A Beginner's Guide to Virtual Reality Filmmaking With The Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye 3D VR Lens and The Canon R5 C

Ever surprise about VR filmmaking, however aren’t certain tips on how to get began? Here’s a mini-primer utilizing the Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Twin Fisheye 3D VR lens and the R5 C digicam.

Let’s begin with a disclaimer. I’m not a tech individual. My curiosity in all issues artwork comes purely from a story method. I’m a director/DP and screenwriter. My images profession, whether or not nonetheless or movement, is totally pushed by the characters I’m placing on display. The tech a part of the deal is essentially a method to an finish. So, when new technological methods of storytelling seem on the horizon, I’m hardly ever the one who can clarify the nuts and bolts.

However new expertise does usually breed new alternatives, each professionally and creatively. New methods to method duties. New methods to supply work. Within the promoting world during which I work, there was regular progress in what is named the “experiential” market. Not like conventional commercials the place, very like narrative movie, a director takes an viewers via a narrative and a product via intelligent cuts and framing, the experiential market is all about offering clients with distinctive experiences. These experiences are much less about dictating a selected line of occasions. Somewhat, they permit a possible purchaser to expertise the product or model via means outdoors of conventional media. Suppose, for example, of a shoe model creating an athletic competitors that clients can apply to be a part of, then filming that have documentary fashion to share on social or to chop down right into a 30 second spot. The top purpose is identical, attain clients and convey your model message. However the technique of supply may be extra partaking by involving the shopper within the course of.

There are few types of filmmaking extra partaking that VR filmmaking. With VR filmmaking, you’re making a 180- or 360-degree world the place the individual viewing the movie actually steps within it. They’ll search for, proper, left, down at their very own tempo. Much less about presenting a world in a really prescriptive approach. Extra about letting the viewer search round on the planet for what they wish to see.

If this feels like an advanced approach to make a movie, you’ll be proper. Lots of the guidelines you should have realized as a standard filmmaker will now not apply. The filming course of and modifying course of require completely different instruments and tips. However, fortunately, Canon has moved into the area with the purpose of constructing the VR filming expertise extra accessible with the Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Twin Fisheye 3D VR Lens. It could look unusual at first, with its two bulging eyes making your digicam immediately appear to be a futuristic area creature, however the twin lens setup offers a large 180 diploma area of view that’s the key to placing VR inside your grasp.

I do know what you’re considering. All that stuff is nice, however how does it really work? I had that very same query myself. And luckily, after getting to make use of the VR lens together with the Canon R5 C for the final couple of months, I may give you just a few tips that could get your self began. Consider this as a primer. It’s on no account a complete information to VR filmmaking. I’m new to it myself, so I’m studying too. However these fundamental beginning factors have helped me go from idea to creating a whole VR world and can hopefully offer you an entry level into the brand new kind. The place you go from there may be as much as you.

The Viewer Is in Cost

The 1st step, earlier than even selecting up the digicam, is to make a psychological shift.  In VR filmmaking, the viewer is the auteur. Not the director. As a standard filmmaker, I make my dwelling figuring out when to chop from one factor to a different, all the time figuring out the proper time for a closeup, and punctiliously paying as a lot consideration to what I don’t need the viewers to see as a lot as what I do need them to. To a big diploma, VR filmmaking robs you of this energy.

In a VR world, utilizing the VR lens, the viewers is in management. They’ve a 180-degree view of the scene. They’ll look the place they wish to have a look at any given second. Take into consideration the sensible implications of that. You’ll be able to now not minimize to a closeup to attract their consideration to one thing particular. So, you’ll want to perform that via different means like dialogue, your actors’ gestures, or sound cues. If you’d like them to be trying left, you could give them a motive to be trying left. However, if in case you have them trying left, it’s most likely not one of the best time to provide them important narrative info on the proper.

This additionally implies that your manufacturing designer simply acquired an entire lot extra vital. In conventional filmmaking, you may simply crop out issues that you just don’t need the viewers to see. However, in a world the place the viewers can see 180 levels, it’s far more durable to crop issues out. So you could pay an excessive amount of consideration to the whole lot in entrance of the digicam.  You by no means know when the viewers’s consideration might drift someplace unintended. And also you wouldn’t need their consideration fixated on the incorrect factor. Like a light-weight stand within the body, for instance.

Beware Your Gear

That brings us to some easy gear issues. The digicam having the ability to see 180 levels mandates a number of selections.  For one, as a result of it may well see all the best way up and all the best way down, tripod legs, shotgun mics, or different equipment can simply be seen in body in the event you aren’t cautious. One of the best ways to keep away from that is to mount your digicam on an extension arm which takes it away from the tripod legs. This prevents the viewer from having the ability to look down and see filmmaking gear that can take them out of the scene.

