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360˚ video, another fad or the real deal?

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Does anyone remember watching their first film in 3D? Putting on those ridiculous one size (never quite) fitted all, multicoloured cardboard glasses and experiencing images jumping right off the screen towards you, as if you could touch them? I certainly do! I remember sitting in my friends front room with a rented copy of ‘Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over’ (I was 11 OK) and just being blown away by what I was watching. Objects flying towards my face and feeling like I needed to duck out the way, I was becoming a part of the film, immersed, was this the future? I must have asked myself!? Well, I guess it kind of was to an extent, we certainly saw a boom in 3D film on the big screen for many years and it’s obviously still around today, but give me the choice now between a 2D or 3D film and I will ask for a 2D film every time. Maybe it’s because I’m just a bit older now, (at the tender age of 23) and I like to complain that they give me headaches, or perhaps, we’ve also just got to a point now, where we’re a bit bored with 3D film, story lines appear to matter more to most people, rather than just pure visual effects, or at least visual effects that aren’t that impressive anymore. We’ve been there done that, bought the Harry Potter T-shirt. So is this the end for 3D? Maybe not, but I certainly think it’s seen better days.

But with every one craze coming to an end, something new always seems to appear and yesterday I had my first real experience with 360 degree video! Maybe I’m late to this party, who know’s, I do know and was aware that 360 degree video has been tried an tested on Formula 1 cars, an exciting prospect for live streaming with fans online, but sometimes I do think however that there is just way too much new tech to keep up with, so I apologise in advance for those of you who may be way ahead of me on this.

So yesterday night as me and my wife were having dinner with some friends, I heard from one of them about how 360 degree video on Youtube had become a thing! Sorry what!? I had to see this straight away (turns out it’s been there for months!). So there we were, round the dinner table, watching Avicii’s new music video, one of the latest videos to use this relatively new tech. I was instantly 13 again, I was completely amazed by how cool this was! I was using the phones motion sensor, spinning the phone round and round to look at every possible angle of this video, just saying over and over “this is so cool!”. Not only was it cool, but it was easily accessible! We were watching it on an iPhone 5s and I believe Android devices were available to watch this content even before Apple. Even if your watching the video on a desktop, you can still interact by moving around with the mouse or arrow keys. Very exciting. So what does this mean for film as we know it?

Giroptic-360cam-Video-Camera-image-7
360cam

Well, it’s certainly an exciting time for the world of video. Last year there was a Kickstarter campaign for a new breed of handheld camera called the ‘360cam’ . The world’s first, true HD 360 degree video camera, shooting at 30fps with added abilities such as live streaming. These are now available to pre-order for $499, about the same as a GoPro. Meaning, it’s not only production companies that will have this capability, but YOU TOO could film your own 360 degree film! You can bet that GoPro shall respond with something handheld also, as at the moment it’s required about 16 of them on Google’s new ‘Jump’ rig to achieve such a similar thing, check it out here. It’s cool, and almost guaranteed a better image quality than the 360cam, but you can bet that 16 GoPros, plus battery packs, plus the rig from google isn’t going to come cheap!

It leads me on to think about the possibilities that 360 video has in the near future as well, could we all sit down to a feature film soon, wearing Oculus Rifts (Virtual reality technology) with the ability to gaze where ever we wish in the film, framing our own shots, handing the power over to you the viewer as to what you want to look at. Certainly a scary thought for any DOP’s with a passion for that ‘perfect shot’. Or could this whole thing just be another phase we’re going through? A bit like 3D, something that after a while, we’ll realise that nothing quite beats the big screen as it is, story telling at it’s best. Or maybe they can go hand in hand? I still know some people that enjoy 3D films and I may enjoy occasionally immersing myself in a 360 film in the future as well, who knows? I will also say that I think that for thing’s like music videos or video blogs on Youtube, this kind of stuff is great and makes sense that for those 3 or 5 mins or so, the experience becomes something much more interactive.

I quite clearly don’t know all the answers and although the technology is here and now I think it’s a bit too far away to really guess the future of 360 video. But one things for sure is that 360 video is a very interesting idea that will certainly excite a lot of people and only time will tell where it ends up!

Check out this other 360˚ video from GoPro. Enjoy!

New Tech

360˚ video, another fad or the real deal?

