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The Difference Between VR and 360

We are often asked, “What’s the difference between VR and 360?”

While the terms are often used interchangeably, they are different.

First, let’s talk about what 360 and Virtual Reality do have in common:

What’s 360 Video?

360-degree video has transformed the way we can capture and share environments. By using high-tech cameras with multiple lenses (like this one we used on this project) we can simultaneously record in every direction, creating an immersive video that viewers can interact with in real time by simply moving their head in the direction they want to see. 360 videos have gained enormous popularity. They’re more engaging than static videos or photos and they let viewers independently control what they see. And they are hot on social. Check out this blog from last year on why you need 360 on Facebook.

What is Virtual Reality (VR) Video?

Getting a little technical here, the term “Virtual Reality” is used to describe a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. This person becomes part of the virtual world, or, is immersed within this environment and is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions. Phew, that’s a lot. Bottom line is, VR aims to create a totally immersive experience. The viewer is taken into an artificial environment and can interact in this virtual-world in very real ways.

So, what is the difference between VR and 360 video? spelled it out pretty clearly: Think of it like this — with 360 video, you’re in the passenger seat of a car. The driver represents the filmmaker, who creates a stunning experience and invites you along for the ride. You can look around from your seat and enjoy the curated scenery. With VR, you are behind the wheel, deciding where you want to go. While it may seem like more control is awesome, it is not the same kind of experience filmmakers and viewers are seeking, and that’s why VR is most often used in video game or simulation systems.

Interested in creating an immersive, interactive video? Contact Bottle Rocket Media and we’ll help you create a stunning one-of-a-kind video experience to transport your viewers wherever your heart desires.

Interactive 360 Video Project Shout-Out: Cocktails With Becci

Using 360 Virtual Reality To Make Videos Interactive

Cocktail how-to videos aren’t exactly a groundbreaking way to promote a mixologist or the bar where they work. It’s a stagnant, standard formula: a static frame around the bartender, shot from the waist up, watching a drink be assembled ingredient by ingredient. We decided to break the mold with our cocktail how-to series focused on Becci, the star drink-slinger at Autre Monde in Berwyn, Illinois, whose fun, outgoing personality can’t be tamed. As big-time fans of 360 video and the many creative ways filmmakers can use it, we leapt at the opportunity to turn the standard how-to on its head with interactive film and content.

“Cocktails with Becci” Q&A with Brett Singer

What was the vision and inspiration behind the “Cocktails with Becci” series?

We made this series during our early days of experimenting with 360 video production. We wanted to create a series of videos that was fun, interesting and educational, and really see how much we could do with this new medium. Weeks before we decided to make the videos I had sat in nearly in that exact same seat at the bar, watching Becci mix up a delicious Sazerac for me, and thought, this is kind of a cool moment. Maybe it’s worth exploring.

How did you come up with the idea to use interactive 360 video technology for this series, and how does it take this series beyond the standard “bartender how-to” archetype?

As a 360 video creator, you’re always thinking about projects and ideas that would benefit from this new medium. I like watching smart, creative people do their craft. I think there’s magic there. I don’t care if you’re an artist, a gaffer, a plumber, or a bartender—I like watching people do physical jobs well. They make it look easy. But most how-to videos don’t capture that whole experience of seeing someone flex their muscle inside their creative spaces. Watching Becci mix ingredients is interesting, but to also capture how at ease she feels in this environment, and what it feels like to watch her do her thing from a perch on a barstool, paints a much better picture of how I felt that first day sitting at her bar. And, you get to learn how to make a drink, too!

What elements contributed to the effectiveness of the storytelling?

I think Becci is the most effective storytelling element. She’s a wildly experienced bartender who teaches classes on mixology and is effortless in front of the camera. I’ve sat for hours just watching her work and it’s incredible. Her work is complex, and fast, and she does it with grace. She’s the best.

I also think adding the second close-up camera is a cool detail. In 360 you often want to lean in, or zoom into moments, and you can’t. This technique allowed us to use both the 360 space and a close-up camera to stitch together a truly immersive experience.

