Hi Everyone! I’m grateful to have the opportunity to speak with all of you today. My presentation is entitled, “Getting Started with a 360 Degree Camera.” My name is Ian Boucher; formerly of North Carolina Wesleyan College and now at Dickinson College. In this presentation, I’m going to talk about my experiences getting a 360 degree camera to help the library support the North Carolina Wesleyan College community.
Before we get started, please take a moment to type one of these numbers that corresponds to your experience with 360 degree cameras. 1 - Completely new 2 - Familiar with the concept 3 - Thinking about getting one for my library 4 - My library got one within the last few months 5 - Have used at my library for more than a year
I’ll start with a little bit about me: I started my career as a video editor with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies and Communication from the University of Pittsburgh, and became a librarian due to my interest in media literacy, and then information literacy, education. In 2013, I began working at Pearsall Library at North Carolina Wesleyan College; in 2015 I earned my MLIS from Kent State University, and from 2015-2018 I was the Emerging Technologies and Outreach Librarian, where I worked to strengthen the library experiences of the campus community through technology, programming, and instruction. I helped start and I managed the Media Production Lab, to help the college community build their media skills through projects for classes, clubs, or for fun.
And here’s some information about the institution. North Carolina Wesleyan College is a private liberal arts college in Rocky Mount, NC. As of Fall 2017 the student population for all campuses totaled 2093 traditional and adult students, 42% African American and 4.6% International. While I was there, our Media Production Lab resources included a memory card camcorder, a video editing computer, regular and portable green screens, some lighting kits, tripods, and sound equipment. One part that went into developing the lab was thinking about what tools and techniques were developing in the world outside of college. Libraries are an important venue for our society, for communities to gain access to valuable resources they might not have otherwise, and in this case, we lucked out that we could afford a 360 degree camera.
For those of you who are new to 360 degree cameras, they can create images that see in every direction at once; you can watch them on YouTube, you can scroll or drag around the screen, and in virtual reality, you can look around in any direction you want. This is a technology that is being increasingly used, not just in popular videos, but in such areas as journalism, marketing, and location tours. Here are examples from the New York Times and the Smithsonian, where you can watch (or experience) videos on current events, or take more detailed virtual tours, which creates new layers of experiencing news and culture. For fictional videos, it opens up completely new dimensions of storytelling. Rather than having the camera guide you where to look as in a traditional viewing experience, with 360, you can tell stories in which you have to look in certain directions at certain times—but mostly, it’s up to the viewer, which creates very exciting possibilities.
As the New York Times puts it…You can “[s]tand alongside Iraqi forces during a battle with ISIS”; You can “[w]alk on a planet three billion miles from the [S]un;” And “[j]oin our award-winning journalists at the center of it all. Explore the library of 360-degree virtual reality experiences for yourself.”
This ties very much into virtual reality. At Pearsall Library, we already had Google Cardboard, which is a headset that you can use to view 360 videos, photos, and games on your phone, essentially turning your phone into a VR device. We had a lot of success utilizing VR apps in activities and courses; here are two examples of seasonal virtual reality library activities we did in partnership with our Teaching and Learning Center in Spring 2017: a March Madness and a Mardi Gras event. In the March Madness one, we projected a VR app on a phone onto the wall, and students competed to see who could make the most basketball shots. For Mardi Gras, students enjoyed snacks and some beads while looking at VR apps and 360 videos of New Orleans. Our Instructional Technologist at the Teaching and Learning Center also has had success facilitating the use of Google Expeditions, or virtual educational tours, for our faculty. So I wanted to provide an opportunity and see how valuable it would be for our college community to be able to create their own quality immersive content easily, for subjects such as journalism, exercise science, biology, criminal justice, history, business administration—there are so many possibilities where this could be used academically.
In Fall 2017, I worked with the Media Lab’s work-study student assistant to look at possible options. This is the chart we made in Google Docs that included all of our requested items for the Media Lab, and we included columns for our requested items, prices, benefits, and links to the products. We narrowed it down to two cameras with a good combination of ratings, price, and features. In early Spring 2018, the purchase of our first choice was approved, and it arrived later that semester.
