What is 360 Video? Now A Mature Filmmaking Tool (with Examples)


360-degree video, also known as immersive video or spherical video, is a video recording in which a view in every direction is recorded simultaneously and shot using an omnidirectional camera. When playing a 360-degree video, you can control the viewing direction, providing a panoramic view of the scene. This means you can look up, down, left, right, and even behind the scene’s original point of focus, placing you at the center of the action.

360-degree video in filmmaking also presents challenges, such as seamlessly directing the viewer’s attention, shooting a scene without getting crew and gear in the frame, and the technical aspects of stitching footage. In addition, while VR headsets have become more common, they’re still far from mainstream.

In this article, you can see some common use cases for 360 videos, see some fictional movies, and read about directors who’ve embraced the tech.

360 video. Common Use Cases

360 degree Real Estate video screenshot

360-degree video is particularly popular in virtual reality (VR) applications but can also be enjoyed on standard computer screens or smartphones through platforms that support 360-degree video, like YouTube and Facebook.

360-degree video is used in various fields, such as tourism, real estate, entertainment, education, action videos (e.g., skiing, mountain biking), and more. It provides a more immersive experience than traditional video formats.

360-degree video is also used in 3D environments such as Unreal Engine, Blender, and Cinema 4D, especially for creating skyboxes for video games and animated movies.

Movies shot with 360-degree video cameras

While it’s more common in short films, music videos, and marketing content, several notable attempts exist to incorporate 360-degree video technology into longer movie formats or to use it for unique cinematic experiences. Here are a few examples:

Help (2015)

This Google Spotlight Story, directed by Justin Lin (known for the Fast & Furious series), is one of the early examples of a film designed for 360-degree viewing. It blends cinematic storytelling with interactive technology and offers a thrilling alien encounter in downtown Los Angeles.

Invisible (2016)

Directed by Doug Liman, known for The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow, this series marked one of the first major ventures by a Hollywood director into 360-degree storytelling. It’s a science fiction narrative that cleverly utilizes the immersive aspect of 360-degree video to enhance its storytelling.

Miyubi (2017)

This is a 40-minute VR experience produced by Felix & Paul Studios in collaboration with Funny or Die. It presents a unique, immersive narrative where viewers experience the life of a Japanese toy robot in the 1980s. It’s one of the longer, more narrative-driven pieces in the VR format.

Zero Point (2014)

Directed by Danfung Dennis, this documentary explores the future of virtual reality. It’s one of the first films made specifically for Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset, and it gives viewers a 360-degree look into the development of VR technology.

Crow: The Legend (2018)

This animated short film, inspired by Native American mythology and produced by Baobab Studios, stars John Legend and is available in traditional and interactive VR formats. While it’s not a full-length movie, it’s a significant example of storytelling in 360 degrees.


360-degree video offers a unique, immersive way for viewers to explore every angle of a scene—whether it be a videographer shooting a real estate video, a director seeking out new ways to create a movie or short film, or an extreme skier wanting to capture the thrill of the off-piste.

However, 360-degree video also presents challenges for traditional filmmaking, including the complexity of shooting from all directions without showing crew or equipment in the shot, the requirement that viewers have a Virtual Reality headset to appreciate the content fully, and the challenge of directing the viewer’s attention to the most important aspects of the narrative.

So, if you’re looking to embrace this tech, you must balance the innovative possibilities.

Up Next: What is B-roll, and why does it matter to your project?


  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a indie filmmaker, videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

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