Field Test – 360 Camera, Ricoh Theta S

After agonizing for weeks about what my field test is going to be, I’ve decided to shoot footage with the Ricoh Theta S 360 camera. I’ve been trying to rack my brain on what I could possibly do with a 360 camera that hasn’t already been done or explored already. I’m going to utilize the Ricoh Theta S and try to find compelling situations where it could be used. Its greatest strength is its small size and discreet design–where could I place this that would get footage previously unseen? Also, unlike the GoPro rig and its bulky tripod counterpart, I can get 360 video from a higher up angle or a very low angle without much hassle. I have checked it out for the weekend so I’ll update this post on how my shoots go.

UPDATE:

Here is my finished field test product. I took it to a BBQ at a friend’s house and held it (very carefully) sideways over a grill so you can look down at the food. Most 360 videos don’t allow the viewer to look down. However, because I was standing off to the side, my hands holding the Theta as well as myself were awkwardly cut off.

I did learn how to stitch together footage, which is actually a very simple process with the camera. The files upload into iPhoto on my MacBook Pro; then they must be exported to another location as a .mov file. Then, you have to upload the footage to the Ricoh Theta software, which is easily accessible on their website.

I’m impressed with just how accessible this camera was and the possibilities it creates for consumers who want to mess around with a 360 camera. It is simple and easy to use, and like I predicted, those who asked me about it with were impressed with its discreet design. Like I said in the video, it reminds me of the once-popular FlipCam which allowed people to film quickly and with a low profile.

I’m happy with the way the video turned out and I think it would be interesting to get rid of the cameraperson completely. I wonder what the 360 video would look like if it was attached to a fishing wire or even a selfie stick. It was also cool to see that even though I didn’t have a tripod, the 360 video was still easy to watch because I held the camera very steady.

I thought that at the end of this class I would check out a 360 GoPro rig and learn how to stitch everything the complicated way with the AutoPano software, but the Theta made it a much more streamlined process, and I think that’s what matters. Understanding the concept of 360 video is vital because the workflow will change but the underlying technology will not.