Recently, I had the opportunity to film a 360° video. It was an interesting experience knowing the camera was capturing the entire room and having to consider how I could move around to highlight different aspects of the space. As I reflected on the numerous ways 360° cameras can be used by special librarians several ideas came to mind.
- Film special collections that are of interest to stakeholders and others outside your organization.
- Film instruction classes. The videos can be used by future students/employees to learn the content and see the full class. This can be particularly helpful as spaces start to open, but at limited capacity.
- Record a library tour.
- Collect and catalog 360° videos on content relevant to your users.
There are many examples of 360° videos on YouTube. To see the 360° feature, you can place the cursor in the middle of the video and pivot around the video. Another option is to click on the circle with four arrows in the top left corner to view the full 360° video. Below are a few from libraries:
- The World of the Toronto Public Library
- Take a 360 tour of the Bodleian, Hogwarts’ library in the Harry Potter films
- Tour of the Library of Congress in 360
Other 360° videos that may be of interest to users include:
In addition to viewing 360° videos on YouTube, many 360° videos can be viewed in a VR experience.
To create a 360° video, you will need a 360° camera. Many sites rate and review 360° cameras so I will not do that here, but I recommend reading reviews. Some cameras have better audio quality than others, and if you plan to speak while on camera that is an important consideration. Additionally, since the camera is capturing the space in a sphere around itself, cropping and editing does not always produce sharp images. You will want to consider if cropping and editing will be needed for videos, or if you can place the camera in a way that no editing will be required.
While 360° videos are not new, they are reaching new audiences and opening up new possibilities. This is especially true as the pandemic continues. A 360° video can help us feel more present in a space.
Lauren Hays, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Central Missouri. Please read her other posts about skills for special librarians. And take a look at Lucidea’s powerful integrated library systems, SydneyEnterprise, and GeniePlus, used daily by innovative special librarians in libraries of all sizes and budgets.
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