360 wedding video & Samsung Gear 360 review

The Samsung Gear 360 review and resulting 360 wedding video

So while I had some time during the festive break I have been testing out Samsung’s new Gear 360 camera for the Insiders network #insidersgear360. So what’s a 360 camera you might ask and why use one? Well, you might have seen a few of these 360° videos on YouTube or Facebook, they are the videos where you can move your smart phone or tablet to look around as if you were there in the room behind the camera (you can also swipe with your finger to move round the video). Not only can you look round but also up and down, but the best bit comes when you view the same 360° video using VR (Virtual Reality) goggles such as the Google Cardboard or, as I used, Samsung’s own Gear VR. So, this brings me back to the Samsung Gear 360 camera, the one issue is that it is only compatible with the Galaxy S6 & S7 (and edge), you can still use the camera without a compatible phone but you will need to use a computer to download and stitch the resulting video content together. The main advantage of using the camera with a compatible phone is that you have easy access to the camera settings giving you full control, basic settings can still be accessed via the built-in menu and display on the camera but as I like to take full manual control of ISO, white balance etc. the phone is a must in my view.

The first thing you need to do when setting up the Gear 360 is to make sure the video settings are at the highest possible resolution of 3840 X 1920 (4k) 30fps, this might sound like high quality, and it is, but you need to remember that once the captured video is stitched together it will be cropped by approx. 6x when viewing, this looks OK on a phone screen or tablet but you will notice a softer less detailed image when viewed with VR goggles, so if the camera is set to anything less than 4k the end result will just not cut it and look too soft. The other thing to note is that stitching is done with the phone app and if you save the video to your phone it will be at a reduced resolution so the only way to keep the maximum picture quality is to download the content to a PC or Mac and stitch/edit that way. The Gear 360 comes with “Action Director” to stitch and edit the footage but I only used this software to stitch the video together and then brought the stitched content into Edius, Action Director is just not cut out for editing professionally. There are some basic tools in Action Director to enhance the video but they are very limited in function, for a hobby user or for personal use it would be perfectly acceptable but not if you want to take things to the next level. The other thing I noticed is that the default ISO limit was set to 1600iso and was WAY TOO HIGH resulting in unacceptable levels of noise in the image so this was limited to 400iso.

360 wedding video

Once I had the camera settings sorted out the next step was some real-world use, the idea was to create our first 360 wedding video so a suitable wedding was selected. The church ceremony presented the first challenge, where to position the camera? It’s not like framing a shot with any other camera as everything is in view and you need some foreground interest to make 360 wedding video work, in fact I would say that 360 works best when its right in the middle of the action so you are looking around at interesting subject matter all the time but I don’t think the priest (or couple) would have been happy with a camera placed on a tripod between them, even if the Gear 360 camera is only just bigger than a golf ball. Distant or outdoor panoramic type shots just don’t work in my opinion as the resolution of the resulting stitched footage from the camera is just not good enough but the effect of close subjects or interior views work very well, especially when viewed with VR goggles to give an immersive feel. I settled on a view from the perspective of a guest in the front row and set the camera to record unattended (you can’t man the camera as you would be the focus of attention!), there are two flashing red LEDs (one for each sensor/lens) to let you know you are recording using both front and back facing cameras (you can set up to use one front or back facing camera but not in 360°). The ceremony lasted about 45mins and it was reassuring to see that there was still battery power remaining. This brings me to one good feature of the Samsung Gear 360 and that’s the removable battery, other offerings from some rival camera manufacturers are not removable. The Micro SD card supplied for the review was 128gb so there was more than enough to record over 8hrs of footage, personally I would rather use smaller capacity cards to spilt the content to reduce the risk of losing everything if a card fails but as this was just a test/review I didn’t worry too much. Next I set up the camera on a table at the wedding reception before the guests took their seats, the camera comes with a small folding tripod only a couple of inches high but comes in handy if you have something to set the camera on, in this case a wine glass. The result here work very well as you could look down at the table detail as well as all around the room, a similar position was chosen for the speeches and again looked great. The one issue with camera is the built-in microphone/s, they do a poor job (as do most built in camera mics), I wasn’t too concerned on this occasion as we were shooting with pro kit at the same time and could replace the audio later if needed.