Additionally, you will must take care to put your lights in such a approach that they won’t be in body. This is usually a problem in case you are used to getting your lights in near your topic. One approach I’ve seen is to truly enable your lights to remain in body, however then shoot a plate shot, so as to simply paint out the manufacturing gear in submit. Contemplating that VR filmmaking advantages from photographs being locked off, the method of mixing photographs in submit shouldn’t be too sophisticated. However it does take planning.

Study to Love Sticks

We stay in a world of gimbals and handheld cameras. When capturing VR, you actually wish to keep on with the sticks. Certain, you may be capable of get away with a brilliant sluggish push in on a really properly balanced slider (though watch out for the slider itself making its approach into the shot) or make the most of very finely tuned sluggish digicam actions with a robotic arm. However, for probably the most half, you will wish to keep away from as a lot digicam motion as potential.

Why? Properly, VR movies are supposed to be seen inside a VR headset, one thing just like the Meta Quest or the newly introduced Apple Imaginative and prescient Professional. That is nice as a result of it permits the viewer to maneuver their eyes round a scene in a really pure approach, trying across the body as they might go searching the actual world. Taking pictures from a tripod offers them a gradual place to begin to go searching. If the world they’re seeing contained in the headset is consistently shifting round and unsteady, they’re more likely to really feel much less captivated and much more nauseous. Shaky handheld digicam work may look nice on the large display when watching one of many Bourne movies, however closeup inside a headset could be fairly a unique expertise.

How Shut Is Too Shut?

You might be additionally going to wish to just be sure you are capturing your topics from one of the best perspective. Not like conventional filmmaking the place you’ve got the liberty to put topics nearly wherever, topics inside a VR world are inclined to look their greatest when positioned inside a extra restricted vary.  Place them too near the digicam and the fisheye nature of the lens will, properly, not look good. Closeups on faraway film screens look unbelievable. However a good closeup of an individual inside a headset might give them the impression that the topic is critically invading their private area. But, in the event you place them too removed from the digicam, they’ll develop into too small in body for the viewer to have interaction with.

There aren’t any laborious set guidelines, however, from what I’ve realized, most topics appear to look their greatest someplace between 3 and 15 toes from the digicam. This places them far sufficient away to look pleasing to the attention, however not to date that we will’t make out who we’re .

Thoughts Your Horizon

The identical goes in your horizon line. I’ll admit, I’ve by no means been one of the best at all the time maintaining my horizon strains straight when behind the digicam. It’s not that I don’t strive. I believe I simply should see the world in a barely tilted perspective, as a result of I’ve spent hours of my life straightening photographs that I might swear have been straight once I was on set.

Like the hand-held concern, VR footage is healthier when your beginning horizon line is stage.  This provides the viewer a agency grounding from which to begin their journey. Beginning out uneven may be disorienting to the viewer. Fortunately, cameras just like the Canon R5 C have terrific built-in leveling instruments which make it easy to just be sure you are in stability. This is without doubt one of the first on display shows you need to activate whenever you begin capturing VR.

Keep Your Focus

Focus is crucial in any movie, however in a VR movie, much more so. That is a kind of areas the place issues will take a little bit of getting used to. The Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Twin Fisheye 3D VR Lens is totally handbook focus. It has a standard focus ring like another lens.  However the lens system works by basically combining two eyes the best way human eyes would work. So, you could just be sure you have crucial focus in each eyes. To make issues a bit extra sophisticated, the main focus planes are precisely the identical. The 2 “eyes” are working collectively to indicate depth. However this does imply that it’s crucial to get that proper. It’s good observe to ensure to punch into any areas of crucial focus previous to capturing and make use of the main focus help instruments comparable to focus peaking or Canon’s distinctive focus information system which lets you guarantee focus by merely lining up a pair of arrows. Ought to you could additional fine-tune your focus, the RF 5.2mm twin fisheye has a small bolt within the higher proper facet that lets you make micro changes with a small hex software to ensure the whole lot is spot on. Like most issues VR, you will wish to take your time with this to supply your viewer with one of the best expertise.

A New That means of Gradual Movement

If all of that is beginning to sound like an extremely sluggish course of, as soon as once more, you’re proper. VR isn’t a run and gun type of factor. It’s fastidiously crafted. So don’t anticipate to take this method straight out of the field and simply begin operating and gunning handheld. Like many points of life, it really works higher in the event you plan forward. However, if in case you have the time, you may create an immersive expertise.

