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The Complications of 360 Degree Video

Before shooting with a 360-degree camera, I really had no clue what to expect. I didn’t know what the camera was going to look like, how it was going to work, or even how I was going to hold it. I thought to myself, “I wouldn’t consider myself to be an expert on cameras. Am I even going to be able to use this thing?” My first experience with a 360-degree camera was nearly a year and a half ago. I was privileged to be tasked with shooting footage of the Brodhead Center and thus, learning how to use a 360-degree camera. The problem is, as I said, that was over a year and a half ago and I haven’t touched the camera since. After my first shoot, I could successfully answer those questions that I previously had to ask myself. Now, I can barely even remember what the camera looks like, let alone how to use it. And so, with the new duty of filming the extravagant Trinity House, I was once again tasked with learning the ins and the outs of the 360-degree camera. Lucky for me, one thing that I do remember is that the camera itself was not that difficult to use. The application, on the other hand, is quite the burden.

The main problem wasn’t the camera itself. The camera that I was using was the Nikon KeyMission 360. It looks like a fist-sized cube and has two curved lenses and image sensors to capture footage from the front and from the back. If I’m being honest, I couldn’t even tell you which side of the camera is the front and which was the back. It has almost perfect symmetry. The directions appeared fairly simple. While the camera was off, it said to hold down the button on the top until the lights were flashing (to send it into pairing mode) and then connect the camera to your phone via Bluetooth. After pairing, connect to the camera’s wifi network and you should be all set up. Finally, you can use the app to remotely start and stop filming as well as view an in-app gallery of footage taken so far.

Now, let me recall for you my experiences with the camera’s pairing capabilities and use of the application. The day of shooting, one of the other interns (Katie) and I spent nearly 30 minutes just trying to get the camera to pair with our phones so that we could use the application. When we picked up the camera from the Office of News and Communications nearly a week before, we practiced pairing it with our phones to make sure that we knew what we were doing. After following the steps over and over again, for close to 20 minutes, the camera finally paired and we were on our way. We knew that there was a chance of these complications happening again but were just hoping that they wouldn’t arise when it came time to shoot. When we tried this in Trinity, it didn’t pair. We tried for a half hour with no luck. We didn’t think it ever would pair. So, we needed to come up with a workaround.


The workaround.

We hadn’t practice filming manually because we knew that if we did it this way, we would not be able to view our footage in real time. The camera doesn’t have a digital screen, thus, the only way to view the footage that you have taken is through the application. But, since the application wasn’t working, we had to just go for it. We started filming. We weren’t sure if we were actually capturing any footage because neither of us had tried manually shooting footage with this type of camera before, but had to go for it anyway because it was our only option. Then we realized, “the camera must have an SD card!” For those of you who don’t know what an SD card is, its basically a memory card used in portable devices such as cameras. So, we plugged it into a computer and viewed the gallery of footage. It was working! We were actually capturing footage. Now that we could finally see what we were recording, we wanted to make sure that the footage was visually pleasing. I’ll get into how we shot in a bit, but (through examining the footage) we basically realized that the tripod that the camera was on was sitting too low and needed to be raised.

Without the convenience of the app, we didn’t know whether or not we were getting footage. Even if we were, we didn’t know what it looked like. Eventually coming to the conclusion that the tripod needed to be raised became much more difficult and time-consuming than it needed to be. Although the camera’s specs and shooting capabilities are great (it shoots 360-degree 4K Ultra HD video), due to the inconsistencies and problematic nature of its ability to pair to your phone, I would not recommend it as the top choice for 360-degree video.


How we shot.

There were a few approaches to filming that Katie and I could have taken. The first was that we could walk around Trinity with the camera on an attachment and film the dorm as one continuous shot. There were a few problems with this option. The first is there would be a person, relatively close to the camera, in the frame at all times. This would take up a lot of space in the film. Also, if we were walking, there would be a lot of twists and turns trying to navigate around the dorm. If the camera is twisting, that defeats the purpose of the 360-degree video because viewers are supposed to have the freedom of doing this on their own. Lastly, although the dorm is glamorous, not all of it needs to be seen. There are some highlights such as the game room, common rooms, and movie theater, but we really didn’t think that people would care about the hallways and stairwells. To get from one noteworthy place to the next, we would need to pass through these boring places that would make the video long and drawn-out.

The second option was to set the camera down on a tripod, start filming, step out of the frame, leave the camera there for 10-20, and then come back in and stop filming. For the final video, we would then edit the parts with us in them out and stitch together this footage. This is the choice that we decided to go with. It would allow us to present the glorified parts of Trinity House and give the viewer enough time to pan around each room, all while leaving out the uninteresting aspects of the dorm.