This is the camera we purchased: the Insta360 ONE. It seemed like a good model for the price; pretty powerful, nice quality, and user friendly. You can also connect it directly to your phone.
Late in Spring 2018, the Media Lab Attendant experimented with the camera and created an initial workflow for our Media Lab LibGuide. Over the summer, I worked with some student assistants and students from outside the library to film an announcement video that we could roll out to the college community in the fall. During production, I also developed a more detailed workflow for using the camera. The camera makes most of it very easy for you, automatically doing the stitching together of the different parts of the frame so that it looks seamless. One thing we had to do while we were filming was make sure all of the “behind the scenes crew” was completely hidden from view during filming, because in 360, there’s no hiding behind the camera! Really, you make a cameo no matter what you do.
After filming, my editing process consisted of this sequence—getting the footage from the camera, to editing, to YouTube, through Insta360 Studio, Final Cut Pro, and YouTube. I’ll explain this in more detail. Don’t feel like you need to take detailed notes on this specific process; just consider the overall workflow of going from camera, to computer, to YouTube.
The camera we used has free software available online for free, Insta360 Studio, that you can use to either do simple editing or transfer videos to a more universal file type. First, I downloaded videos from the camera onto the computer, brought them into this work screen, made minor edits (you can also design motion paths to have the view pan where you want it to go), and then uploaded to YouTube. Unfortunately, you can’t go straight from the camera to YouTube, because you need to transfer the videos from their special insv format to the more common mp4 format.
If you want to put many shots together, Final Cut Pro allows you to bring in those mp4 video clips for 360 video editing. The Media Lab had Final Cut Pro, so I was able to use that. There are free 360 video editing options out there, but I haven’t had a chance to try them out. You can even integrate regular flat videos and photos—but you should make sure they can be seen in every direction! I did this by making them smaller and copying them across the screen so that they could be visible in every direction. You can also set if a Final Cut Pro project is Monoscopic or Stereoscopic—Stereoscopic makes your project look slightly different in each eye, like a real object, which makes them more immersive for VR! If you think your video will be viewed on YouTube mostly, I would say start by staying monoscopic. If any of you would have any questions about video editing in Final Cut after this presentation, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I would be happy to discuss it with you in more detail.
If you're directly uploading videos to YouTube without editing, you’ll need to let YouTube know that you’re uploading a 360 video by attaching metadata to it. I used this metadata program recommended by YouTube, the Spatial Media Metadata Injector program. In this, all you have to do is open your video, click the "My video is spherical (360)" box, and click "Inject metadata." 360 videos edited in Final Cut Pro seem to be recognized automatically by YouTube without using this program.
Once it’s on YouTube, it may take a few minutes for the 360 degree compass to appear in the video.
The camera also has a feature called “bullet time,” which is a reference to the famous shot in the film The Matrix that rotates around Keanu Reeves as he dodges bullets in slow motion. On the Insta360 ONE camera, you can activate slow motion, attach a special string, and swing the camera around. I think it has great potential for Exercise Science! Let’s watch this video that the camera company made.
And here’s the announcement video that we developed, meant to highlight specific examples for students, faculty, and staff of some of the things you could use the camera for. Let’s check it out. So yeah, it’s definitely a fun, very exciting start. And I can tell you every moment that I did something right was such an exciting feeling (I utilized many video tutorials and tech forums along the way), and I would have been so happy to continue to help our community learn this resource. I posted the video on the afternoon of my second to last day at Wesleyan—if I had more time, there are a few things I would have adjusted before posting. You probably noticed some of them. For one thing, you may have noticed that the bullet time shot was the only shot that didn’t feature content from Wesleyan. We did film a shot in slow motion of one of the participants doing a roll on the ground, but I didn’t know at the time that I had to swing the camera around on a string, and didn’t notice that the camera string was in the box in time. Additionally, most of the stitching in these shots got messed up in Final Cut because I originally was editing this project in a regular video sequence, instead of in 360 mode, and didn’t replace all of the shots when I transferred them into 360 mode. So not only is completely emptying the box important, but I would also recommend to make sure as you’re learning to take the time to breathe. It’s new, exciting, there are deadlines, and there’s a lot to do around the library besides filming 360 degree videos, but it’s okay. I would say that it’s better for you to take it all in, and it will save you time later. Most importantly—this technology is very new, so I would say just have fun with the experimenting, and don’t let fear of mistakes keep you from trying this technology out.
