Picture this. A new garden center has opened in town and it’s time for you (the customer) to start your summer gardening projects. You’ve heard great things about the store, yet you’re debating if you want to stray away from your usual to try and tackle an unknown place during the busy weekend. Will the place have what I want? Will its displays inspire my green thumb? Will I be overwhelmed with new options? It would be so easy to just go to the place you already know.
Cue the need for virtual reality to step in. With 360° video followers can experience your store from the ease of their personal devices. The first-person exploration potential is effective because viewers (or ‘users’) influence what they see and can take direct control of the narrative. This experience provides the benefit of having a video post on your social media site while allowing your followers to virtually wander throughout your business.
Need a refresher on the importance of video on social media? Read our blog Let’s talk Video for a quick review on how top priority is given to video content.
My initial thought of 360° videos seemed like it was a concept only available to video pros. However, recently the Center dived into the trend to see how it works and demystify the process. After scrolling through forums, reviewing ratings, and viewing video takes, our team decided to purchase the Ricoh Theta S Digital Camera to use while shooting a video at a local garden center. The main reason the Theta S won us over was its lower price option, yet quality ratings, making it affordable for business owners and hobbyists (you!).
We found our Ricoh Theta SC at Best Buy for around $269.
Over the next few months, we’ll be exploring how 360° video can help enhance new-media marketing strategies for rural and small businesses through focus groups. To kick it off though, here are our initial 7 tips to get the most out of your 360° video.
7 tips to get the most out of your 360° video
- The Tripod
The essential tool of the trade, the tripod. Holding this camera won’t do, as 360° includes your face, too. With a tripod, you can capture everything in the room without worrying about obstructions. The traditional tripod works great for shooting large spaces, but anything can be used to stabilize the camera for trickier angles.
- Utilize Space
The 360° camera is best for shooting whole spaces, instead of smaller parts of spaces. Use a tall tripod because the height allows you to see more of the space.
- Distance is Key
Closer isn’t always better. Since viewers can scroll around the video, close-up objects can be obnoxious. It’s easy to see and understand the space if objects aren’t near the camera.
- Ready, Aim…
Along the same vein, 360° video is about the experience, not just the education. 360° video allows viewers to be at the location and experience it for themselves.
- Pair Photos with Video
For products you’d like to highlight, we’d recommend using photos along with the video. Photos allow a clearer shot of the object, without taking away from the 360°, vicarious experience.
- Minimum Editing Required
For easy transfer, upload straight from the camera app to the internet. Using the low- quality camera of the Theta SC has the advantage of being cost-effective, but the quality is grainy. Editing can enhance the color vibrancy and quality, but converting to and from file formats is tricky, since not every application can play 360 video. An edited video is better, but unedited is usable and simple.
- Location, Location, Location
Possibly the most important tip, you want a video that people want to watch. Excitement or curiosity should be the driving factor here. No one wants to watch a 360° video of a hallway. It must be something adventurous or something new, or at least something that not everyone gets to experience daily. Because of limited simple editing, the ideal location is also well-lit.
When it comes down to it, 360° video can be a simple process that allows your customers to become engaged and immerged. By using these 7 simple pointers you can create an easy, professional product that viewers will love.
Have you dived into the world of 360° video yet? We’d love to hear your takeaways in the comments below.