How do you think your approach to this video helped to capture the unique elements of Becci’s personal style and the Autre Monde brand?

Any video with only one person in it will obviously, for better or worse, highlight their personality and put a spotlight literally and figuratively on them. Becci has a huge personality and a massive smile. For the most part we just got out of her way because we knew she’d knock it out of the park.

Did any obstacles come up while making this video? If so, how did you work around them?

Honestly, no. It was smooth sailing and happened so fast (we did one take per video) that we should have planned better and done 6-10 videos. But we literally shot them all in about 30 minutes.

What was your favorite part of the project and why?

The feedback we’ve gotten from the videos has been great. Super positive, and everyone seems to enjoy them. So, that’s always good. Plus we got to do some great day drinking.

Do you have a favorite cocktail from Becci’s series?

I’m a whiskey drinker, and I like a classic, well made Old Fashioned, with great bourbon.

Give Your Viewers an Immersive VIP Tour With 360 Video

How a peek behind the scenes can give your audience engagement a major boost

No one can resist a “behind the scenes” tour, and 360 videos provide the perfect opportunity to give viewers a rare experience without having to leave their couch. For brands, 360 video tours are the perfect way to connect with viewers. If you’re hosting an event or spotlighting a cool venue, a 360 video tour can give your customers an interactive look inside their favorite company. Here’s how to make them work for you.

Finding the Right Time and Place

The best candidate for a 360 video tour is an exclusive event or a space your viewers wouldn’t normally get to explore. Look for locations with excitement from all sides, like a movie set, a colorful cultural event or a rare tour of a stunning home. The most important part of a video tour is offering your viewers a new experience. WeWork used a 360 video tour to showcase its unique coworking space in New York, offering its followers a glimpse of Times Square as well as a tour of their lively workspace that only members can usually enjoy. Access to that workspace is what they’re selling, and their tour gave potential customers a peek inside, while also highlighting the brand’s personality. E! News recently took readers inside reality star and model Kendall Jenner’s closet—a place they’ve never seen and would never be able to explore if not for the 360 tour.

When It’s The Wrong Time and Place

Not every story needs to be told with a 360 video tour, and the strongest candidates complement the message your brand is trying to share. If you’re not sure whether a 360 video tour is right for your event or location, consider what a guest would see and think if you gave them free rein to wander the space. The scene should have multiple points of interaction all around the room. If there isn’t an abundance of detail for viewers to explore, or if the story has a single focal point, a traditional video with a narrow focus might be better.

Plan The Story AND The Scene

Start your 360 video tour project by thinking about the video’s mission, audience and story. If you’re going skydiving, you don’t just want to show viewers a shot of you falling through the sky. Talk to the skydivers as they’re prepping inside the plane before the jump. In addition to mapping a narrative, you should also plan out the whole 360 degree scene. Make the most of your space, and invite your subject to move around and interact with their surroundings. Remove anything you wouldn’t want viewers to see—a messy desk, a poster with questionable language—and arrange props any you want use or highlight during the video.

If you’re thinking of telling your brand’s story with a 360 video tour, contact Bottle Rocket Media for help creating a stunning one-of-a-kind video experience. You name the place, and we’ll transport your audience there.

Video Project Shoutout: iO Comedy Network

Pairing cutting-edge video technology with the boundary-pushing improv teams at iO Comedy Network was a perfect match

Bottle Rocket Media recently had the privilege of teaming up with the world-famous talent at The iO Comedy Network to produce their very first 360 video improv experience. Shooting improv comedy in 360 video is a perfect pairing, allowing viewers to experience not only a hilarious onstage show, but also the magic that happens in the audience as the crowd and the performers feed off each other’s enthusiasm. We sat down with Brett Singer, Bottle Rocket’s creative director and the producer at the helm of this project, to get his take on this innovative fusion of live comedy and immersive video tech.

How was the project with The iO Comedy Network different than other 360 videos you’ve produced?

Capturing a live stage performance is a completely unique experience for us. With other 360 projects, we worked to tell a unique story for the 360 viewer using typical storytelling tools like editing, composition, and so on. For the iO Show, our paramount goal was to transport the viewer to the theater and make them feel as if they’re sitting in that audience—which is a long way of saying, we did our best to just let the amazing cast do their thing, and we were lucky enough to capture it.