So in tandem with this, I prepared communications for the library to roll out this fall, including this email to faculty highlighting some of the resources available at the library. Library staff and I at North Carolina Wesleyan College have found that using specific examples are very helpful to our community when rolling out new technologies. At the top of this email I wrote “Check out this fun video on our new 360 degree camera! Easily create immersive virtual reality experiences, whether in Biology, Criminal Justice, Exercise Science, Journalism, and beyond,” with a link to the video. And also in the email I included, “Please don’t hesitate to share any of these links with your students.” Had I been at Wesleyan this year, I would have followed this up with announcements at faculty meetings, as well as individual emails and meetings.
Although I’ve been focusing on a particular academic library, this technology has value for so many kinds of communities. For public libraries—and public libraries are using this technology—there are so many things you can do, like: -Providing a Resource for Local Businesses (such as highlighting a restaurant or product) -Highlighting Community Activities (360 Videos Can Be Embedded on Facebook!) -Empowering Programming for Kids and Teens -Supporting Citizen Science -Immersive Library Blogs and Artifacts -Online, Interactive Versions of Displays -Virtual Content for Live Displays
To review, for things that you can take with you to start utilizing this technology: -This is becoming a more prevalent technology with new dimensions for communication. -Quality cameras are becoming more approachable and affordable. Same with VR through Google Cardboard! -The basic process that I went through is filming, editing, and posting. You can pull them off the camera and put them on YouTube, and create more complex videos depending on project need, and as you and your community gain experience. -And by bringing this technology to your library, by helping your community gain access to create their own 360 or virtual reality content, you would be providing a platform as empowering as it is trending for your community. Again, libraries are an important venue for our society, for communities to gain access to resources they might not have otherwise.
Here are my sources.
And in conclusion, while this presentation discussed just one library, and different libraries may have different ways of implementing it, this is a technology that will be useful to communities of a variety of libraries. If I can be of any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to reach the librarians at North Carolina Wesleyan College to see how their use of this technology is developing, their main email is email@example.com, and their main number is 252-985-5350. I’m a little biased, but you should definitely follow their YouTube and Facebook pages for resources and updates on a variety of topics. I also want to thank very much NCLA Technology & Trends and all of you for this and other opportunities to connect and strengthen our understandings together about our experiences developing resources for our users! Does anyone have any questions, ideas, or suggestions they’d like to swing around, cover every angle of?...I could go on with these 360 puns for at least 5 more minutes.
Getting Started with a 360 Degree Camera
Getting Started with a
360 Degree Camera
Ian Boucher Information Literacy Librarian Dickinson College
Your Experience with 360 Degree Cameras
1 - Completely new
2 - Familiar with the concept
3 - Thinking about getting one for my library
4 - My library got one within the last few months
5 - Have used at my library for more than a year
● BA in Film Studies and
University of Pittsburgh
● MLIS, Kent State
● Emerging Technologies
and Outreach Librarian,
North Carolina Wesleyan College
● Private liberal arts college in Eastern NC
● Fall 2017 Population: Total of 2093 traditional and adult
students, 42% African American, 4.6% International
● Media Production Lab
Ideas for Public Libraries
● Providing a Resource for Local Businesses
● Highlighting Community Activities (360 Videos Can Be Embedded on Facebook!)
● Empowering Programming for Kids and Teens
● Supporting Citizen Science
● Immersive Library Blogs and Artifacts
● Online, Interactive Versions of Displays
● Virtual Content for Live Displays
● Growing Opportunity for Communication
● Approachable, Powerful, Cameras
● Film Edit YouTube
● Providing an Empowering Platform
Media Production Lab [website]. Retrieved from
Pearsall Library - NC Wesleyan College [Facebook page]. Retrieved from
Insta360. (2017, August 28). Insta360 ONE - Bullet Time Tutorial [Video file].
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4qsUHSAWvU
Wachowski, A., & Wachowski, L. (Directors). (1999). The Matrix [Motion picture].
United States: Warner Bros.