In conclusion, the Samsung Gear 360 is great camera for the price, it’s quick and easy to use and will give good results as long as you know its limitations and set it up right in the first place. To get 360 footage of a higher quality you would need to spend more than 10x as much on something like a 360 Hero Pro rig with 6x Hero 4 blacks at over £4k and from the resulting footage I have seen it doesn’t look 10x better, in fact I’d say the Samsung is close and a lot less outlay and with only one stitch line. I haven’t gone into detail here regarding the post processing or how to export the footage for final delivery/output, in fact there are a few steps to take and to get the best results it is very time consuming, however I have been impressed enough that we are now going to offer 360 wedding video as an add-on or option to our wedding videography services. For more information regarding a 360 wedding video please contact A&G Produtions

Here is the resulting sample 360 wedding video:-

Wedding videography, West Yorkshire

Sometimes wedding videography can present itself with some challenges, we all like and hope for a wedding with blue skies and sunshine, from a wedding videographers point of view this can be a challenge. A few white fluffy clouds makes for less harsh shadows and can be more creative. Amy and Christopher’s day started out with the weather all brides hope for but this all changed just as Amy arrived. As the wedding cars pulled up at the church those white fluffy clouds turned to a rather dark shade of gray and in no time at all the heavens opened. Luckily the wedding car company had plenty of umbrellas at hand to keep Amy dry as she and her bridal party made their way down to the church. The rain didn’t stop us capturing some lovely images and here are the best bits:

Wedding videography at the reception Venue

We followed the bridal party from the church in Darton to Bagden Hall near Wakefield. With acres of beautiful grounds, Bagden Hall is the perfect West Yorkshire wedding venue and makes a great backdrop for wedding videography.

Located not far from Huddersfield, yet set in 40 acres of stunning grounds and commanding views over the Yorkshire Dales, Bagden Hall is ideal for couples seeking a location that has many opportunities for both wedding videography and photography.

Drone aerial filming of your wedding venue

A&G Productions captures some stunning video of your wedding venue with our Drone, these images are used to showcase your venue and are added to your video to give it the WOW factor. All our drone work is carried out with the full permission from the CAA and with all the necessary insurance in place. When hiring a wedding videographer to do any drone work please make sure they have what is known as “PFCO” or permission for commercial operations, this used to be called permission for aerial work. Always ask your wedding videographer if they have this permission.

Wedding videography Rockliffe hall, always different.

Wedding videography Rockliffe Hall, it’s different every time we visit this 5* venue, why? Well apart from the many rooms that are licensed for civil ceremonies (we have filmed in each one) it’s the people that make the wedding so different and personal. This is why we always enjoy filming weddings, even if we have been to the venue many times before, there is always a new angle to find, a unique aspect to the wedding that makes it a new experience each and every time. Here Negin & Rob’s wedding also included a traditional Iranian (Persian) Wedding sofreyé (wedding spread) and of all the wedding videography at Rockliffe Hall this was a first for us anywhere. You can see an example of this part of the ceremony in our featured wedding video highlight here.

What is the sofreyé?
The sofreyé is perhaps the most important element of a Persian wedding, and what makes it unique from all others in the world. Sofré is the word for tablecloth in Persian. sofreyé aghd is very similar to the sofreh set at nowruz, the Persian new years. Like the one set for nowruz, the sofreyé aghd also directly hails from Zoroastrian tradition, and it has changed very little in the last few thousand years. The tablecloth itself is normally either on the floor on a rug to prevent slippage in an indoor wedding, or constructed on wood raised from the ground about 6-8 inches in an outdoor wedding. It is usually covered by either a simple cloth, or an elaborate cloth called a termé. Usually the bride’s mother spends several months before the wedding gathering elements of the sofré- these elements are both objects that are near and dear to the hearts of the bride and groom, and elements that contain imagery and symbolism relating to their impending union. This example of wedding videography Rockliffe Hall is just one of many we have filmed this year.