Why did you choose 360 over traditional film?

In a theater environment, and especially in an improv theater space, the viewers make their own discoveries watching the performers across a wide stage. There’s so much competing for their attention: who should I watch? The 3 performers in the center of the stage, or the 4 waiting in the wings to jump in? I love seeing the actors’ wheels turn, so for me personally, I love catching those transition moments where new characters are introduced into a scene, and then watching closely as the other performers react. In 360 video we retain the viewer’s ability to make their own choices in what they want to watch. We’re not forcing them to focus on this performer only. They’re free to take in the whole theater experience.

How do you think using 360 enhanced the improv experience for viewers?

I think we captured something very special that night. These are world-class improvisers, and creating a 360 video experience where anyone—anywhere—can feel like they’re sitting in the audience is quite an accomplishment. It’s opening up the improv theater-going experience to not just the 150 people sitting in that crowd, but to anyone with a 360 headset. That’s a barrier that hasn’t been broken before now. So much of the improv experience is feeling the energy of the room, seeing the people around you, watching the whole stage and the performers. This 360 video gives you a front row seat.

Since the video consists of a continuous shot of the iO Theatre’s stage, was there any editing involved? Can you elaborate on the post-production process for this video?

We cut down the show a bit, just to tighten the length. The biggest post-production challenges were in the 360 degree spatial audio editing. We captured audio with individual lav mics for each performer, and then a 4-channel spatial audio mic for the room and audience. Blending all of those sources together into one smooth mix is what really tricks your brain into thinking you’re really in that room.

What was your favorite part of this project?

The show itself. Those iO performers (the group is called “The Late 90’s”) deserve all the credit (obviously!) for making this project such a success, and getting to enjoy their performances over and over again during the post process was my favorite part. We can’t wait for the next one!

4 Things We’ve Learned About Working With 360 Video

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.

Four Brands That are Killing the 360-Degree Video Game

And what you can learn from their masterpieces.

Thinking about diving headfirst into the world of 360-degree video? Good, you should! It’s an exciting new technology among an ever-growing arsenal of tools for brands, and since the YouTube team officially released global support for 360 videos back in March of 2015, things have really taken off. We’re all about calling out brands doing cool things with video, especially when it comes to 360. Take a look at what these brands are doing and what you can learn from their creative genius.

Four brands leading the 360-degree video charge


Why It Works

360-degree video is a natural fit for GoPro–their products are quite literally made for it. Their use of 360 video puts the viewer right in the center of the action, allowing them to go surfing in Tahitiskydiving with the GoPro Bombsquad, or swimming with dolphins. Even better, they have an almost endless supply of content from their own users, giving them an interactive way to display the capabilities of their products and put their customers in the spotlight.

What You Can Learn

360 video is all about creating an experience for your viewer, and GoPro has the added benefit of capitalizing on their audience’s FOMO. Their engaging, fast-paced, and visually stunning videos make you wonder what you’re missing out on. When done correctly, a 360-degree video can generate excitement, let viewers interact with a new experience, and make them feel like they’re a part of something bigger.

New York Times

Why It Works

The New York Times features one of the best-use cases of 360-degree video to date with the Daily 360. This new section of their website uses 360 to tell immersive, bite-sized stories that are fascinating and easy to digest for those with busy schedules and wandering attention spans. Better yet, the New York Times is also using the technology to dig deeper. Once a week, they release a more in-depth piece, like the one shown here.

What You Can Learn

Take your content creation for a creative spin. For the New York Times, it wasn’t much of a leap to go from storytelling with words to curating video content, and using 360-degree video puts them at the cutting edge of modern media. The Times is a staple of traditional news and media, but rethinking how they package and release content—and using 360 to do so—frames them as forward-thinking while also giving them a great opportunity to do some incredible storytelling. You can even take existing features and series on your site and convert them into 360 like the Times did with their “36 Hours” series.


