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Creating LG’s World Environment Day 360-degree video felt like ‘making Toy Story’

LG’s 360 Cam is our favourite LG Friend to be released so far, and is a very competitively priced entry into the exciting and growing world of 360-degree video. To celebrate both its launch and the United Nation’s World Environment Day 2016, the company tasked staff all over the world to go out and shoot some footage using the 360 Cam at the amazing World Heritage Sites near them.

The result can be seen above, featuring 360-degree video of the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, Red Square, Sydney Opera House, and Changdeok Palace in Seoul, South Korea. If you’re viewing it on the desktop, use the pointer to drag the image around and explore the entire scene, but if you’re watching on mobile, then just move your phone around instead.

Related: 360-degree photo sharing coming soon to Facebook

While the video’s main purpose is for promoting World Environment Day, LG also wants to show how convenient and easy it is to shoot 360-degree footage with the 360 Cam. It’s small and light enough to be pocketable, and it’ll connect up with both Android and iOS, so you can use it regardless of the phone you own. However, while taking 360 video is simple, and sharing a single video on Facebook can be done in seconds, editing a production as extensive as the World Environment Day video is very different.

Kim Min-Seok, the director of LG’s CSR division, told Digital Trends about the challenge:

“It’s definitely a different job than just putting together a few scenes. 360-degree videos have three axis: Yaw, depth and viewing angle so getting these lined up for transitions is important, otherwise the viewer can get disoriented – especially in VR! Creating the idea of a journey around a subject, like LG’s support for World Environment Day, is crucial. It’s more than just a series of scenes stitched together. Post production and lettering has to also work in a 3D world, so you have to make them like physical objects too. It’s quite interesting! Our edit felt a bit like making ‘Toy Story’ and not the usual kind of company video.”

The challenge is in the edit

Going behind the scenes even further, LG described creating 360-degree videos like this is, “a whole new ballgame,” forcing the editor to imagine the flat image they see on the editing screen as an unrolled 360-degree video supposed to be seen as a whole.

Cameras like the 360 Cam are going to take 360-degree video production out of big studios and into bedrooms, meaning if you want to get to grips with the medium, you’ll also need to learn about how to deal with the stitch. This is where the two images shot by 360-degree cameras come together, and can be dealt with in three main ways, according to LG’s team.

The easiest way is to stitch together footage from the camera, which is how the company dealt with the World Environment Day video, but this is more difficult when multiple angles and cameras are involved. For that, it’s best to use custom software. Finally, if you have the computer hardware for the job, everything can be pre-stitched from a flat projection of the spherical image for perfect alignment.

It’s obvious how different editing and creating your own movies using 360-degree cameras will be to doing the same with normal, flat video, something made easier thanks to the wealth of apps that are out there to help with the task. Now companies such as LG, Samsung, and Ricoh are making affordable, high quality cameras, it’s time for you to start experimenting with 360-degree video. However, it’s the editing rather than the shooting that looks like the real test.

If you’ve already started, then make sure you share your masterworks in the comments.