Watch “The Bodega”
On mobile devices, 360° works only in the YouTube app.
We're passionate about storytelling and its potential pairing with virtual reality. Our A / V team made a short video—“The Bodega”—to experiment with shooting in 360°. We challenged ourselves to see what could be created with a small budget and only a week of production time.
This project helped answer some of our questions about VR and 360° video, but it's only scratching the surface of what we hope to create with this technology. Our vision for what VR can do will continue to evolve as we will be active contributors in this space.
Here's how we made “The Bodega”:
We used a 3D printer to create a housing for the camera rig. It took about 12 hours to print, but it was worth the wait because we could customize and experiment with the form. After a few tests we were able to determine the best camera angles, frame rate, and positioning for the scene. All of this influences the outcome of the 360° stitch during post-production.
We wanted to tell a story about chance encounters in unexpected places. About youth, mischief, and paying attention to your everyday surroundings. We also wanted to create something that would make people want to dance.
We called on professional dancers Huy, Bb, Toogie and Simeon from 11: Dance Co to play out this narrative. “Fire” by Grace Love & The True Loves was the soundtrack. Each dancer took on a persona and used that to interpret the space and song.
Our girl with the turquoise hair, Rowena, had the difficult role of microwaving a chimichanga and staring at her phone without being distracted while all of this excitement surrounded her.
The bodega happens to be across the street from our office and was practically “camera ready” requiring very little set dressing. We re-merchandised areas to take into consideration sight lines, distortion and other parameters of the camera rig. There was no “behind the camera” so our crew had to peek in through windows from outside to preview the action. We also set up walkie talkies throughout the space to communicate cues and scene changes with the dancers. This was especially vital for our crew member sitting behind the freezer to know when he needed to turn on the fog machine before our dancer, Bb, opened the door.
All the action happened in one take. We took the best of five and stitched together a spherical 4K shot—basically a super wide image that the YouTube player rearranges as a 360° video. It wasn’t as simple as grabbing the cameras and hitting record. We really learned the limitations of the technology and how far we could push it. Syncing, camera angles, stitching, hiding our lighting, and creating binaural audio were just some of the variables we had to consider. We were always problem solving within a new medium and that kept things interesting.
How to Watch
“The Bodega” is best with a VR headset like Google Cardboard, but you can also watch it on your desktop (click & drag the video to explore in 360°) or the YouTube app on your mobile device (just hold your device up and move to look around). You might not be able to catch all the funny moments and nuances in the video the first time, but there’s plenty of them throughout for you to enjoy.
Words by Truen Pence, A/V Director
Photos by Ryan Garber