My 360 Camera Rig

In January I got my first 360 camera and many have asked me about my camera rig as they’ve seen some of my 360 videos on Facebook. It’s actually quite simple and consists of 3 things:

  1. Insta360 Camera
  2. iPhone 6
  3. Right Arm (literally my right arm)

Take a look at this 360 video I shot with my “rig" from the Shoreline Church worship service on Sunday:

You can see that the video quality isn’t tremendous and the audio has room for improvement, but you are still able to capture a unique experience from the worship service at Shoreline Church. Naturally, you can get fancy with a GoPro Rig, microphones, monopods, drones, etc, but jumping into 360 video doesn’t require that level of investment.

With the Insta360 camera you can see what you are capturing on your iPhone at the same time or you can also use the camera independent from the phone. The camera has a MicroSD slot where the footage is stored and when connecting the camera to the phone I am easily able to upload to YouTube, Facebook or wherever I want to push the content. The Insta360 app makes it very easy to make simple cuts in your videos before sharing out.

After playing with this camera for almost 3 months now I really can’t recommend it enough. It’s affordable being right at $200, it’s portable easily fitting in my pocket, and it’s easy to use simply connecting to my phone requiring no upload to my computer or post editing.

The one downside that I have found with the camera is that it does heat up fairly quickly when connected to the iPhone. So, if you’re using it for more than 15 minutes or so it might not be a good fit. I think the optimal time for a 360 video at this point in time is 1-3 minutes, so I don’t anticipate doing longer videos using the Insta360. I do see a place for longer form 360 video experiences, especially around live events like church services, sporting events, etc.

All this to say, if you’re looking for a 360 video rig, I highly recommend the Insta360 camera partnered with your mobile device and right arm.

YouTube vs Vimeo

Organizations are always asking me if they should use YouTube or Vimeo. My answer is almost always the same: both.

These 2 platforms are great, but for different reasons.

YouTube is a great standalone platform where people will find your content via search and the high traffic community exists to build a new audience.

Vimeo however would likely store your content for years publicly and only get a handful of views if left just on Vimeo. The advantage to Vimeo is in what you can do with these videos beyond the platform alone as they can embed easily into other platforms. With TVApp.Church our primarily integration point is Vimeo because of how well it integrates into our system where YouTube makes it near impossible to integrate. Vimeo videos also embed nicely into websites, online courses and so many other uses.

So, you’re likely frustrated feeling like you now have to do more work managing multiple platforms. Well, yeah, that’s pretty much what I’m saying. .

As you get started with video you will likely only need YouTube and for many video creators YouTube might be all you ever need. As your platform grows and you desire to drive people to your website, blog, apps, etc. and host video content on your own platform you will likely need to expand to Vimeo.

 

It’s really not that complicated. It also doesn’t take as much time as you might think as you begin to get your systems down. Getting to know both of these platforms will prove valuable long-term as neither of them is going away and online video is only going to increase.

 

What is YouTube?

When it comes to social media, I often get the question of where YouTube fits. Well, I see YouTube having 3 core purposes:

  1. A Video Library
  2. A Search Engine
  3. A Social Network

First, I see YouTube as a video library for anyone who creates video to host their videos On-Demand. YouTube offers seemingly endless amounts of storage for your video content as well as making them available on seemingly every device in a very user friendly way. 

Second, I see YouTube as a search engine. Owned by Google and has for a long time been the #2 search engine on the internet. It seems that as you talk to someone in my generation (Gen X) or older when we look for info we Google it, but if you ask a Millennial or younger they YouTube it. YouTube has become a powerful place for people to search for just about anything and find the answers or content that they are looking for.  

Finally, it’s also a social network. There’s an opportunity to subscribe, comment, and like videos. Those are all aspects of a social network and YouTube has a very vibrant and engaged community. 

 I would describe it as a social network + in that it is so much more. Beginning to understand the aspects of YouTube as a great place to host your video content is a great investment. Also as important is taking the time to most effectively title, tag and create searchable descriptions for your videos optimizing them for search. Don’t forget to engage socially with those who comment on your videos as well as posting new content consistently to keep your subscribers engaged. 