The Rise and Fall of Vine: My Story

Vine has changed my life for the better. It has taken me down paths that I could have never expected, given me experiences that I could have never imagined, and helped me get into my dream school. I will forever be grateful for you, Vine. To the creators of Vine and the community that I have come to know and love: I’ll miss you.

Within a few months of the January 2013 Vine launch, I downloaded the application and tried to figure out how I could use it differently than others. At the time, most of the content creators with the biggest followings were producing funny 6-seconds skits. These short videos would then get on Vine’s Popular page, where people would go to watch the funny videos. This helped viewers find the best content while also expanding the audience for the producers. It was a win–win for both the viewer and influencer.

Next, the style of videos began to vary. Some creators were making stop motion videos, a cinematographic technique whereby the camera is repeatedly stopped and started to give animated figures the impression of movement.

After the news was released, Vine founder Dom Hofmann (@dhof) tweeted this picture via twitter, with the caption “5/5/12”

After the news was released, Vine founder Dom Hofmann (@dhof) tweeted this picture via twitter, with the caption “5/5/12”

I discovered a new way to take advantage of the interesting recording style of videos on Vine (the tap and hold technique) that was later coined as “Vine Magic.” I would start recording a video and then abruptly stop it, change something in the frame, line up the frames again, and restart the video recording. These videos looked like illusion, like magic.


I created videos like this for nearly six months without recognition. I just liked to make the videos, so I did it. It was a way to showcase a creative side of myself that not many people knew about. Then, suddenly, my videos began to gain traction. A few of them landed on the Popular page, and from there the momentum took me away. I gained followers at an unimaginable pace. I kept posting videos and people kept enjoying them. I quickly had 100,000 followers. I couldn’t even wrap my head around it.

The craziest part is what happened next: I started getting job offers at 15 years old. I was asked to sign a deal with GrapeStory, a mobile-first influencer-marketing agency. At the time, this company had exclusively signed with many of the top influencers on Vine. I was honored, even though I didn’t really know what it meant. I soon found out. GrapeStory finds companies for influencers to work with and promote on their personal accounts. As of today, I have produced Vines with companies and brands including Aquafina, Charmin, Chips Ahoy, Ritz, Virgin Mobile, Milk Bone, Coca Cola, Major League Soccer, Kellogg’s, Chrysler, Silk, Microsoft, NBC Universal, 7UP, Intel, Visa, Nickelodeon, and even Marvel. I went from being your average high-school student, worried about sports and homework, to being a content creator and advertising outlet for Fortune 500 Companies. It was crazy.

Then one Monday, during the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, I created this video:

After less than an hour, it had more than 20,000 likes. In less than a day, it had reached nearly 300,000 likes. I was getting emails from places like Good Morning America and the Today Show asking to feature it. Good Morning America did a short feature, breaking down the creation process of the video:

This vine was reposted by celebrities all over Twitter and Facebook. A number of my friends told me that they had seen the video before realizing that I was the one who made it. This was by far my most popular video ever. It is currently sitting at 530,000 likes and over 63,000,000 views, just on Vine. I reached 1 million followers on Vine in July of 2016, and I credit my swimming pool post for these numbers. It’s still tough for me to digest the fact that the number of people who follow me on Vine are nearly the same as the amount of people who live in my home state of Rhode Island.

I would consider 2014 as Vine’s most active year. That is when I saw the highest level of engagement and success in my videos and the videos of my peers. As 2015 came around, I could tell that traction was slowing down a bit for Vine as a whole. Engagement seemed to drop steadily. On top of it, a lot of Viners were moving over to other platforms such as Instagram and YouTube because they saw more opportunities to make money and engage with audiences. Viners were losing interest in the six-second video and posting less, thus the viewers were increasingly losing interest and using the application less frequently.

The decline of Vine was circular in nature. Although I started creating videos because I loved it, I continued making videos because of the audience. But when the audience left, so did my desire to post. As the audience disappeared and engagement slowed on the app, influencers didn’t feel the need to post as much. As influencers were posting less, their followers noticed, and they opened up Vine less.

I can’t say I was surprised when I heard that Vine is dying. For me, it’s the end of an era. While I would have loved to avoid this day, I respect Vine’s decision not to drag out the application’s demise.

As the Vine meets its end, social media is not over for me. Vine has taken me down a particular path and steered my future. I love social media and have now been exposed to the world of marketing and advertising and want to pursue it as a career.

As for the future of short video, I don’t think anyone truly knows what’s next. Will it continue its popularity on Twitter and Instagram, or will a new platform emerge? What does Facebook Live streaming mean for sharing things in real-time? Will Snap and Instagram stories replace television one day? Although I’d like to believe that platforms can adapt to change and stay popular forever, the truth is most probably won’t. There will always be people trying to revolutionize technology, and chances are, the platforms that we know and love will someday all be discontinued, just like Vine.