Eclipses explained

How to shoot a video of the eclipse with a 360° camera

Why not make Virtual Reality-proof video of this amazing all-sky event?

How about making a 360° movie of the eclipse? Wraparound panoramic videos filmed with small, affordable 360° cameras can now be uploaded to Facebook and YouTube. A 360° camera is a great way to capture a Total Solar Eclipse, and it will future-proof your unique experience for the coming era of immersive virtual reality.

Here’s a great 360° movie made at the last-but-one Total Solar Eclipse in March 2015 in Svalbard:
And here’s another one filmed in Indonesia in 2016:

Most of them work by filming using two fish-eye lenses on either side of a golf ball-sized camera. The software inside then stitches the two movies together to make a wraparound 360° video.

Since 360° cameras are typically fairly low-resolution, don’t expect top, top results. That is, unless you can afford something like the Nokia OZO, a professional VR camera.

However, a better value choice is the Kodak Pixpro SP360, a pocket-sized device that films in 4K. It shoots for 55 minutes on one charge.

When using a 360° camera, remember that you’re taking an ultra-wide-angle shot of the eclipse and capturing it as an all-sky event. So here’s what to remember:

How to use a 360° camera to shoot the Toal Solar Eclipse

1 – Practice with your camera and know how to use it. Do a dummy run or five before eclipse day.

2 – Experiment with a tripod – this can produce much better results (there’s less floor in the final cut).

2 – Make sure the camera is fully charged.

3 – Place the camera in front of you, so it’s between you and your fellow observers, and the eclipse.

4 – Let it run about five minutes before Totality, and switch it off about five minutes after.

5 – Upload it to your phone/laptop, crop it to the middle few minutes (watch it back, and notice where the light levels fell and rose dramatically).

Photo credit: Samsung

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