Wedding videography Rockliffe Hall

Negin & Rob in the orangery at Rockliffe Hall

Wedding videography North Yorkshire

The old Hall at Rockliffe Hall

Wedding videographer Rockliffe Hall

At the garden Gates at Rockliffe Hall

Wedding confetti

Confetti on the steps

Weddings at Hardwick Hall Hotel, they don’t get any grander than this – find out why?

I am sure all weddings at Hardwick Hall Hotel are grand occasions in their own right but Jordan & Matthews was off the charts. Lets start with Jordan’s wedding dress, this was a designer silk gown created by the bridal couture queen Caroline Castigliano with silk zibeline, one of the world’s most expensive fabrics. While the average UK bride is said to spend around £1,000 on her dress at around £9,000 Jordan’s dress is almost half the average budget for UK weddings, which now comes in at an astonishing £21,000

Weddings at Hardwick Hall Hotel

Hardwick Hall Hotel

This may not come as a surprise to many as Jordan & Matthews wedding featured in a Channel 4 documentary “How the Other Half Wed” that aired earlier this month. In the program it revealed that the no-expenses-spared bash held at one of Jordan’s family’s hotels included £7,000 on importing over 6,000 hydrangeas, orchids and roses from Holland, the hire of a 20-piece brass band and a Victorian carousel to entertain guests. If you didn’t get a chance to see the CH4 program here is Jordan & Matthew’s wedding video highlight.

Jordan & Matthew’s wedding day highlight from A&G Productions on Vimeo.

The wedding ceremony took place at St Cuthbert’s Church in Co Durham with 300 guests in attendance.

Church wedding videography

St Cuthbert’s Church, Co Durham

Pimms reception at Hardwick Hall Hotel

Pimms on the lawn

Guests were entertained at the grand reception with various performers and bands, from the moment they arrived right through to the end of the night. The 20-peice brass band, vintage carousel, Pimms bar and cocktail bar were all set up on the lawn ready for the guests arrival and an illuminated personalised dance floor was center stage in the Colman Suite for the first dance.

Wedding videography

Wedding videography

Vintage Carousel

Hardwick Hall Hotel is one of the North East’s ultimate wedding venues located in Co Durham, the idyllic setting of the Hardwick Country Park ensures a beautiful location that is picture perfect for your wedding day and makes a stunning back drop for your wedding photography and video. Weddings at Hardwick Hall Hotel have always been a pleasure for us to film and in fact we are blessed with many top class wedding venues throughout the county of Northumberland, Co Durham and North Yorkshire.

Wedding videography Co Durham

Wedding Videography in North Yorkshire

Ollie & Natalie’s wedding ceremony took place in All Saint’s Church in Pickhill North Yorkshire, their wedding video features some lovely moments from the day including a tradition not often seen, of paying the local children to allow the couple to exit through the church gate. This  wedding includes wedding videography in North Yorkshire, and Rudding Park Hotel

We also had the pleasure of working alongside Alastair Broadwith from Alastair Broadwith Photography, Situated in the heart of picturesque Wensleydale, Alastair  mainly operates across North Yorkshire but often works on weddings and photo shoots further afield. Alastair is a pleasure to work with and this was not the first time A&G Productions have had the privilege to work alongside him.

 

Wedding videography north yorkshire

All Saints Church in Pickhill

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Wedding videography at Rudding Park Hotel

Natalie & Ollie with their Aston Martin at Rudding Park Hotel

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Wedding Videography North Yorkshire, featuring Rudding Park Hotel

Here is Victoria and Rick’s wedding video filmed at Rudding Park Hotel in Harrogate, Wedding videography North Yorkshire doesn’t get much better than  this.

Rudding Park Hotel is venue with a difference, after your civil ceremony you can walk down the aisle of the 19th century Chapel for a wedding blessing as Victoria and Rick did on their wedding day. The Chapel with its beautiful stone carvings and striking stained glass windows is located close to the Regency period house. The hotel with its mature gardens offers a stunning back drop for your wedding videography and photography.

