The 360˚ Video Buzz

You can’t help but noticing the hype around 360° videos. They are everywhere. At least here in Finland. You can see them in TV news, travel agency ads and music videos. They were kind of an unknown territory for me a few months back. I had an old iPhone that didn’t support 360 videos on Youtube so it took me a while to understand what was going on and I guess the same problem goes for many other people who own older phones these days.

So what are 360 videos? 360 videos are video recordings of a real-world panorama, where the view in every direction is recorded at the same time using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. During playback the viewer has control of the viewing direction, a form of virtual reality. So basically you can decide which direction to look while watching a video by moving the direction you are pointing your mobile phone. Simple right?

The first thing I noticed while watching the early 360 videos I saw was that you could actually see the person who was filming the video in all of the takes. That looked kinda funny, but these day there are really innovative and powerful videos that take the idea of 360 videos to a totally new level. I compiled some of them below for you to see.

This video from IM360 shows how you can use 360 videos to show beautiful scenery so you can take your time to look and enjoy the view. It makes it feel like a game, when your curiosity is awakened and you want to look around. My favorite part is where you can see the horses and elephants running around.

Supercell cleverly used the 360 trend to promote their game Clash of Titans. The 360 trick gives that little extra boost to make the video different and distinguishable.

I haven’t seen many 360 music videos. Or at least not many good ones. Björk and LMFAO tried them outbut they lacked idea and visual aspects. This video from Fort Minor looks okay and I like it more compared to the other ones, but I think it could exploit more the 360 technology, planning better and showing interesting things around the camera. Anyways, the common thing I see in 360 music videos is that they are quite boring. I hope that will change in the future.


Let’s see what the future will bring for 360 videos and all the endless possibilities to give the viewer the power to get a better and more intimate experience watching them. I wanna know more about the VR (virtual reality) and VR cardboard goggles Youtube keeps promoting me. Maybe that will be the next topic of my blog post. Until then, over and out!

One-Take Music Videos: A Fresh Idea or A Boring Thing to Watch?

 

My first memory of a one-take video comes from 1997, when I saw Radiohead‘s video “No Surprises“. I remember thinking: “whoa, this is a pretty artsy and weird music video.” I liked it, but it was too slow for my taste and not much happening in the video. But hey c’mon, it’s Radiohead! So of course you give them credit. The power of the video is the simple idea behind, it’s the charismatic singer Thom York and how well it works with their music. Not many bands or artists can pull that off.

 

 

A really genius idea of one-take music video was made by the band OK Go who showed a Rube Goldberg machine in the music video of their song “This Too Shall Pass”. The whole video is so over the top with crazy contraptions doing all kinds of funny and entertaining things that keep the viewer entertained and occupied during the whole video. I can imagine how difficult it was to plan and execute this music video. I really like the idea that all the members from the band were participating on this “test”. It makes you appreciate the band more, because they go through this ordeal to make a different music video. It was no surprise that Ok Go got viral with this (so far the video has attracted over 52 million views). The video offered something new to the viewer, it was surprising, clever and entertaining.

 

 

This next example didn’t convince me much. It’s by Nicolas Godin for the song “Bach Off”. The video was filmed at the Orly airport in Paris. Visually the video looks good, but for me it lacks content. The video is too long (almost 8 minutes!) and I guess it’s meant to be like a short-movie-style music video, but it gets really boring pretty fast. If you are gonna make a one-take music video, make sure that it has a twist or something else that keeps it interesting and challenges the viewer. A cool place and solid camera work is not enough.

 

A pretty new acquaintance for me is a band called Astroid Boys from Cardiff, Wales. I ran into them on Youtube a few days ago. They are a rising underground band, but I have to admit, I admire their creativity. Their music video “Posted” published over a year ago is really awesome! Small details make it work: it’s black and white, but some parts are highlighted with color and a great original performance by the band members, switching places and executing their roles with attitude. Obviously this video was made with a small budget, but it doesn’t matter, because  you get an “A-ha” feeling and enjoy what you are seeing, because this is out of the norm. These guys are breaking the pattern and going for something new and as a viewer I appreciate that.

So, one-take music videos… Are they a fresh idea or a boring thing to watch? Even though it has been used in music videos for years, I think it’s a fresh idea.  These days it’s hard for artists to make something new so I would suggest trying out these kinds of videos to get that extra element of surprise and create something new that differs from other music videos. If the video is made in the right way and  it’s interesting enough, then I wouldn’t see a problem in making it work.

 

A good rule of thumb is that if you are gonna make a music video with only one shot,  make sure that your video has some or all of these elements:

 

  1. It’s surprising or has a twist (challenge and surprise the viewer!).
  2. It is entertaining. You are also allowed to do crazy stuff!
  3. It has an interesting beginning and ending.
  4. Don’t make it too long and boring. Make the “illusion” last the whole video.
  5. Use the artists or band members in a creative way.
  6. Don’t forget about continuity as this will bring rhythm to the clip.

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