Why It Works

Spotlight is Google’s interactive project, and 360-degree video is front and center. Each story is highly interactive, allowing viewers to unlock mini-stories within each scene. HELP, Google Spotlight’s first live-action story, is a standout example in the world of 360. This fast-paced video feels like a big-budget thriller and was an admirably ambitious project for such a new medium.

What You Can Learn

Using 360 doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice pace, tone, and storytelling ability. It isn’t just about the novelty of new technology; it should be adding something to the story you’re telling. In this, the immersive footage makes for a more visceral alien thriller experience, adding major depth to the setting. Sure, you may not have a huge Google budget to hire Justin Lin for your next 360 project, but this is a great example of how to effectively tell a story using the technology.

Bottle Rocket Media

Why It Works

What can we say—we love our work. With great clients and tons of exciting projects on deck, we’re psyched about continuing to dive into the world of 360-degree video. One of our favorites is this project for WeWork Times Square. Not only did the setting provide an awesome backdrop to WeWork’s already hip facilities, but this interview-driven piece also shows that 360 can be a great way to rethink more traditional content like a virtual tour or testimonial.

What You Can Learn

Working with an experienced video production company can take your branding to the next level. As a leading 360-degree video production company, we know what’s up with this new and exciting technology, and we’re already ahead of the curve when it comes to creating it. That means we can guide you through every step of the process from creative inception to finished product, helping to share your company’s authentic story on the screen in a new and more engaging fashion.

We are firm believers that everyone should give the 360-degree video a try. The first step in doing so is finding a video production company with a passion—or in our case, an obsession—for creating these masterpieces. We’ll be here as soon as you’re ready, cameras in hand. Give us a shout to get started.

Video 101: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and 360-Degree Video Production

What is the difference between 360-Degree Video, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?

Everywhere we look on social media, brands are touting 360-Degree and Virtual Reality Videos to help tell better stories. But we’ve found that those terms when describing video are thrown around a bit loosely, so we wanted to take a minute to break it down for y’all. To make sure you have a leg up on what’s trending in the video world, here is what you need to know about the differences between virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 360-degree video production.

Setting the record straight on Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and 360-degree video

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real life environment or situation. The goal of VR is to be immersive and engaging and to give viewers the opportunity to experience something they wouldn’t normally get to, like riding shotgun for a NASCAR race. All you need in order to get the full VR experience is a headset like the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, or Google Daydream.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is where real life and virtual enhancements collide. Think of it more as a supplemented reality where the viewer sees what is going on around them in the real world, but with superimposed, computer-generated add-ons like graphics and sounds. Augmented reality has its own hardware too, like Microsoft’s HoloLens and Sony SmartEyeglass. If you’ve ever played Pokemon GO, you’ve had a taste of AR’s capabilities.

What is 360-Degree Video?

360-degree video is an immersive, spherical video that captures all angles and puts the audience in the driver’s seat when it comes to what they see and when they see it. It can be viewed on a desktop, mobile device, or with VR headgear. We’ve talked before about why 360 video production rules, and why every brand should be using it.

Are 360 video and VR the same thing?

Honestly, it depends on who you ask. Some people say absolutely not, because while 360 video puts the audience smack dab in the middle of an all-encompassing scene, it is not interactive and the footage is real life instead of a simulation. Others reject this claim and counter it with the idea that there are two types of VR: Computer-generated and “real VR”. Computer-generated VR is exactly what we discussed above, and “real VR” is made up of real footage, which is where they say 360-degree video fits in.

What about AR and VR?

Other than the fact that both of these formats have the word “reality” in them, AR and VR are pretty different. Remember, virtual reality is an interactive simulation that mimics real life, while augmented reality is real life, but with the addition of computer-generated elements.

Fun fact: Even though we hear way more buzz around virtual reality, it is actually augmented reality that is on pace to reach $120 billion in revenue by 2020 compared to VR’s projected $30 billion.

Understanding the similarities and differences between these three types of video technology can be tricky, which is why knowing a few guys who happen to be experts in the field is helpful. If you want to learn more about how virtual reality, augmented reality, and 360-degree video production can bolster your marketing strategy, give us a call. We would love to show you their potential first hand.