Dan Atkins

Does anyone remember watching their first film in 3D? Putting on those ridiculous one size (never quite) fitted all, multicoloured cardboard glasses and experiencing images jumping right off the screen towards you, as if you could touch them? I certainly do! I remember sitting in my friends front room with a rented copy of ‘Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over’ (I was 11 OK) and just being blown away by what I was watching. Objects flying towards my face and feeling like I needed to duck out the way, I was becoming a part of the film, immersed, was this the future? I must have asked myself!? Well, I guess it kind of was to an extent, we certainly saw a boom in 3D film on the big screen for many years and it’s obviously still around today, but give me the choice now between a 2D or 3D film and I will ask for a 2D film every time. Maybe it’s because I’m just a bit older now, (at the tender age of 23) and I like to complain that they give me headaches, or perhaps, we’ve also just got to a point now, where we’re a bit bored with 3D film, story lines appear to matter more to most people, rather than just pure visual effects, or at least visual effects that aren’t that impressive anymore. We’ve been there done that, bought the Harry Potter T-shirt. So is this the end for 3D? Maybe not, but I certainly think it’s seen better days.

But with every one craze coming to an end, something new always seems to appear and yesterday I had my first real experience with 360 degree video! Maybe I’m late to this party, who know’s, I do know and was aware that 360 degree video has been tried an tested on Formula 1 cars, an exciting prospect for live streaming with fans online, but sometimes I do think however that there is just way too much new tech to keep up with, so I apologise in advance for those of you who may be way ahead of me on this.

So yesterday night as me and my wife were having dinner with some friends, I heard from one of them about how 360 degree video on Youtube had become a thing! Sorry what!? I had to see this straight away (turns out it’s been there for months!). So there we were, round the dinner table, watching Avicii’s new music video, one of the latest videos to use this relatively new tech. I was instantly 13 again, I was completely amazed by how cool this was! I was using the phones motion sensor, spinning the phone round and round to look at every possible angle of this video, just saying over and over “this is so cool!”. Not only was it cool, but it was easily accessible! We were watching it on an iPhone 5s and I believe Android devices were available to watch this content even before Apple. Even if your watching the video on a desktop, you can still interact by moving around with the mouse or arrow keys. Very exciting. So what does this mean for film as we know it?

360cam
360cam

Well, it’s certainly an exciting time for the world of video. Last year there was a Kickstarter campaign for a new breed of handheld camera called the ‘360cam‘ . The world’s first, true HD 360 degree video camera, shooting at 30fps with added abilities such as live streaming. These are now available to pre-order for $499, about the same as a GoPro. Meaning, it’s not only production companies that will have this capability, but YOU TOO could film your own 360 degree film! You can bet that GoPro shall respond with something handheld also, as at the moment it’s required about 16 of them on Google’s new ‘Jump’ rig to achieve such a similar thing, check it out here. It’s cool, and almost guaranteed a better image quality than the 360cam, but you can bet that 16 GoPros, plus battery packs, plus the rig from google isn’t going to come cheap!

It leads me on to think about the possibilities that 360 video has in the near future as well, could we all sit down to a feature film soon, wearing Oculus Rifts (Virtual reality technology) with the ability to gaze where ever we wish in the film, framing our own shots, handing the power over to you the viewer as to what you want to look at. Certainly a scary thought for any DOP’s with a passion for that ‘perfect shot’. Or could this whole thing just be another phase we’re going through? A bit like 3D, something that after a while, we’ll realise that nothing quite beats the big screen as it is, story telling at it’s best. Or maybe they can go hand in hand? I still know some people that enjoy 3D films and I may enjoy occasionally immersing myself in a 360 film in the future as well, who knows? I will also say that I think that for thing’s like music videos or video blogs on Youtube, this kind of stuff is great and makes sense that for those 3 or 5 mins or so, the experience becomes something much more interactive. 

I quite clearly don’t know all the answers and although the technology is here and now I think it’s a bit too far away to really guess the future of 360 video. But one things for sure is that 360 video is a very interesting idea that will certainly excite a lot of people and only time will tell where it ends up!

Check out this other 360˚ video from GoPro. Enjoy!

video marketing

Understanding the Importance of Video in Business!

Dan Atkins

So how important is video content for engaging with new potential customers for your business? Let me tell you the answer. No matter what your business does, from flower arranging to selling used cars, creating a video to promote your business is vital!

