360 and Virtual Reality Video: How I’m planning on producing more as cheaply as possible

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You know that I’m hot and cold on virtual reality storytelling. It’s too hard to carry a headset around with you as a consumer. There’s not enough content out there anyway. Blah blah blah. Excuses, excuses.

Production seems hard. More equipment to lug around? But is that even true? So I started looking into this further!

So I decided to kick this project off and with some fun trips on deck. I went to quickly research what equipment could get me to the goal of producing and sharing these kinds of videos quickly without having to add a ton of equipment!

A quick look at my November travel where I will try to use this new form of storytelling:

In all, I’m spending time in:

  • Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • Washington, D.C. – including the Redskins – Falcons game
  • Tampa – including the Redskins – Bucs game (see a trend here? LOL #footballfan )
  • Paris
  • Madrid
  • Barcelona – where I’m speaking at a conference
  • London – where I’m speaking at another conference
  • Dusseldorf – where I’m seeing family and friends

In all it’s a 180,000 miles redemption month with some paid travel. I’m also flying on the upper deck in business class of a British Airways 747 – which should lend itself to some fun storytelling. “Can I please board first? LOL.”

So the stories that can be told are endless. I searched for equipment. Some was too complicated. Some was stuck in Kickstarter fundraising. Others, I couldn’t tell if it would work. I consulted with VR expert and friend Cathy Hackl.

I ended up getting this camera, which I can use directly with my iPhone 6S. That was one requirement for me. My iPhone shoots great video – even 4K – so why do I need another camera? I don’t! But the Insta360 Nano attaches directly to my iPhone!

That’s the affiliate link on Amazon but I actually bought it for roughly the same price through the American Airlines AAdvantage Shopping portal to earn some additional award miles. So I got points for buying it there AND points by using my American Airlines co-branded credit card!

You will also need a mini-SD card and reader. So I ordered this one:

To view virtual reality videos you’ll need a headset like this one, of course:

How I’m planning on shooting interesting 360/VR video

The first thing that’s necessary to shoot good video of course is to leave the office. It’s impossible for me to shoot video worth watching when I’m just sitting in my office. Sincerely, Captain Obvious.

So with a heavy travel month on deck, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to dive into this. For example, my wife and I are using remaining airline vouchers that we got when American cancelled a trip due to a broken plane for a weekend-getaway to Niagara Falls.

sheraton on the fallsWe are staying at the Sheraton on the Falls, and while I didn’t have enough points to cover the stay the cost for a room with the view of the falls seemed reasonable.

I would be highly surprised if there are no opportunites for VR video shooting there! (Fingers crossed that the camera arrives in time before we leave!)

I’ve also been thinking about how the crew over at MeetingsToday.com can do more video from event spaces. And maybe that’s one way to do it by doing 360 selfie style videos. We’ll see and I’m planning on testing that.

The next trip is to Washington, D.C., which includes business meetings and a Redskins game (hey, it was way cheaper to fly Sa-Tu than Su-Tu. I’m saving money here!). So there should be some opportunities. I’m thinking of Ubering from the hotel to the game and then back. Maybe a story on taking rideshare to and from sporting events! (That used to be really inconvenient)

The following weekend I’m heading to sunny Tampa and I’m thinking I’ll be able to get some nice beach shots there.

Then, a couple of Europe trips – which include two speaking engagements – on deck so there should be plenty of opportunities there to produce something. For example, I’m flying Dusseldorf-London City Airport, which is in the heart of town. A story could be about that experience and why people might consider flying into new airports versus the obvious choice of London Heathrow, for example.

You’ve heard me complain about barriers in video storytelling and I hope to overcome them here in this project. I’ll post videos on my YouTube channel.

Will it work? We’ll see. But this is a goal for the end of October and November.

Will anyone watch? That’s a whole different question. 🙂

But I do know this: Virtual reality storytelling and other emerging technologies will continue to enter the market. You might as well try them.

Join me in San Diego in April 2019 at the Content Tech Summit to join my workshop on how to pick the right tech for you!

Thanks to VR expert Cathy Hackl for her guidance on this topic. Check out her book on the topic: