Working with 360 Video immersive worlds

Introduction to 360

Our brain is mapping the world. Often that map is distorted, but it's a map with constant immediate sensory input. E. O. Wilson

Our lives are made up of sensory experiences through our brains and neurons connecting through our nervous system and sensory inputs. Sight, smell, taste, touch & hearing make up our 5 senses... (there are not 6 senses currently... it was a film made in 1999). Yet there are scientist and neuroscientist designing technology that will include developing 360 vision....

We have experienced film and gaming for over a 100 years with a flat view, projected onto a 4:3 or 16:9 screen. There is a demand for 360 and VR in Storytelling world, gaming,tourism, business, training & teaching and mental health sector.

The World of VR- This section gives you some examples of where VR & 360 is being used. How it is being used & where it is going.

The difference between 360 & Virtual Reality

Demystifying 360 & VR- You will have heard both of these terms. They are used interchangeably. The two terms are actually separate experiences. 360 Video, well that is exactly what it is... a video, that if you turn 360 degrees you get perspective within the media.

The confusion has come about, due to viewing content on the same headset technology. When you view a 360 spherical video, you the viewer can move either left or right or top & bottom. VR is a world (usually computer graphics) that you have a limitless amount of exploration... Try not to get confused or use the term interchangeably..... Lets not even get started on augmented reality, thats a whole other experience and subject of Media.

Changing perspective in News

You can transport people into different worlds and change perspective of the world we live in. We've already discussed the difference of 360 video and VR and in this section we will look at window of whats currently out there with 360 video.

Media,Broadcast & Journalism.

Media makers, broadcasters & journalists are now using 360 video & VR to create content for the masses.

Yet VR and 360 video experiences can be an antisocial experience. We view this content by ourselves and its not necessary shared experience. You cannot explore and walk around the scene like in VR & AI. Yet journalists are using this technology to offer a greater immersed experience for the audience.

Offering immersive experience in broadcast, it is designed not to take over the conventional methods of journalism or storytelling, but allow another layer or method to practice. Watch this video by the BBC, where they discuss 'How might VR change news?"

The Experience-

Coventry University partnered with Coventry Telegraph to collaboratively produce a VR news game, that allows users to travel back to November 14th 1940, when Coventry was heavily bombed during the Blitz. In this experience you find yourself inside the Catherdral walls the day the bombs were dropped. Not only giving historical reference and point to the user, it tells an important part of the history of coventry and allows people over 70 years after the event to experience this blitz in Coventry.

By producing content in this manner with immersive storytelling, elements of interaction, empathy and concept of space are being explored, with a user being transported within the space.

Artists, Musicians & Creatives

Once the technical engineers are happy to share this technology with creatives, magical things start to happen as they begin to play....

New worlds are created, perspective and reality starts to change and we find ourselves, being transended into new worlds and the mind of the artist.

Bjork is one of the very first artists to experiment with VR and 360 video. She is an innovative artist, firstly for her voice with the sugar cubes in the 1990's. Since leaving the band she’s never been afraid of using technology and electrical sounds in her music. Therefore it seems natural for her as an artist to progress into experimenting with this technology for her videos.

Dreams of Dali is a synergy of art & technology. Exploring Dalis paintings of surrealism, is like stepping into your dreams. Experience the surrealist artists painting- "Archaeological Reminiscence of Millets 'Angelus'" as a world. Explore the towers, see giant elephants on stilts and peer into this distant forever changing land. It is clear that Dali was an ealier adopter of technology, certainly with his method and techniques of producing art . Therefore I am sure he would applaud this work, inspired by his 1935 painting.

Neuroscience, Psychology, Wellbeing & Empathy:

Talking about psychological problems was a huge taboo. We are becoming more open about challenging this status-quo, the scale of mental health and its disorders is no longer some secret that we try to hide. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life.

The impact on mental health isn't just something that effects an individual, the ramifications on the socio-economic consequences are high. Mental illness costs the UK economy £28 billion each year with nearly half of ill health in the work place being psychological. With only 5% of UK medical research going into Psychological disorder research and 13% of NHS funding being used on mental health, the UK still has a long way to go with how it works and supports mental health. This may sound all 'doom and gloom' but we are getting better. And there are some awesome research happening in neuroscience.

Various forms of counselling can assist, yet the most powerful approach is facing the fear, trauma or event that causes them distress. In that moment they can relearn how to think, feel and behave effectively. Going out with a therapist and into the real world is one option but seldom occurs, even if recognised.

It is a major public health issue, with limited ability to provide the therapy. Yet VR and 360 video may hold the answer. VR is not a new technology, its one that has been around since the mid 1960's and was first developed by MIT.

Essentially the workflow hasn't changed : Computer generates image, a technical display presents the sensory media combined with a tracker that can detect the suers position and orientation, so that an image can be generated.

What has improved and what is new, is the speed and power of the technology combined with the quality. The powerful simulations in which scenarios playout where the psychological difficulty occurred. Situations that may be impossible for a therapist to build upon will be available at the double click of the mouse. And these simulations can be played as often as the user needs it and the therapist prescribes it and this in-situ method of coaching is useful for so many disorders and offers mobility for the therapist.

