360 Camera Accessories 360 Camera Techniques

How to shoot a hands-free POV and selfie video at the same time with a 360 camera

GoPro Fusion sample video with 360 spatial audio
GoPro Fusion sample video with 360 spatial audio

Can you capture a first-person POV video and a selfie video at the same time? With a 360 camera, you can. Here’s how.

Action cameras are very useful for hands-free POV shots, such as when used with a chest harness. But when you use it that way, you can’t capture your own expressions and reactions — or can you?  A 360 camera can capture both a POV video and a selfie video but you have to mount it the right way.

First, here’s a 360 video shot on the GoPro Fusion (detailed reviewed here), showing a 360 view of my favorite ride at Disney California Adventure – the Radiator Springs Racers from Cars Land.  The 360 video also has 360 spatial audio, which means the audio will change as you rotate the 360 video:

To capture this video, I used a chest harness (chesty) just like the ones often used for action cameras. Then I attached this extension arm.

extension arm
extension arm

When I attached the extension arm to a chest harness bending upward, the arm will not go lower than chest level (unless you force it lower). I then attached a 360 camera — in this case, the GoPro Fusion. In some situations I tilted the Fusion approximately in-line with the extension arm to minimize its appearance. However, because I was going to go on a ride that would be moving a lot, I opted to angle the Fusion vertically, to minimize the chance of it flopping over.

Based on the results of my video, I would say the mount worked and does indeed provide a first person POV and selfie at the same time. In fact, the 360 video can be converted to a flat non-360 video that alternates between POV and selfie, or pans from one to the other, as in this segment of my review video:

The solution is not totally perfect.  For one thing, the chest harness I used had elastic straps, so it allowed the camera to move up and down.  Also, the metal extension arm I used was a very tight fit for the third-party chest harness I used (on the other hand, I think this also reduced the amount of camera movement).

In terms of choice of camera, the GoPro Fusion did well here due to its best-in-class image quality and its very good stabilization.  It also worked well because it has two stabilization modes: full stabilization which stabilizes the video to a fixed direction, and anti-shake which maintains the ‘forward’ view.  For this 360 video, I used anti-shake stabilization.  This is one of the reasons I love the GoPro Fusion ($699 at Amazon).

On the whole, I was pleased with the end result, and for me this solution was more practical and economical than other hands-free mounts I’ve tried.