Written by: Marcelo Silva
The 360 Fly is a 360-degree camera and it may be one of best consumer 360 cameras yet.
Its extensive features make it easy and safe to use, no matter your skill level. The fact that it’s shockproof and waterproof makes it an easy choice over its competitors.
It’s rock solid and even if it’s your first time capturing 360-video, it doesn’t feel like you’re carrying a delicate piece of equipment.
The 360 Fly is easy to setup. You download the app press a button on the camera link up the Wi-Fi and your ready to go.
My experiences with this camera have varied from frustration to feeling complete satisfaction. When I took it out for my first casual test run I tried holding it with my hand at the base, given that you get a 240-degree vertical view. This didn’t work out well for me as the objects I wanted to film where too far and I was standing too close too the camera. I came out of the video looking crazy distorted and the building I was trying to film looked like it was way too far away due to the fish eye lens.
The 360 Fly’s size turned out to be a huge advantage. I’m usually shy when it comes to filming videos in public. The fear I have is, that someone’s going to get upset and yell at me for filming them. I took it out into the city to film and normally people with video cameras get looks but I wasn’t getting any looks! Nobody realized it was a camera. You have to have this camera mounted to a tripod or monopod when in use. I walked into an AFL football game with the camera in hand with a Joby Gorillapod tripod, which is a mini tripod, into Etihad stadium. I was worried that they wouldn’t let me in. Not only did they let me in, they let me in no questions asked. You may be or may not be aware but there’s an increased security presence at Australian football games this year and they do not allow video devices into stadiums.
One of the struggles I had with this camera was filming good content. I have experience in filmmaking as in utilizing normal non 360-cameras, and I’m familiar with filming techniques however nothing that I had learnt at university had prepared me for this. After some trial and error I learned how to film engaging 360-footage. A good idea would be you may want to invest in a strong monopod.
The joys of using the 360 Fly came from my visit to the Melbourne Aquarium where I was starting to get a hang of filming with the 360 Fly. I was worried the cameras low light performance would produce poor footage but I was pleasantly surprised. When I got to test out the footage on Google cardboard, I was completely breath taken, after all my mishaps filming I finally got some good footage. One of the best experiences you’ll have with the 360 Fly is filming an experience and re watching it on a VR headset to relive the experience – amazingly it’s as good as being there in person. The company that manufactures the 360 Fly also manufactures their own VR headset that you can attach your phone to.
I do not recommend using this device for taking 360 degree pictures as it takes a still from a video and morphs it into a panoramic image or a globe. So if you’re thinking about using this for still-pictures invest in something else other than 360 fly.
The 360 records in 1500×1500 resolution at 30 frames per second and that will give you a 240-degree vertical view. When you’re watching a 360fly video you can look up to see the sky, but you can’t look all the way down (you’ll see a black octagonal object). Because the 360 Fly is the world’s first single lens 360 the camera has it short comings however this does help keep the price down.
Sharing videos from this device is remarkably simple. The app on your phone, tablet or computer allows you to share video on Facebook YouTube, Twitter, and even on Break.
The software is easy to use but frustratingly limiting. And keep you in mind; it’s in its first generation. You can edit videos and put them together but there’s no option to overlay audio unless you intend on posting a video on the 360 Fly website; as video editor I found that to be an annoyance. As a filmmaker, you know never to use the default on camera mic because, most on cameras mics provide poor audio quality, and the 360 Fly is no exception. This adds to the frustration of not being able to overlay a separate audio track.
If your looking for something more professional with the ability to include title sequences and the ability to add an audio track this camera is not for you.
The 360 fly is an amazing piece of technology. If you are an early adopter in 360-video, I recommend purchasing this to start with, due to its size. You will need to learn how to film engaging video content for this medium. There is no point in in spending thousands of dollars to have a professional set up and realizing that there’s not much for you to film.