Now I’ll be the first to admit that of course I am going to be bias towards this topic, as this is what I do for a living. But I’ve spoken to some business owners recently, who for the first time ever, have now started to realise the potential that video content really has for their business. One lady even said to me that she couldn’t believe she hadn’t given it much thought until recently, “How have I missed this!”. In this day and age, with social media becoming such a huge part of our culture, there are new ways that businesses need to be engaging with their customers and video is an integral part to that!

I want to show you a video that was created for a company called the “Dollar Shave Club”. A small start-up company from America who started with only 5 employees who wanted to take on the likes of Gillette. How on earth could they do that? Well, with the power of social media and a good idea, they made sure that creating a viral video was their priority to stand out!

Within 30 minutes of this videos release, this company had over 12’000 new customers enlist to purchasing their razors every month. This video is now up to over 18 million views and the Dollar Shave Club has substantially grown! Such is the power of video marketing! With Youtube attracting over 6 billion views a day and Facebook incorporating video into their structure to a much deeper level, now has never been a better time to engage with this marketing tool you have at your disposal!

Here at Louder Than Words, we are endeavouring to start a video revolution and we want you to be a part of that with us. Creating engaging content that can reach the masses has never been easier, join the revolution!

Uncategorized

A Nordic Adventure

Dan Atkins

So it was only a week ago I touched back down on English soil after being part of an incredible adventure to Trømso in Norway. We were commissioned to be a part of an engagement weekend set up by our friend Adam, who had brought along his unwitting long term girlfriend Emily on this once in a lifetime trip, set up to be as if they had won a competition, when in fact it was all a plot from Adam to propose to Emily as a surprise!

We were there capturing all of their best moments, including the proposal, to put together a highlights reel of their time together.

This is only my second time travelling with gear abroad, so naturally I was apprehensive about the whole thing and made sure that insurance was aware of what we were doing and that we were definitely covered should anything unfortunate happen. My way around this though was to split most of the gear up between us all as hand luggage, which although slightly inconvenient, did put my mind at rest.

We rented the C100 for this job, which was a great choice for it’s compact and lightweight body (ideal for run and gun style) and it’s superb image quality. My only beef with it really is the lack of frame rates (the mkii can now do 50fps) and the horrible AVCHD codec. Both of these issues are more of an annoyance than anything serious mind.

basic gear
basic gear

I also took along my BMPCC which came in handy for real on the move shots at the airport, or shots in a confined space (i.e. the plane and cable car).

We were really lucky to witness the northern lights two nights in a row, to which I was really grateful I’d brought along a DSLR for stills (500D), which meant we were able to capture some amazing timelapses, shots that I don’t think I’ll ever likely get to repeat again in my life!

I was really happy with the overall result we got from the shoot and Adam and Emily were over the moon with it.

Uncategorized

Using the Rode NTG-2

Dan Atkins

Using the Rode NTG-2 for an interview
Using the Rode NTG-2 for an interview

My latest purchase to work alongside my Blackmagic URSA camera is the Rode NTG-2, an amazing value for money, shotgun microphone. You can pick up this mic, which comes with a windshield as extra, for around £140. For this you’ll get broadcast quality sound on a mic that will stand the test of time.

In conjunction with the URSA, it’s just seamless. Plug in to one of the 2 XLR points on the camera, check phantom power is on in the menu and away you go. On the side of the camera you have massive L and R audio meters with adjusting knobs that make using this mic even easier. In the above the picture you can see our interviewer Gareth holding the mic, some mic’s would not work this way, as even holding the mic can cause vibration noise, but this wasn’t the case, it just picked up great quality sound. I also have a Rode suspension mount on top of my camera for the mic to sit in, this is a great option for picking up secondary in camera audio when working alongside something like a lav mic or an external recorder with some condenser mic’s. It is also my desire to pick up a boom for it at some point, to get some on point audio for any short film projects.

I am really impressed by the range of this mic, you can see from the picture that we didn’t need to ruin our shot by having the mic right in our subjects face, but still managed to get some great sound with it lower and out of shot.

Compared to other mic’s I have used, i.e. the rode video mic, or a zoom H4N (which just picks up EVERYTHING!) this is several classes above as a primary sound option for any video. It’s clean, easy to use and has a great range on it, all for less than £150. If you don’t have this mic yet, or are still using a ‘video mic’ save some pennies and buy this mic. The benefit will astound you!