360 Degree Music Videos: What and Why?

  • 10 Aug, 2016

One of the best things about making music videos is the chance to experiment and follow new creative impulses. If the artist is up for it and budgets allow, boom, we’re on our way.

Recently, in another line of our work, we have been learning a lot about 360 degree videos and so naturally we’ve been thinking about how to use them in music video production.

If you’ve heard of The Occulus Rift, Google Card or you play online virtual reality games, then you know about 360 videos. If this is a new subject to you, we have linked to a couple of articles at the bottom of the page that provide an introduction to the subject, its history and some of the common applications where it is being used now.

Filming 360 Videos

360 videos are best watched on a Chrome browser or the YouTube app on your mobile. You can manipulate the screen, either through the movement of the head and body if you’re wearing a virtual reality headset, or using your cursor to move around the screen – to see ‘what is behind you?’

From a filming point of view 360 videos bring on a significant technical challenge.

The cameras are relatively low-cost and, at the risk of upsetting anyone, fairly easy to use, BUT there is more or less only one wide-angle lens choice. The consequence of this is that a traditional close up will look distorted: as if the subjects’ nose was pressed against the glass. There are new rules of composition coming into play.

The other consequence of 360 is that any kit, especially the lights, will be seen, so you can’t use them in a normal way. Traditional camera techniques have to be re-visited and the crew has to be off-screen.

The best way to get started is take a look at some examples:

Avicii - Waiting For Love (Jump VR Video) This 360 music video has been watched 17 million times. Although there is a lot of action going on it is a static video – everything happens in one space. It’s clever and must have required a lot of choreography and smart editing. Is clever enough?

FOALS - Mountain At My Gates:

Well, here’s another clever one. I’m still trying to work out how they did everything in it, and every time I watch it I see something new.

Welcome [360 Version] by Fort Minor (Official Video)

This 360 music video shows a simple treatment – the artist in an oblivious crowd sings his song, whichever way you look, something is going on, or is it … because at various points the edit is rapid and there’s no time to look around. Pausing the video to take a look doesn’t reveal anything special and so .. what’s the point. It stands on its own as a ‘regular’ video.

Naive New Beaters - Heal Tomorrow - Clip 360° ft. Izia This example is a full-on production looking more like a film-set but which has cleverly integrated some green-screen (I think) action and some big set-piece prop moves into the plot. At the beginning the audience is told to follow one particular guy around which is when you get to see the impressive stuff.

Snoop Dogg and his Snoopavision channel is included for this reason – they are funny, there is a series of them and you have to watch them twice to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Who wouldn’t be delighted to get their video watched twice by the same person?

The Future of 360 Video…

360 videos definitely have a future with music videos, but as always it’s the idea that matters first and foremost. It’s as simple as that.

A more likely use for 360 videos in the world of music will to put the viewer in the front row of the concerts of their choice.

Beyond that, there are gaming companies developing 3D virtual reality 360 degree videos that you interact with. I’m not sure how you would use this in a music video but it’s an intriguing proposition – so long as it’s a great idea.

If you have any comments or feedback we would love to hear from you.

More on 360 Videos

Our friends at Camberwell Studios have been experimenting with 360 videos for a while now. Here are some useful articles to give you some more information regarding 360 video:

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 13:48
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