By: Kelsey Staggers

What I’m doing? I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing. The best part about this class is being able to take risks and test ideas. I was lucky enough to have the new Kodak 360 camera and a sunny weekend back in March, so I decided to take it with me during a  fishing trip. I had just finished the GoPro shooting and stitching workshop a couple weeks prior, so I was feeling sort of confident with my abilities. “Clap, spin, record,” it’s that easy right? That’s what I was telling myself. I headed to Coopers Rock Lake, about 15 miles east of Morgantown. I received some weird looks when I began, but when I explained what I was doing, everyone thought it was interesting. The only negative feedback I received was from a man and he was afraid I was scaring the fish away.

  1. Prepare shots before your event

I tend to over think the storytelling aspect of 360 videos. I was in the mud, hanging off of trees, and tumbling down hills trying to get cool shots. The goal was to get beautiful shots to go with my audio.  I didn’t have a clue what the shots were going to look like, but I was hoping for the best! I decided to interview a WVU wildlife and fisheries student to talk about the pond and the impact it has on the local ecology.

2. Record audio from external mic, Tascam mics are perfect for audio

I didn’t have a mic on me, so I just used the audio recording app on my phone. If there was anything I could change about my video that would be it. The audio sounded very hollow and empty. I spent about 3 hours shooting. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch a fish, but I did have an awesome day and shot some cool video.

3.  Stitching made easier…add transitions in your 360 video

The most challenging part of this project was stitching the video. First, the cameras are square shaped, which do not create a seamless stitch. I did not have this problem with the GoPro and Ricoh Theta. During the stitching process I attempted to use the Autopano, used for GoPro Stitching because I thought it would stitch it better. In the end, the Kodak software worked the best with this camera. I also learned when putting my videos together to form a story I needed to add transitions. It is harsh on the viewer without a transition, especially if you are viewing the video in a headset. My end product was a pretty cool video. I was proud of myself for shooting and stitching a video by myself. Video has always intimidated me, and I’m learning I just have to push myself in order to gain more experience.