Light, Sound & Stability (use of tripod) are important to have a good quality VR video shot. With VR a proper setup is essential, as a shaky video, a bad frame rate can cause headache and unprofessional video quality.
Use of tripod:
Shaky cameras and hand-held footage are not ideal for VR, as they generally create unusable content. You will need a camera mount to house your cameras and some form of tripod to hold the whole rig. There are several companies that sell camera housings and mounts and various online sources can create custom 3D printed housings for your setups. Optional wireless remotes are available for some cameras setups, allowing you to start recording on multiple cameras at the same time.
Recording of sound:
Sound is probably the area what the least effort is usually made from the Light, Sound & Stability trio. Sound adds another layer to immerse the viewer into your creative world. An important component to most experiences, users can be notified in the titling sequence or pre-roll to “Use Headphones” or that the experience is “Best with Headphones.” 3D spatial audio experiences are otherwise lost on the mobile device alone. Gear VR makes use of the new Fraunhofer Cingo system for state of the art spatial sound processing. Milk VR supports mono, stereo, and 3D spatial audio (preferred).
Single channel mono outputs from cameras can be used, but you lose the immersive quality provided by spatial audio. For example, if you recorded a concert and only used the output from the front facing camera, when you look away from the forward view in a 360 VR experience, the audio will not adjust to your movement.
External microphones are recommended for recording audio in your scenes. You can sync the output from these microphones to your video in post-production.
When choosing microphones for your setup, there are several options and techniques to consider. Binaural microphones can give the illusion of 3D sound without telling you the location. This bi, or two, audio microphone setup is a stereo input modeled after real ears. These microphones are typically fine for use in simple scenes where the two people are talking to the left and right, with a viewer’s focus demanded in the front.
Omni-Binaural microphones, from companies like 3Dio, mix four inputs, or two binaural inputs. The resulting audio output pans to match the dummy ears when your real ears are positioned between
them in 3D space. Humans have the ability to localize forward sound within a single degree, but our peripheral sound abilities can be off by up to 16 degrees. Omni-binaural can record about 4 degrees of sound and provide a reasonable quality for VR. Omni-Binaural microphones range from a few thousand dollars and up.
Ambisonic microphones provide a full sphere surround sound technique. These consist of a microphone array dividing the full-sphere of sound into a set number of degrees. An example of an ambisonic microphone is the TetraMic, manufactured by Core Sound, LLC. The codec uses volume control on playback to increase volume on the focusing areas.
Lighting is necessary in any video. Video does not respond to light the same way your eyes do and cannot cope with the lighting contrast you experience in real life. This means if you shoot a scene without some form of artificial lighting, the shadows will be completely dark or the highlights will be completely white. It is almost impossible to shoot a night scene without lights, even if there is moonlight. Good lighting is an integral part of crafting the mood of a scene.
However, unlike traditional film production, you cannot hide your lighting off screen. All lighting must be hidden inside your scene or placed as a part of your environment, making lighting a 360 film much more challenging. It also makes lighting from every angle almost impossible. Standard three-point lighting techniques can still be followed, but you will need to get inventive when positioning and hiding the source and cords. Removal of bright lighting fixtures in post-production can also be a challenging task, as correctly masking out the shadows may be problematic. A common practice among filmmakers is taking still photos of an area with the light source removed, at the same angle of the facing camera. This still photo is then used as a way to mask out unwanted items in post-production. To highlight your focus subject, try focusing the brightest lights on the subject with no more than three stops hotter than the darkest point in the scene. There are multiple books and online resources available to help you select the correct lighting configuration to match the mood of your scene.