Episode 3 of the Ray Roman Podcast: Filmmaking, and Influences

by Ray Roman in , , , , , , , ,

Episode 3 of the Ray Roman Podcast I give an update on what I've been working on the past year. Also, an excerpt from the Tapout & Chill podcast from last year where I talk about filmmaking, and what music videos have influenced me. Enjoy and don't forget to follow me on SoundCloud if you want to hear future episodes!

Ricoh THETA 360° Video/Review

by Ray Roman in , , , , , , , , ,

For the past two months I've been experimenting with the Ricoh THETA M15 camera. It's a camera that captures both video and photographs in a 360° panoramic view. I love the possibilities this camera offers but I think there's a lot of improvements that needs to be done with the software and the technology surrounding the camera! Let's start with what's possible with the camera: 360 degree photography.

The 360 degree photographs you take with the THETA camera can be altered in various apps but one in particular that works for me is Roll World. As you can see in the video posted above -- I was able to animate or "warp" a photo from one perspective to another due to the 360° panoramic view captured by the camera. I've been experimenting with this the past couple months and creating short Instagram videos that can be seen at this playlist. From what I've seen on the internet I haven't seen many people editing their THETA videos, most people are just posting clips to Instagram, which is cool too but I see a bigger potential for the photos and videos captured by this camera.

Above is a 360° video that can be viewed on YouTube on a limited amount of phones and browsers such as your iPhone, and the Google Chrome browser. This is a problem! The photographs and videos can also be seen on the Ricoh THETA website if you choose to upload your files there but it's difficult to share the videos on social media websites like Facebook, and Twitter. Yes, the photos and animated videos you create can be uploaded to YouTube, and Instagram but that leaves no power for the viewer to scan the panoramic view you capture when uploading the 360° metadata video to YouTube unless they are viewing on YouTube on select phones, and browsers. Another big problem is the 360 degree panoramic videos can only be seen ON the YouTube app! Meaning, if you decide to upload and share your video to YouTube, and share the link on Facebook; viewers will not be able to scan the panoramic view you captured in the YouTube app that opens through Facebook. Users must only view the videos directly on the YouTube app that allows you to have a look around the scene. I don't know how well this works on the other phones that allow the video to playback because I've only tried watching a shared video over social media on an iPhone, and an LG smartphone and again the users cannot scan the panoramic video unless it's directly on the YouTube app -- which is terrible for sharing! I guess other apps. and social media platforms need to catch up with what this technology has to offer but until then it's going to be difficult to get users to go directly to your channel and watch your 360 degree videos unless they are hardcore YouTube fans or smart with searching, and finding your channel (I know it can be difficult for some people to use smartphones still).

Lastly, I think editing softwares need to catch up with the technology so those who utilize a 360° camera can have the ability to direct a scene and what exactly the viewers are seeing. This is somewhat possible using the Roll World app I mentioned earlier but you don't have absolute control to pan around the scene multiple times whenever you choose. Using the Roll World app can take time! For instance, I've spent up to two hours at times exporting videos from Roll World just to create the possibility for me to import and edit the videos in Final Cut Pro X. When exporting your videos from Roll World, no audio is saved to the video clips so later you will have to match the audio from the original video files. I think there's so many possibilities of directing the viewer from the videos you've captured but unfortunately it's not made easy as of yet, and there's only 2 options creative filmmakers have to do so. One, you could prepare the scene ahead of time and face the camera in the direction you want to lead the viewers from the start, and manually whip the camera in the directions you want to lead your viewer. Two, open the raw video in the Ricoh THETA app on your computer and scan around the scene in full screen mode while screen recording with Quicktime or whichever app you prefer to do so. The latter option is definitely possible but you will most likely capture the mouse cursor in your screen recording.

Thanks for taking the time to read this rant of mine, it's a bit difficult explaining the troubles of the current technology surrounding 360 degree video. I plan on creating a review of the THETA camera in a few weeks, so if you're interested stay tuned for that!

OCTOBER UPDATE:  As of late September Facebook has began supporting 360-degree video in the news feed for Android users. I've now uploaded my "360° Vacation In Texas" video to Facebook.com/RayRomanMedia and plan on uploading more videos as the support for other devices expands.

Vine Killer: Video for Instagram

by Ray Roman in , , , ,

The rumor was true! Yesterday Instagram released the new update where you can now post short videos. The difference between Instagram Video and Vine is you can post 15 second videos on Instagram compared to the 6 second limitation on Vine. You can choose between 13 custom filters on Instagram, and add a cover frame that people will see when scrolling down their feed. Also, there’s pretty much a “takes” feature that I suggested previously maybe it’s something Vine should incorporate. Personally I kind of like the limitations on Vine, I think it forces people to be more creative. However, I like the options Instagram brings to the table. I think it's exactly what Vine could have been. The only thing I dislike about it is the 15 seconds because of the loading time on mobile devices. I think 10 seconds would be a perfect amount of time to make something creative. Then again most people on Instagram aren't posting from a creative perspective. I was excited when Vine came out because most people were posting creative video skits, and now I wonder if the same idea will crossover to Instagram videos? For the most part I doubt it will because in recent months I've noticed my Instagram friends sign up for Vine and many of them have flooded the Vine feed with boring, everyday bits of video clips. These are the same people who might post 3+ photos, or 3+ photos of the same situation on Instagram. You know, the kind of people you want to unfollow but don't because they're your friends. I'm going to continue to use Vine because I find it's a more creative community, but I will also use Instagram for skits I can't fit within 6 seconds on Vine. I've already noticed some friends of mine use the Instagram Video in good and bad ways. I don't mind seeing random video clips of ones life if it's recorded nicely, they can almost be like a moving photograph. It's the videos horribly mashed together with no composition that I dislike. I must remember these videos are from people who have no basic knowledge for photography or video editing, so how can I expect them to frame a shot and successfully use in-camera editing? I really do wish they tone it down a bit with the excessive posting though.