What I learned from zip lining and filming in 360

By Kara Loyd

#theta360 Zip lining! – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

The Planning

When I decided to shoot 360 degree video while zip lining, a few obvious problems arose. How would we attach the camera onto the helmet? What equipment would best capture the shakiness of zip lining? Would the video even turn out?

Addressing these issues took some problem solving. We decided to use both the Ricoh Theta S and the Kodak SP360 to compare the different types of shooting. For the Theta, we decided to use monopod to (we thought) hold above my head and record that way. For the Kodak, we attached the mount to a GoPro helmet mount and took tape to secure it fully. I took extra batteries, the tape, a remote watch for the Kodak, and other accessories.


It may be terrible or it might be awesome. The only way to find out is to push through and do what you can.



The Zip lining

When we got to the facility to zip line, I realized our initial plan to hold the Theta S was not going to work. At the WVU Canopy Tour, you have to have your hands free to break and control your speed towards the end of the zip. The guides thought it might work to use a radio harness to attach the Theta to. It wasn’t as high as we wanted, but it was secure and still produced interesting images. One problem solved.

Our second issue was attaching the Kodak to a helmet. The guides found a helmet with a GoPro mount already attached but it was in the front of the helmet and not on the top, which I preferred. The biggest lesson I learned from this is that when things don’t go the way you planned, you have to adjust. The end product might not be the exact thing you want. It may be terrible or it might be awesome. The only way to find out is to push through and do what you can. At the end, you can decide if it was worth the struggle or not.

The actual zip lining was very easy for me to shoot. The course was only three zips of different lengths and it only took about two hours so the batteries didn’t die. The watch feature for the Kodak was super easy to use and very helpful. Every time I turned on the camera with the watch, I knelt down and asked someone to check to see that they were on. The cameras also have a cool feature of beeping when they start recording so I could easily hear when they started. I tried to hold my head in one direction for at least 10 seconds to be sure the video wouldn’t be too distracting. I only used the video feature as I felt this would be the best utilized feature.

The Theta was a different story. Because we couldn’t secure it the way we wanted, it flopped around a great deal. It also takes so long to record the pictures and start recording. Adjusting to the delay, I learned to push record well before I wanted it start so I could get the shot I wanted. The Theta also had a terrible time adjusting to the bright lights of outside. Often it would wash out completely and then took several minutes to refocus in correctly. That was a huge problem.


The Result

After reviewing all the footage, I am pretty pleased with how this project turned out! The Theta took much better quality pictures than expected and even shot some good videos, despite our problems. The Kodak film required a little more time and effort. The trees and hilly terrain made it difficult to adjust the horizon so that the video wasn’t flopping around. But after some time working with the clips, I have a product I think the kids will like. Next stop, showing 4-H’ers some 360 degree videos and seeing what they think!