We’re Hiring a Social Media Ministry Leader

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Do you love social media and have a passion for ministry? Are you highly detailed and love working with people and managing process? We might just have the job for you!
 
I joined Dunham+Company now almost 7 months ago as the Global Director of Social Media+Innovation and it has been an unbelievable ride. We were starting a new division and honestly didn’t know how it would be received or how long it would take to gain traction. As it turns out this social media thing seems to be much more than a fad and a very legitimate ministry opportunity! We’ve had such a response to this offering that we are needing to grow our team to better manage all of the people and processes. 
 
The Social Media Ministry leader would work in our Dallas office coordinating between our Digital Team in Dallas, our Creative Department and our Social Media Team that is spread out throughout the world. Not only would you work with a global team, but you would also work with a global client base with ministries focused in a very local context and a very global context.
 
We need an individual who can move fast, learn fast, have high attention to detail, loves working with people and likes to have fun! If you’re interested click the link below to learn more about the position and apply.  

What I’m Learning about Drones

If we’re connected on social media or if you listen to either of my podcasts (Social Media Church  and Awesome Marriage Podcast) you know that I’m a big fan of drones. For Christmas about 3 years ago I received a remote control helicopter and my inner child went nuts. It was pretty weak and maybe lasted about 3 months and could only fly in the house. I was hooked though and became fascinated by the potential usefulness of this technology.

Last year for my birthday, my wife took it to the next level and bought me my first actual drone. It was a  UDI U818 Wifi FPV  with a camera and could even be viewed live through a Virtual Reality headset while flying the drone. I was excited about it, but had no experience and trying to find space in New York City to fly it was next to impossible. I even tried flying it in our apartment, but 700 square feet isn’t nearly enough.

Once we moved to Texas I quickly found space and quickly saw how much fun this drone was and blown away by what it could do. It took me a week or 2  or 5 to get a handle on the controls as they are so reactive and the drone can take off so fast. I started flying the drone almost daily in our backyard until one day I lost the drone. I was flying it in our front yard this time when I lost site of the drone in the sun and my reaction was to go higher when a wind gust seemed to just grab it and take it away like a kite. I watched it fly away into a cow pasture (yes, I have a cow pasture across the street from my townhome… because Texas) never to be seen again.

After losing my first drone that my wife got me I wasn’t ready to give up yet, but I couldn’t quite justify this expense for something I so quickly and easily lost. My next step was to find the cheapest drone I could on Amazon, so I got the Syma X12 Nano.  It’s smaller than the palm of my hand, but I was blown away by how well it worked when I got it. I was able to have fun flying it around my house for about 2 weeks, but after a couple of crashes it never would fly straight and I was droneless once again.

I finally broke down about 3 months ago and bought 1 more at a price point of $50 this time and bought the UDI U818A-HD. It’s basically the same as my first drone without a high quality camera or the VR capabilities. It flies great though and I’ve learned to take far fewer risks. I’m having a blast and it seems to never gets old! It’s also been so fun to teach others including my kids how to fly it.

Now that I’ve shared my long history with drones, here’s what I’m learning:

  • They’re Fun – they’re seriously ridiculously fun! You get to control something that’s flying through the air!
  • They’re Affordable – I bought a drone that flies for less than $20! I have a very functional drone that I bought for $50. The price point continues to drop and the value that you can get for that price increases on a daily basis.
  • They’re Powerful – whether you want a racing drone that can go fast or a photography drone that can shoot 4K video, there’s a drone for that. There’s even a drone that can carry a person: watch this.
  • They’re Useful – these are no longer just toys, but have useful functions that are being developed for them daily. The delivery opportunities around these in the future will be very interesting to watch develop.

If you don’t have a drone yet, I’m just going to assume you don’t really care about enjoying life. Just kidding, but seriously, go get a drone and start having fun. You won’t likely find a functional use for it anytime soon (other than photos and videos), but having fun is useful enough for now from my perspective.

If you have a drone I would love for you to share which one you have and what you think. Also, if you have a good reason that I can convince my wife that I need the DJI Mavic Pro, please share that as well. I’m racking my brain here as I’m ready to take my drone flying to the next level!