VR offers additional advantage to the methods of using it as a therapy. The idea of facing your fear to some patients can be super off putting, cause huge amounts of anxiety and stress. Therefore because VR is not the real thing, it offers a 'safer' environment for the user and this natural resistance tends to disappear

Due to VR and 360 being "not real" we are more likely to engage with it, in this immersive world than to place ourselves in real life. Even though these sensory immersive worlds are fake our mind and body behaves natural to that situation, therefore we can overcome our psyche fro these transferable realities.

Virtual therapy as a practice does need more research and clinical trails, yet we are on the forefront of potentially revolutionising the way that therapy might be delivered in the future.


"Neurosurgery is probably one of the most inaccessible surgical specialities there is, especially from the point of view of the patients and public. They can experience a certain element of neurophobia where anything to do with the brain is quite scary." - Mr A.Alamri Neurosurgeon- Wired magazine

For medical students, especially neurology students getting hands on experience can be tough. However VR may be the answer! Fundamental VR a company, has been working with Barts NHS trust to produce this virtual surgery. The company is aiming to build a "flight simulator" for surgeons. It will allow them to practice surgery in multiple scenarios. Therefore creating a safe environment for medical students, patients and teaching staff.

Empathy & Perspective

The Party: a virtual experience of autism – This video shows a window of how a person on the autism spectrum might experience a stressful environment.

You share the journey of Lalya at a surprise birthday party and how this experience can be a sensory overload for her. By creating immersive videos like this, it can help the viewer develop empathy and gain perspective on reality for someone who is on the autistic spectrum. Therefore if empathy & understanding can be created through content such as this, surely it might make for a better world.

360 Cameras- What are the cameras you will be using?

So you've seen some of the areas where VR & 360 video are heading. Now onto the tech! The videos below show the two cameras you will be using and beneath them are the set-up tutorials available


Ricoh Theta is one of the most user friendly 360 cameras on the market and it’s 4K camera, the Theta V.... is a bit special and beautiful. The sound quality is excellent and the 4K feature is on point.

Compared to its older sister, the Theta S and regular Theta, that works in a 1080 resolution you can see where the Theta V steps up! Everything in the background is in focus, quality hasn’t dropped off into the distance and the colours are vibrant.

What’s also wonderful are the apps! Everything can be constructed in your mobile phone. From controlling the camera remotely in its black app, to creating animation of still images to editing video. This is just a fantastic camera, that is resonable too!

Kodak SP360 4K

The Kodak camera is diverse and uses a slightly different workflow to the Theta. Firstly the Kodak SP360 isn’t self stitching through an the Theta & Theta apps. Below are tutorials showing you the workflow.

Tutorials: Below is a collection of open sourced training tutorials from the 360 community. These will assist you in your understanding and application of creating 360 videos.

In order for you to full use the Theta V camera you will need to have downloaded the apps to your smartphone/tablet. These apps are free and can be downloaded to IOS & google devices. There are three apps to download the first one is the black theta app, this allows you to control your camera remotely from your phone. The other two are editing apps for video and photo.

Download The apps.

Click on the button below and this will take you to the Theta webpage and you can download the right app for your smart device.

The Theta Tutorials

These tutorials show you how to use the Theta camera and how to control it remotely with 360 educator Ben Claremont.

Kodak Tutorials

Each of these tutorials are for the Kodak SP360. They are broken down into bite size chunks. So set the camera up as you go along.

The 360 Community> There are loads of companies & people in the 360 Community who share their advice, passion & skills online you should connect with them.....

The 360 Community!

These are my recommendations of the wonderful people to follow, for additional support, inspiration and ideas. You will be using the Theta V & Kodak 360 cameras with the additional use of Adobe Premiere and Insta360 software. Plus these people are using 360 hardwares and softwares on a daily basis, therefore they are pro's at knowing whats coming up, tricks of the trade and are always sharing content. Connect... Links below

The Edit- workflows for 360 video

Below are a selection of video tutorials using various softwares for 360 video. Which software you use will depend on what’s available to you and the workflow you want to use. My go to is premiere but there is insta360 which is open sourced to a certain point without a licence.

Ben Claremont is my go to youtuber for all things 360, when working with 360 video. And when working with the Theta I like the function of retaining the edit in my phone... but really it’s down to workflow and output

Adobe Premier

Insta360 Studio

Stabilisation Video Tutorial

Created By
Beck Stewart


Created with images by Drew Graham - "@Vinnybalbo @Dizzy_d718" • Guido van Nispen - "L1000869-Edit" • Christine Roy - "Global visitors" • garageband - "abstract art background" • crackdog - "Phrenology head from The Household Physician, 1905" • Wokandapix - "mental health wellness psychology" • Libertas Academica - "Figure 1" • WalterPro - "DSC_4170_pp" • Wokandapix - "teach education school" • geralt - "globe network connectedness"