360 Shoots are done using a 360 camera like GoPro Fusion 360, Ricoh Theta V, Samsung Gear 360, etc., or using a custom rig of multiple cameras. No matter the camera used, you have to make sure the shoot proceeds in the following manner.
- Do a recce of the shooting site and select the best available locations on-site that can enhance the experience of the viewer in 360.
- Check the light levels and decide on a time of day to do the shoot. Get all the interior lights working, by the staff on site.
- Make sure to ask the site team to clean up the location for the shoot and have all the requisite props and items ready.
- Debrief any actors about their roles and if required, give them a script for their perusal. Ask them to rehearse their scripts a few times before the shoot.
- Inform the on-site personnel to groom well on the day of the shoot.
Day of shoot
- Make sure to check if everything noted on the recon day has been done on-site.
- Do a test run with the actor/s and get them comfortable.
- Always set the camera at a height of 5’2” (average eye height) while mounted on a monopod/tripod.
- Setup the camera and other props as required and do test runs to check on light conditions and scene aesthetics. Camera settings should be sorted out during this. Get it right before the actual shoot.
- Inform the non-performing personnel on-site that it is a 360 shoot and everyone will be visible to the camera and so they have to focus on their work while the shoot is in the process or get them away from the shoot location if required.
- Emphasize on keeping the environment as normal and every day as possible. At no point during the shoot should anyone be looking at the camera or the actor.
- Equip the actor with a collar mic and make sure it is recording before every shot.
- Inform the actor/s that they should wait 3 seconds after the “Action” call to start and to keep maintaining their stance at the end of their performance for 3 seconds before you call “Cut”.
- If using a GoPro Fusion 360 camera or any other similar camera, position the camera such that the stitch area is along a natural line in the environment, which can help fix any stitch line in post-production.
During the shoot
- Make sure the person handling the camera is not seen by the camera at any point.
- Call the scenes and take numbers loud and clear as soon as the camera starts recording. Give the “Action” call so that the actor knows when to begin and call “Cut” at the end of the shot. Have a sheet marked with all the takes, while selecting the ones that look perfect.
- Post a few people across all the ingress and egress locations within the environment, away from the camera’s line of sight, to stop people from entering during the shoot.
- Position the actor in front of an empty wall or any background with little clutter and void of any distractions.
- If the actor is not very comfortable with long dialogues and keeps forgetting them, suggest and provide a teleprompter with their dialogues on it. There are a lot of good teleprompter apps for smartphones that can be used for this purpose. Place the phone right under the camera, so that it won’t look like the actor is looking elsewhere for the whole dialogue delivery.
- For long-duration shoots, keep the actor feeling and looking fresh to avoid tiredness showing in any of the footage.
- Try to minimize the movement of the actor to within 90° and have some empty wall or panel nearby to project any data in post-processing.
- Take a photo and a short clip at every position of the camera, without the main actor. This can come in handy when editing the footage in post-processing.