latest 360-film is a homage to Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” with the added twist of slow-motion content.

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On our previous foray into 360-filmmaking, we went with GoPro. Making a name for themselves as the go-to camera brand for first person point-of-view adventure videos, GoPro have seized the commercial initiative in the 360-filmmaking arena through their release of the Omni camera and their acquisition and development of the VR editing software, Kolor. This enables filmmakers to shoot one 8K resolution, 360-film in which every shot syncs to the same frame, and each shot can be viewed and edited as a single shot rather than the compiled rushes of 6 individual cameras.

But, the GoPro Omni does not capture the high-speed frame rates needed to create in-camera slow-motion effects, a key factor for our creative brief. On our previous high-speed shoots, such as our commercials for Carlsberg, we got incredible results from the Phantom camera. It films at insanely-high frame rates, but it would also be insanely expensive to hire 6 cameras let alone the align them all to capture the full 360 degrees. Fortunately, we had already discovered with our Homeless at Christmas 360-film, that you don’t need to shoot in 360 degrees to make an effective 360-film. We could create the fully immersive effect by stitching together two 180-degree films. We just needed to find a lens which would fulfill the complete brief.

To continue our kit search, we consulted with Movietech, one of the UK’s largest and most experienced camera rental companies. They recommended that we work with Arri to conduct our lens tests. Arri suggested we pair their Alexa with the Nikon 6mm fisheye lens. Nicknamed the sack-getter because it would be so expensive to replace, the lens gives a 220º field of vision which is the same as the Samsung Gear VR headset. We could easily shoot two 180º films and stich them together to make 360º.

Initial tests with the Alexa were promising, but unfortunately, the lens aberrations from the 6mm fisheye were too distorted. Arri recommended an 8mm fisheye lens, but the trade-off would be having to film four 90-degree plates. That would mean more stitching in post-production, but we felt the results would be worth the extra time and effort.

Ultimately, it was Love High Speed, the UK’s largest slow-motion camera supplier who (generously) provided their Phantom camera, the 8mm fisheye lens as well as their time and goodwill to enable us to complete the shoot.

Watch this space for part 2, the back story of how we finished our slow-mo 360-film.

For more examples of our VFX work, click here.

For more examples of our content creation, click here.

For more examples of our 360 and VR projects, click here.

Credits

Director/Editor: Dave Waldman
Producer: Saša McCartney
Camera: Stephen Price
Model: Jess-Luisa Flynn
Colourist/VFX: Jon Davey
VFX: Aidan Taub
Music: Get Up by Ryan Little
Thanks: Andrew Alexander at ARRI Rental for their generous lending of lenses, tripod & location
Thanks:Love High Speed for their generous lending of the Phantom camera