Our friends from Carro of Wynyard were the photographers on the day and you can view the images in their photo gallery

Lake District wedding video

Jamie-Lee & John-Ryan’s Western Lake District wedding video highlight, the wedding took place in the church of St James in Whitehaven in the western Lake District, Cumbria and was followed by their reception at Hunday Manor. An attractive and imposing building dating from the 18th century, The Hunday Manor Hotel is situated in the stunning Western Lake District. Since 1999 under the present owners Joe and Denise Wilson, this independent hotel has been tastefully and lovingly renovated and extended making it the perfect choice for Jamie-Lee & John-Ryan’s wedding venue . Filming and editing any wedding is always a pleasure and a privilege, but add to that a beautiful autumnal wedding day in the Lakes with clear blue skies and a lovely couple surrounded by family and friends makes for a perfect combination. So here it is, Jamie-Lee & John-Ryan’s wedding video highlight.

 

St James Church Whitehaven

St James Church in Whitehaven, Cumbria

Lakes wedding videographer

St James Church Whitehaven.

Wedding confettie

Jamie-Lee & John-Ryan exit as husband and wife.

Wedding video

The first kiss under the autumn sun.

Wedding video cumbria

Arriving in style at Hunday Manor

Wedding video at Hunday Manor

All the girls with the bride

Matfen Hall wedding video

Helen & Bryan’s civil wedding ceremony took place in the Great Hall at Matfen Hall, after the ceremony they took advantage of the fine weather and stunning gardens for the drinks reception and some photography with the Hall providing the backdrop. When Helen & Bryan first came to meet with us they loved the end highlights we showed them that often follow the main wedding video and they especially liked the black & white and slow motion that we often use to convey a timeless reminder of the more emotive aspects of the wedding day. We used various additional pieces of video equipment including a GT Glidetrack and glidecam to create another dimension to what would otherwise be simple static shots. These tools together with many years of experience and a creative eye culminated in the following wedding video highlight.

 

Helen & Bryan in the gardens at Matfen Hall

Helen & Bryan in the gardens at Matfen Hall

Wedding video

Wedding at Matfen Hall

Wedding at Matfen Hall

Confetti on the steps at Matfen Hall

Aerial photography

An aerial view of Matfen Hall from our Drone

Wedding at Langley Castle Northumberland

James & Erica’s wedding took place at Langley Castle Hotel, Langley Castle is a 14th Century fortified castle nestling in the Northumbrian valley of the South Tyne. Erica’s homeland is America and her family had the flag of the USA proudly flying alongside the flag of Northumberland above one of the castle turrets, as you can see in their wedding video highlight.

Aerial photography

An aerial photo of Langley castle

Stars and strips flying at english castle

Stars and Strips flying in the breeze with the flag of Northumberland.

Wedins in Northumberland

Erica & James exit the Castle for the first time as husband and wife.

Langley castle weddings

Confetti at the gates of Langley castle

English castle weddings

Langley Castle providing a stunning backdrop for Erica & James.

Wedding at Langley castle

Happy couple in the grounds at Langley Castle

 

Raithwaite Hall wedding video, north Yorkshire

This was the first time A&G had filmed a wedding at Raithwaite Hall and we had the pleasure of working with photographer Gary Walsh for Claire & Stewart’s wedding day. Raithwaite Hall have a variety of venue options, each with their own individual design, to cater for your wedding day. Whether it be a large wedding at Raithwaite Hall, an outdoor wedding in the stunning gardens, a smaller wedding at The Keep or a private and intimate experience in the Lake House, Raithwaite Estate in North Yorkshire has it all. Here is Claire & Stewart’s wedding video highlight.

Wedding photo at Raithwaite Hall

Making the most of the summer sunshine in the gardens at Raithwaite Hall

Weddings venue in North Yorkshire

Stunning views from the top of the valley looking down on the gardens at Raithwaite Hall

North Yorkshire wedding venue

Raithwaite Hall, 5* Luxury wedding venue