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Capturing 360 Videos of Exotic Vehicles on Land, Sea and Air: an interview with Michal Jaroszczyk

photo by Michal Jaroszczyk
Michal Jaroszczyk is a filmmaker from Poland. Besides conventional films, he also creates 360 videos and has already developed an impressive 360 video portfolio.  He has captured amazing 360 footage of a wide variety of vehicles – ranging from aviation and automotive films, for example, to tank rides, powerboat cruises… and a Batmobile filmed in 360.
Here are some of Michal’s videos:
I contacted Michal to learn more about him and his techniques.
Michal, thank you for taking the time to speak with me.  I really enjoyed your amazing 360 videos.  How did you get started in 360 videography?
There were a lot of things which led me to making 360 videos and it’s a really long story so I will choose only some of the factors:
First of all, ever since I remember, I was always interested in various vehicles such as aircrafts, helicopters, musclecars, tanks, yachts and a lot of other interesting land/sea/air “things”. That’s why I focused mostly on vehicle films, but I do create other films too – like for example travel videos.
Second – I am already into “normal non360” commercial film production, so filming in 360 is just another tool to present what I want to show.

Third – some time ago I was very interested in flying overall. Before I sign up for the PPL courses I wanted to check on my own what type of aircraft I will like the most. That’s why I’ve flown as a passenger in various flying aircraft like paragliders, ultralight trike, gliders, various ultralights, airplanes, autogyros, rotarywing, aerobatic airplanes, etc.
I thought about taking 360 camera with me just to film the flights. I flew and I filmed the flights in order to see what I like the most and on the other hand for pure curiosity and my own experience. After some time, I decided to collaborate with pilots to make 360 films from the cockpit so they could get a video by giving me more interesting, longer flights. This way I’ve learned and see more as I could see for just a short “paid” sightseeing flight.
The same is the case with other vehicles – instead of renting cars on my own, I collaborated with vehicle owners. Creating films allowed me to experience how to drive/fly some vehicles which just aren’t easily achievable / available to rent, or are normally expensive to operate/rent/charter.
Thanks to checking vehicles on my own, along the way I learned many interesting things and found what I like. I’ve seen “basics” of running a train, hovercraft, autorotation in helicopter, airplane stall recovery, drifting, servicing a WW2 tank or cruising in a motor yacht. I am not an expert in any of this topics, but I’ve gained some knowledge on my hands-on experience.
I think It’s important to have something like at least a basic knowledge in many various topics in life. I am not talking about trying everything, because not everything is just worth trying but I am talking about getting a broader view to things and world around us.
In your opinion, what are the strengths of 360 videos compared to conventional videos?
As for example with vehicles – 360 video recording of vehicles allows the viewer to feel like sitting inside the vehicle or being in a particular place when talking about travel films. While watching interactive video we do not feel the g-forces/scents – but it allows us to interact with what we see. It’s all about interaction and feeling how is it inside on your own. That’s why I think it’s important to make especially POV 360 films.
I think that this is the main and biggest advantage overall.
photo by Michal Jaroszczyk
What do you think are the biggest challenges for creating 360 videos?
When we record video with a typical video camera, we focus and capture a specific frame. The viewer sees only what the camera operator wanted to show. In the 360°video (spherical video) the viewer chooses where he wants to focus his attention.
Some people just don’t know what to focus on when seeing 360 video. I think that’s important to lead them through video. You don’t have to force them to see something but it’s good to suggest to them where to look. For example – when filming a pov driving, it isn’t a big problem, since you know that the car is travelling forward and you see a steering wheel in front of you. When you’re filming for travel and showing some places – it’s good to think how to suggest the viewer some subjects to focus on.
The second challenge – difficulty of watching interactive content. Most people I’ve met don’t know what a 360 video is. They haven’t seen this type of footage before. A few of them have seen some 360 videos in social media.
Let’s imagine a case. There is a viewer who has never seen 360. You want to show him so you send him an email with link. The problem is that 360 content may not play correctly on his device. Some people can’t watch 360 films due to hardware/software problems. They click the link to this type of film and see no rotatable panorama, and instead they only see a distorted equirectangular video. They don’t understand it so they close the window and it ends their experience with 360. They don’t know how to watch 360 content because they don’t even know how it should look like. They see that it doesn’t seem to look good so they don’t even look for tutorial on how to watch it.
