Salmon 360: How to utilize humor and creativity to successfully create 360 videos?

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Welikesmall, digital agency, has successfully produced the first salmon based 360 video in the history of mankind, but why? This team composed of multi-talented people filmed in five locations throughout the state of Oregon in a 10 day window and came back with a series of 360° videos showcasing some of the greatness Oregon has to offer. You can now experience Oregon like never before. Thank you Welikesmall for showing us how to boom tourist arrivals :) Make sure to read the in-depth interview with Michael Kern – Executive Creative Director.
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What is your background and filmmaking experience? How did you get interested in virtual reality?
I am currently a partner and the Executive Creative Director at Welikesmall, I run both the creative team and content team here at Welikesmall. As a digital agency, we are extremely passionate towards the merger of design and technology, and we are always seeking potential projects that explore the very edge of the two. We seek out work that allows us to take a hands-on maker approach and projects that challenge our intellect. Personally, I am interested in all forms of storytelling. Photography and cinematography has played an intimate role in my work and life as a creative for as long as I can remember. I began directing various commercial and documentary projects five years ago, out of necessity for our clients. Plus, all Creative Directors really just want to be Hollywood Directors.
How did you come up with the idea of Salmon 360?
Weiden and Kennedy came to us early on in their concept process and asked us how we would execute some scripts they had for their client Travel Oregon. Naturally, the first thing that came to mind was to build a robotic fish and film it in 360.
Shooting 360 especially with RED cameras presents many technical challenges. How do you deal with that?
Organization is critical for each shot, so our Digital Tech and file structure system was very important to keep dialed. Since we are stitching together several clips at one time, time code needed to be perfectly synced, and ready to align once in the edit. I want to call out Parker Fawson and Kevin Bennett for their incredible knowledge and technical support making all the stitch and post really outstanding.
What software did you use in for stitching videos?
Autopano Video is our go-to stitcher because of its versatility. When combined with Giga, it allows us to essentially accommodate the stitching of any VR/360 camera rig.
How important post processing is in making a 360 video?
Post-processing is essential to making a 360 video. If done well it allows viewers to be fully immersed in our intended creative environment without distraction, as if they were there in person, which is the ultimate goal of VR/360 video. We also built a custom player to display the content which allowed us to deliver video on the fly based on the direction that a user was looking. Our team really believes in achieving the highest quality possible and that requires starting with the right source, but it also makes post more intensive. It’s the largest difference between amateur and professional quality often.
Some people might think that virtual reality is just an over-priced gimmick. What is your opinion on that?
As a team with a highly jaded view of all technology, it’s all about how you use it to tell your story. Our focus is about the right tool for the job. We were really excited to do something that poked a bit of fun at the industry but we wanted the absolute best outcome. Humor is tricky to pull off, and quite honestly no one had attempted anything of this scale, which is what made it so interesting. What better way to see Oregon than with it’s very own fish tour guide?
What have you learned from your extensive experience in 360° that you could share with our readers?
Post Production time is always a much more serious factor than with traditional film. Color grading, stitching, all of these things often take more time than your initial estimates to do them properly. It’s all about planning. Oh, and one last thought, don’t stop quick in an RV with hard drives spinning while transferring footage.
About Welikesmall
Welikesmall is a digital agency. We are a maker of things. We believe that having a passion for the brands you create for, is paramount. We believe that small and nimble is far superior to big and lumbering. We believe in making compelling creative work based on strategy that actually has a point. And you’re here, friends, because you also believe.
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Michael D Kern – Executive Creative Director
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