360 cameras are weird. They’ve got two back-to-back lenses, weird shapes, and their photos and videos require editing to look their best. So what’s the point?
Good question! I’m a big fan of 360 cameras and have brought one with me on all my travels for years. The photos and videos they’re able to take are unlike anything you can get with a traditional camera. You don’t even need a special website or device to see them. Well, not for most of their content.
These oft-misunderstood cameras can be a lot of fun and can easily make unique content. Here’s why.
Most 360 cameras can automatically delete a selfie stick, so it looks like the camera is floating next to the user. A sort of inexpensive drone shot, minus the cost and legalities of drone ownership. The video above was shot with a 360 camera on an antenna mount.
With a traditional camera you have one view: in front of the camera. With a 360 camera, you have all views: Everything around the camera. So you never need to think about what to shoot. You’re going to capture everything all at the same time. With most cameras you can edit this footage down into a traditional video featuring the most interesting angles and shots. GoPro calls this OverCapture while Insta360 calls it FreeCapture.
Because the camera is capturing essentially a sphere around itself, there’s tons of data for the camera (or app) to process to create ultra-stabilized content. It looks like you’re on rails, or the camera is on a gimbal.
Strasbourg Tiny Planet from my Instagram.
You can create photos and videos that look like you’re standing on a miniature world. These were all the rage a few years ago, and some people (like myself) still think they’re a fun way to show a different perspective. They’re super easy to create. Just a single photo and a few taps in an app.
If you check out the second half of the video above you’ll see what I mean. Combining an invisible selfie stick and careful hand placement, it can look like you’ve got a drone following you around. It’s a great way to show a walking hyperlapse around a city or park, for instance.
Help others explore your world by publishing to Google StreetView. With either a single image, or a connected series of images, you can let people see in full 360 whatever place you think is interesting. While the main street part of StreetView is via Google’s cars, many smaller, harder to reach, and interior areas were made by people like you!
Check out more on Google’s StreetView FAQ.
Last, for this list anyway, is the “traditional” use of a 360 camera. You can post 360 photos and videos as-is on Facebook, YouTube, and several other sites. Using a mouse, or just moving your phone, a viewer can look around as if they’re inside the photo. These can also be viewed in a VR headset.
If you’re curious what these cameras are like, here’s detailed look at the Insta360 One X2.
For something a bit less expensive, the Kandao QooCam Fun is, well, fun:
Also check out the latest update to Wirecutter’s Action Camera guide (which I wrote), which features a 360 camera as the Upgrade Pick, along with some additional thoughts about specific 360 cameras.
7 Reasons To Buy A 360 Camera – Forbes
03/06/2022 360 Photography