Unlocking the power of 360 & Virtual Reality video for weddings

Expert insight from 360 video expert, Gareth Allen, Director, SoundView Media

It’s frustrating isn’t it - you’re getting enquiries to your wedding venue, but you can’t welcome potential customers through your doors right now, to ensure you’re at the top of their dream day shortlist. Well, let us ease that frustration a little by giving you a way to keep your customers interested and excited about your offering while travel restrictions and social distancing remains.

Making the Invisible – Visible

By capturing and using 360 / Virtual Reality video or stills, you can showcase your wedding venue, allowing happy couples a virtual look around your location from the safety of their homes; helping them imagine their dream wedding. 

Staying at home doesn’t mean we can’t visit some of our favourite places, in virtual reality at least. In fact, at the start of the lockdown the team at Soundview hit on an idea, why don’t we put all our 360 / Virtual Reality content into one place so viewers could visit stunning locations without leaving the house? The idea was to create a channel of 360 films that people could enjoy with a VR headset, on a computer, tablet or mobile phone, so we produced. Take a tour for yourself.

Since we launched this free to use 360 / Virtual Reality video site we have had thousands of views from people across the globe, reaching every continent, with most virtual visitors from our own neck of the woods. All well and good but how can I unlock this content for myself during lockdown you may be asking?

Top tips for creating your own virtual venue tour

1. Have a look at the SoundView to get some inspiration. Here you’ll see how we’ve thought about the placing of the camera for the best possible 360 view, remember you can see all the way around you, so the whole shot needs to be interesting, and neat and tidy, of-course.

2. Watch some ‘how to’ video’s online about how to shoot and upload 360 video.

3. Buy a 360 camera from an online retailer from as little as £100 (Samsung). Or you can spend more, for example, the Gopro Max is the kind of camera we would use, this will set you back in the region of £500. As with anything the more you pay, the better the functionality and the results.

4. While you’re waiting for it to arrive, plan what you want to film. This won’t be like any other filming you’ve done before, this is a 360 / Virtual Reality view, so you will capture everything in view. So, if you’re going to film indoors, then probably best place the camera in the middle of the room, then when the viewer looks around they are in the best position to see everything.

5. What story will you tell, how will you tell it? This could be an opportunity to include a piece to camera from yourself or one of the team. It’s a really good way of introduction to your role and skills. You can show the viewers around  - so as you walk around the room the viewer will be able to follow you.  Point out some interesting features, tell us about your USPs

6. When the camera arrives, read the instructions!

7. Now you have planned the shoot you have a much better chance of success. Try some different angles, it’s better to shoot more than you need. If you are recording sound, for example your voice, make sure you are close enough to the camera, and there is no background noise. Similarly, if you are filming outside, think about capturing the actuality of the bird song, or maybe water trickling on a fountain. If you have a tripod think about the height the camera is placed, you probably want it at eye level for someone stood up, so 5 -6 feet off the ground.

8. Shoot your video or stills. If you are shooting video, we would recommend that you keep the camera still for now, otherwise you can confuse the viewer, especially if they are watching in a VR headset. Make your film in the region of 1 -2 minutes long.

9. Follow the simple to upload guides on how to share the content on platforms like Facebook and Youtube. It’s possible to edit your clips before you upload, but we would suggest you try and complete it in one take to take this process out of the equation.

10. Be creative and enjoy. The more fun you have when doing this the better results are likely to be. We hope to see some of your content online soon.

Promoting your video to your target audience

Once you have your finished video, then you can start to promote it:

  • Create a landing page for it and embed the video.
  • Optimise the page for SEO including a video schema.
  • Create links from other pages to your landing page.
  • Update any listing sites (Hitched etc).
  • Identify a target audience and send out promotion via email.
  • Post the content directly to social channels.
  • Post about the content to your landing page on social.

Need more help?

Gareth Allen
Director - SoundView Media

Gareth can’t believe his luck. He’s had an amazing career, spanning a quarter of a century, as a radio and television news journalist, producer and director for both the BBC and ITV. He knows how to tell a great story and has won prestigious awards for doing what he loves. Video production in his DNA. He established Soundview in 2009 and goes by the “Three P’s” mantra: people, pictures and production.