A new addition to our filming kit is the extraordinary Insta360 ONE X camera. It's super small and easy to use and produces the most amazing 360 degree footage. We used it for the first time in the summer on a film for long-time client Trinity House to promote their commercial work servicing marker buoys.
The shoot was over 3 days, the first at Trinity House's Harwich buoy yard, to film cleaning, welding, painting and re-assembling the huge metal buoys. The second part of filming was on board Trinity House's flagship vessel THV Galatea. Here we filmed all aspects of the recovery of class 2 buoys from the sea, cleaning and checking of the electronics and then refloating.
All stages of the process involve big machines moving around heavy metal objects, so part of the challenge was to get the camera in the best place without compromising safety.
Another key challenge with 360 filming is that the camera has a very wide lens, so you need to get in really close to the action. There's no staying back and zooming in with a long lens. With 360 films the idea is that the camera is a 'privileged bystander' who is at the very heart of the action.
To do this, we put the camera either on a tripod or clamp in a fixed position, or on occasion, a camera operator held the camera on its special filming monopod and held it in place. This Insta360 supplied monopod is c1m long and is extraordinary as the camera's electronics automatically remove it from the final image. The camera seems to literally float in mid air. Having said that, it doesn't remove the person holding the monopod so if you look round on some of the handheld shots, you'll see Hamish lurking in the back of shot, cunningly disguised as a deck hand!
The film as shown above is in 2D and the viewer can move the POV around (NB the YouTube link does not work on some phones, so try the YouTube app or a regular computer).
The intended viewing method however is on a virtual reality Oculus Go headset, where you get the full 360 experience. Trinity House now show the film at trade shows and the feedback is fantastic.