Don’t Overlook The Ears

After all, our imaginative and prescient isn’t the one approach during which we expertise the world. To create a really immersive world, what we’re listening to is simply as vital as what we’re seeing. If you happen to can see 180 levels, however all of the sound is coming from one route, that too may be disorienting.

To handle this, along with VR video, you need to think about recording ambisonic sound. The precise reverse of utilizing a shotgun mic to focus sound recording in a single route, utilizing an ambisonic microphone lets you basically seize audio in all instructions without delay. There are a number of variations accessible. I picked up a Zoom H3-VR helpful recorder. With just a few settings, I can sit it within the atmosphere and it’ll document sounds from entrance to again, again to entrance, prime to backside, backside to prime, facet to facet. You get it. Then, the recorder conveniently lays all that audio onto completely different tracks on the timeline once I carry it into the editor. The top result’s sound that seems to be coming from all instructions. When paired with video that the viewer can expertise in digital actuality, it helps floor them on the planet you’ve created.

This Is The place 8K Pays Off

Remember that if you end up recording with the twin fisheye lens, you’re basically splitting your decision between the eyes. So, in the event you begin with 8K, for instance, roughly 4K goes to every facet. Subsequently, beginning with 8K in a digicam just like the R5c, and even 4K, goes to provide you much more element ultimately consequence. When making a digital atmosphere {that a} viewer goes to wish to step into, the extra element the extra life like the impact.

Talking of element, you might also wish to shoot the next variety of frames per second. Taking pictures the next fps will provide you with extra detailed photos because the digicam is actually recording extra information every second. 

So that you’ve fastidiously shot your footage. You’ve perfected your horizon line. Locked off the digicam to maintain it regular. Recorded ambisonic sound. Positioned your topic on the good distance. And also you’ve hit document. Now, you’d prefer to see all that incredible footage you simply shot. However you open up the footage in your favourite modifying software and are met with these unusual trying side-by-side circles. What offers?

Properly, worry not, that is regular. When the digicam is recording with the VR lens, it’s creating two parallel picture circles. These photos will then be laid on prime of one another to create the depth of the digital actuality world. However, you do must take some extra steps to create the ultimate product.

You could have two choices for first steps. You should use the Canon Utility. The software program itself is free, though you’ll want to buy one of many paid subscriptions which unlocks most of the options. Or, you should use Adobe Premiere with the Canon Utility plugin. Each options require a subscription to get probably the most out of them. If you happen to do shoot in 60p, the Canon Utility is the higher wager.

What the software program does is convert these two circles into facet by facet flat photos. It additionally flips the photographs between eyes in a course of that I received’t even start to try to clarify. However, to make an extended story quick, the software program basically corrects the picture in order that it may be considered in a VR format. As soon as the picture has been corrected, you may carry it into an editor like Premiere to do your edit.  The picture will nonetheless look a bit loopy to begin as you’ll nonetheless see the side-by-side corrected squares. Completely different editors will fluctuate, however there ought to be a setting contained in the system that lets you inform the editor that the footage is a stereoscopic VR picture. That ought to convert the picture right into a sq. with the power so that you can transfer across the body because the viewer will ultimately be capable of.

You’d then minimize the undertaking collectively as you’ll another undertaking, then export the ultimate consequence within the format of your selection. However, you do must just be sure you are indicating that the exported footage is VR. And, within the case of this footage, it’s stereoscopic side-by-side at 180 by 180. These directions get burned into the metadata of the file, in order that when the movie is considered within a headset or uploaded to YouTube or one other platform, the participant understands the footage is VR and can behave accordingly, giving the viewer the power to pan and tilt via the body.


So, hopefully this text has helped to demystify the method of constructing a VR movie and impressed you to provide it a shot. The Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Twin Fisheye 3D VR lens together with a digicam just like the R5c simplifies the method by creating VR video for these already within the VR world and offers an entry level for these simply beginning new within the area. The method does require a unique method than conventional filmmaking. However the finish result’s a wholly completely different expertise in your viewer. You aren’t simply telling a narrative. You might be making a world for them to stay in.

For experiential entrepreneurs, it is a main alternative. However it additionally has a plethora of different purposes. Think about a digital actuality world the place you are able to do explainer movies in an actual feeling area, or tour a property within a headset, expertise a trip with out leaving your lounge. The probabilities are limitless. The one restrict is how far your creativeness can take you.

This has solely been a quick introduction to the expertise. I’ll attempt to observe up this text with a extra hands-on sensible step-by-step case research. However, within the meantime, for these of you who’re utilizing the lens day-to-day, would love to listen to about your experiences within the remark part and any newbie ideas I could have missed.