How the Royal Air Force Filmed Their First Immersive 360 Film

Ever wanted to experience a day in the life of the Royal Air Force Police? Or stand underneath a C-130 Hercules aircraft as it lands? Now you can with the Royal Air Force’s first-ever 360 immersive film. 

The video is a thrilling showcase of the incredible work the Royal Air Force Police (RAFP) does on any given day. The RAFP provides a unique blend of police, counter-intelligence and protective security services for the Royal Air Force, enabling the successful implementation of RAF operations across the world. 

The video places the viewer right in the heart of the action in scenes most people never get to experience. Flight Lieutenant Paul Gale, RAF Media Reserves, said of the project, “Our vision was to create a ‘wow’ experience where the viewer is fully immersed in scenes that they wouldn’t normally have access to—like being inside the hold of a C-17 transport aircraft, directly underneath a landing C-130 Hercules or at the center of a road traffic incident at night.”

Check out the immersive film below, 100% shot on Insta360 Pro 2 and ONE R, and read on to learn how they filmed this project.

Watch on YouTube for the full immersive effect in 8K quality.

Behind the scenes with the Royal Air Force

Putting together their first immersive 360 film was no easy feat for the RAF team. They captured 1.5TB of data over five days of shooting and spent over 250 hours editing it all together. But with the Insta360 Pro 2, they were able to capture the scenes they wanted and realize their vision.  

The Insta360 Pro 2 fit the bill and we were happy with the performance and resulting images.Flight Lieutenant Paul Gale, RAF Media Reserves

Royal Air Force 360 video
Image: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

“We wanted something that was easy to use, had good monitoring capabilities and recorded high-quality 8K footage but without the difficulties and challenges of using a custom rig with separate cameras. We wanted an all-in-one solution, as we knew that this production would be fast-paced and would take place in some challenging environments. TheInsta360 Pro 2 fit the bill and we were happy with the performance and resulting images,” Gale said of their experience filming with Insta360 Pro 2. 

Royal Air Force 360 video
Image: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

One of the main challenges RAF faced was that there’s nowhere to hide personnel or equipment when you’re recording in 360 degrees. But Insta360’s Farsight live monitoring system allowed them to preview their shot remotely on a tablet. “The Farsight monitoring system performed flawlessly and enabled the crew to hide away, sometimes at quite a distance,” said Gale.

For the arrest scene where a military working dog chases down the “villain”, the RAF team turned to Insta360 ONE R to capture the action. They experimented with mounting the camera on the dog’s back as well as on a selfie stick. “By using the Invisible Selfie Stick with Insta360 ONE R, we got a bird’s eye view of the action with a relatively simple setup,” said Gale. 

Royal Air Force Insta360 ONE R dog
Image: UK MOD© Crown copyright 2021

Check out their “how we did it” video for more of their tips on shooting immersive video, like how they orientated the viewer with visual cues and choreographed the scene in advance:

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WRITTEN BY @Maegan Burkhart
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