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New Type Of ‘Action Cam’ Films 360-Degrees

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A new kind of action camera made for the outdoors debuted last month. The V.360° Camera from VSN Mobil records footage in its namesake 360 degrees to soak in all angles of a scene. (See our initial post, “Camera Shoots At All Angles.”)

Two GearJunkie video crews have had V.360° cameras in hand for a month, and we’ve shot in a huge range of settings and conditions, including rain, snow, wind, the high alpine backcountry, on a motorcycle, and in the frozen urban jungle in Minneapolis.

We caught up with longtime GearJunkie collaborator Joshua Van Patter, a shooter and editor based in Portland, Ore., to talk about his experience with the camera and a new type of format you’ll be seeing more of on YouTube and beyond in 2015.

Joshua Van Patter prepares for a test shoot with the V.360° Camera mounted on his Ducati

Have you used 360-degree cameras before, and how is this camera different?

We have used GoPro cameras attached together in a spherical array to create a 360-degree image. There were six GoPros put together. It worked but had major limitations with syncing color together as well as combining and stitching in post-production. The V.360° camera is different in that it’s only one lens, and it is a 4K-resolution camera.

Is there demand in the video industry for 360 footage?

There is a bit of a demand, particularly in the action sports industry. It’s pretty easy to miss an angle or damage a lens on a regular shoot, especially with close POV footage. 360-degree footage can alleviate those concerns, as you’re using one camera and getting all the angles.

Snowboarding test shoot, including 360-degree footage

What do videographers think of the 360-degree format?

It is so new I know many videographers do not completely grasp it. Yet, after seeing things like Ken Block’s Gymkhana SEVEN and other videos beginning to use the format I think you’re going to begin seeing more people coming around.

Who will most benefit from this kind of footage?

Action sports cinematographers and motorcyclists who drive with POV cameras on their helmets to avoid hit-and-runs. I’m guessing police cars and people who use dash-cams in their vehicles will start to use 360 cameras as well.

How can you use this footage in a produced video?

There are a ton of options. Using the footage is pretty easy. Once imported, you’ll notice a 3240?×?2160 mp4 file. It’s the full 360 image, but it is clipped into two sections on top of one another. I took this file into Adobe’s After Effects, created two simple masks and aligned the footage up. I’m now able to pan easily through the 360 footage, only highlighting the sweet spots of the film and keeping those for a final edit.

Mountain test shoot

Is it easy or hard to deal with in edit?

Super easy. A beginner can figure it out. It’s the same codec as GoPro and a number of DSLRs.

What options do you have to display footage captured in 360?

Two main options — panorama with boarders, as it doesn’t fit the full 16×9 aspect ratio when stretched; and then “panned” selections, which are what I described above. You have the ability to pan within a clip and pick the area you want to use.

Test shoot: V.360° camera footage on motorcycle ride

What have some of your cohorts in the video world said when you’ve shown them this footage or the camera?

“Wild!” That’s a top reaction I am getting. Have got good feedback overall, especially from the moto industry.

What do you think of the form factor of this camera?

Form factor is pretty spot on. The V.360° camera has a solid build and looks really sharp and clean.

V.360° Camera on tripod in Oregon high alpine

What do you like most about the 360-degree format?

The ability to get multiple angles out of the same footage is awesome. Also, not having to worry about panning is new. (You only need to think about tilting the camera while recording.) You’re able to get some extremely wild angles and pans that five years ago would have taken thousands of dollars worth in special gear to achieve.

—See more about the V.360° Camera by VSN Mobil.

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