In my years photographing the Kansas City Royals, head on a swivel is a common term used as we watch out for errant baseballs or bats. It now has another meaning, thanks to 360 technology.
The Nikon KeyMission 360 camera I’ve used this year at spring training can not only see in front of you, it captures the scene up, down and behind. Basically, this means it is pretty much impossible to be outside the view of the camera.
Having this vantage point, I have looked for situations that put the viewer in the middle of the action. Take batting practice. Sure, everyone is watching the players try to hit the baseballs over the wall. But if you look behind and to the side, there are all the cheering fans and player reactions.
Another opportunity to immerse the viewer occurs before the start of each game in Surprise Stadium, as players and fans interact. While Royals outfielder Paulo Orlando recently signed autographs, a fan was trying her best to get Lorenzo Cain to come over and autograph her baseball. At first you only hear her voice, but it was all captured on the 360 camera.
Having been around photography since the 1970s, I’ve had the opportunity to use a lot of different types of cameras. I did use a different 360 camera last year, but the technology just keeps improving. Some web browsers in the past couldn’t play back 360 video content. That also has changed, with most now capable of making it happen.
I’m still learning when, where and what makes good 360 video content, but here is a good guide: There needs to be something of interest to see all around, you need to be close enough to see what’s going on, and it needs to last long enough so viewers can take in the environment.