The Bottle Rocket Media team shares the key lessons they’ve learned mastering the coolest new medium for video storytelling

We’re not much for bragging, but we’re kind of the OGs when it comes to video production companies using 360 video. We’ve learned a lot since our first rodeo—from the slam dunk contest to our store tour with American Girl, we’ve honed our expertise in this emerging medium. Today, we’re sharing a crash course packed with nuggets of wisdom we’ve picked up along the way.

Four things we’ve learned about working with 360 video

It’s vital to stay on top of the changes in technology
360 video is still a new technology, so it’s crucial for video production companies to stay on top of the latest and greatest in the field—especially if they plan to include it in their repertoire of services. That means knowing the newest innovations in 360-degree cameras, sound recording and mixing techniques, and keeping tabs on the new ways people are viewing and using these videos. Staying on top of the latest advancements in the field will improve the way we we tell stories in 360, so we keep our finger on the pulse at all times. Also, we like making clients happy and telling cool stories in boundary-pushing ways.

Don’t just be a 360 producer—be a viewer and a fan
Even if they’ve never held a camera that can’t also make phone calls, everyone is a video storytelling expert. Think about it: We all watch movies and TV, so the elements of good video storytelling are subliminally built into our viewing experience. A lot of these same elements are steadily being developed in 360-degree video tech, so it’s essential to keep an eye on what’s out there. You can’t bury your head in the sand and only make—and watch—your own stuff. Instead, look around and be open to inspiration from what others are making in the space. A 16-year-old kid in Ohio might make the next best 360 video that could transform the industry in a year, or a big name brand could make an investment and create something that changes the trajectory of 360 forever. Be aware, watch everything other people create, and take your ego out of the equation. Don’t just be a 360 video producer—be a fan.

Not all videos were meant to be 360—and that’s okay
Sometimes a 360-degree field of view isn’t appropriate for a certain video or audience—and that’s okay! The first thing you have to consider when planning a video is how it will be viewed and how your approach can best complement the story you want to tell. We call it “honoring the medium.” If you’re going to film in 360, you need to be certain that the shots you want to capture aren’t better served by traditional film. There has to be a reason for creating a 360-degree viewing experience, and simply wanting to shoot in 360 isn’t a reason. Do everything you can to tell the best story in the best possible way, even if that means 360 video isn’t the answer.

Sound recording and mixing can make or break a 360 video production
We can’t overemphasize how important sound is to a successful 360 video production. Not only will capturing quality sound on-site make or break your experience in post-production, capturing quality spatial audio is what really accentuates a video and sells the viewer on what they’re experiencing. Incorporating audio in an appropriate, skillful mix is the key to making a 360 production truly immersive.

Most importantly, enjoy the process and the experience of creating a 360 video production, from shooting, to editing, to sharing. Take time to appreciate the incredible technology you have at your fingertips and the innovations constantly emerging in this space. We don’t know where this technology will be a year from now, but we’ll be right there alongside it, cranking out masterpieces. If you want to learn more about our services and what it’s like to work with us, head to our website and check out some of our work. If you’re ready to take the 360 video plunge, let’s talk.