We can send people links to 360 video but it’s way better to first show them how to watch this video. Video quality / stitching difficulty / camera stabilisation – it’s a whole different thing. It just doesn’t matter how good your 360 film will be when somebody don’t know how to watch it and keep looking on the floor… so I think it’s the most important to show people what’s it’s about before playing them those films.
You have an amazing collection of 360 videos!  How do you go about finding your subjects?
It’s all about building connections and relations. When it comes to 360 films – I did not know practically anyone before recording. Last 2 months I’ve met more than 100+ people for 360 film projects, each one is about different project and each case was different. Let’s get for example airplanes. In short – the pilots will meet generally at the airport. I go to a place where people with specific interests meet. I approach people who previously I did not know, I say what they can they gain by making the project and I add a few more very important sentences. Sometimes I find the telephone numbers and just call. Sometimes I sent a really long email explaining everything. That’s all.
Divide your risk. When I try to find some vehicle, I simultaneous contact a various people with such a vehicle, in order to avoid unnecessary waiting when the first men I contact cancel the recording or keep changing the terms or keep procrastinating our deal, etc. It’s important to think about what you really want to achieve. Sometimes it is better overall to just pay for rental of something than to ask for cooperation.
Ok now this point is something I wish someone had told me beforehand: People are different and appearances can be misleading. I’ve met a lot of different people and some things attract a “specific” groups of interests. When we’re talking about some types of vehicles, especially higher value content like supercars – check people you’re dealing with before making a deal even when it’s something as simple as making a film project with them, because you just never know what your contact is really doing and what he/she can do… I could have many other videos and some very interesting rare vehicles but there were a few cases when I said no – I just don’t feel I can trust some people when I saw how they treated people who cannot do them any good.  In general, most people are “fine” but inevitably, we will meet people who we would be better off avoiding. I think you get what I mean and the rest I leave for you to consider.
People are different. There are different pilots, drivers, skippers etc. Air travel are very safe contrary to popular opinion publicized by the media of individual cases, but it’s still worth to  minimize unnecessary risk through appropriate planning and approach. I think that the last words of many people is, “Trust me, do not be so serious, it’s going to be good,” and the other are probably “Do not panic, it will be good”. When planning a low-level flight or driving a car 200mph it’s very important to do it with a trustworthy and experienced people with common sense in their mind.
photo by Michal Jaroszczyk
Do you have any words of inspiration for others who are learning to create 360 videos?
There are a lot of things to talk about here, but I will say about three major ones:
I hear a lot things from random people like: this car is too expensive to just film it and what if it get damaged, the helicopter cost too much to operate and nobody will let you, that’s military equipment and you never get permissions etc. If something requires permits – then I refer to the decision-makers. If something costs a lot – think about barter, check the insurance terms and just don’t sign a contract without reading. You have to know your limits and just use rational thinking – not everything is possible but on the other hand – there is a lot you can do. It’s funny that I hear from people that I get lucky on something, “Mike, you’re lucky you get to film those car/heli/boat” but they don’t see the whole planning and creating a deal process I had been doing for weeks/months before even getting my camera out of my bag.
Another related topic: you can not offer a product that will appeal to everyone. Someone may simply not want to have a video and that’s ok too.
The second thing – I spend much time when travelling and I’ve seen how enormous difference it makes on your life whether you live in for example US / China / Monaco / Belarus / Germany / Africa / Mexico. I mean – generally speaking there is enormous economic status and more important mental difference. Simplifying – we all have just different opportunities related to the environment we live in. We all have different starting point opportunities and chances but it doesn’t mean that something cannot be done. Some things can just be harder and take longer to achieve for each one and it’s a normal thing –  important to keep this in mind.
Third – It’s important to have the right tools and it’s very important to learn how to use them. You don’t have to use the best 360 camera on the market to start filming. Camera/any technology is just a tool. It’s all about what is in the mind of the person using technology that matters. Think about what you want to achieve before filming or event starting the project.
Thank you very much Michal for your insights.  It was a pleasure speaking to you and I continue to enjoy your 360 videos.  More power to you and your future endeavors!

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