Cinematic VR Crash Course - Produce Virtual Reality Films
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Cinematic VR Crash Course - Produce Virtual Reality Films

Learn How to Produce 360° (3D) Video Content Like the Pros and Become a Virtual Reality Expert
4.4 (1,625 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
15,399 students enrolled
Created by Nick Kraakman
Last updated 1/2017
English [Auto-generated]
Price: Free
  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 3 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Create your own immersive cinematic VR experiences
  • Pick the 360 camera rig that fits your goals
  • Become an expert in virtual reality filmmaking
  • Get access to additional materials, like example footage, a glossary, and a list of resources
  • Learn all there is to know about cinematic VR in one place, in just a few hours
  • Be one of the virtual reality pioneers
View Curriculum
  • No prior experience with VR or 360 video required
  • If you know what virtual reality is, you're good to go!

“[VR is] the next major computing platform that will come after mobile." -- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook


Are you a filmmaker who wants to learn the secrets of producing immersive video content for virtual reality headsets? Then read on..

People interested in cinematic VR drown in the waterfall of tech news, become demotivated by the utter lack of clear information, and get lost in the jungle of obscure internet fora in search of much needed tips and tricks. This is why many simply give up..

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of problems you need to solve before you can finally start shooting some content? Do you ever feel lost in the technological jargon? Then this course is for you!

The Cinematic VR Crash Course teaches you everything you need to know to start shooting your own mind-bending cinematic VR experiences. From selecting a 360° camera rig and scripting, to the actual shoot and distribution of your content, this course covers it all in 10 high-quality, to-the-point video lectures.

Besides video lectures, this course includes example footage to get a feel for the material, a glossary to explain key terminology, quizzes to test your knowledge, an extensive workflow checklist to make sure your recording goes smoothly, and a list of resources to help you acquire all the gear you need to get started.

Concepts are introduced gradually, so that even a beginner will be able to follow along and become a virtual reality expert in no-time!

Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

✔ Understand all aspects of cinematic VR

✔ Film and produce your own cinematic VR experiences

✔ Take on paid assignments with confidence, because you'll know how to deliver

✔ Record and mix ambisonic audio

✔ Select the 360° camera rig that fits you best

✔ Discover the limitations and possibilities of this exciting new medium

✔ Get our 360 file management software for free

✔ Gain knowledge that few possess

✔ Become one of the Virtual Reality pioneers

✔ Plus much more!

Over the past six months, we have been working on our own 360° 3D camera rig to produce cinematic VR content and have gained valuable, first-hand knowledge in this area. Knowledge which only few possess, and which we want to share with the world in one complete package!

So do you want to discover how to produce VR video content like the pros? Then click "Take This Course" to start your Virtual Reality journey today!

Who is the target audience?
  • People interested in cinematic virtual reality
  • Filmmakers who want to start shooting 360 video experiences
  • 360 filmmakers who want to learn new tricks & techniques
Compare to Other Virtual Reality Courses
Curriculum For This Course
13 Lectures
3 Lectures 16:44

To make sure that everyone is on the same page, we'll briefly talk about why you should care about VR in the first place, what cinematic VR is and what it is not, as well as a list of tools you need to start creating immersive video content.


  • VR is going to be huge judging from the billions of dollars all the big tech companies are investing in it
  • Cinematic VR is the next logical step in the evolution of film
  • Cinematic VR places the viewer in the middle of the action
  • To create a realistic experience, you need a 360 3D camera as well as an ambisonic microphone
  • Ambisonic mics record a complete sound field
  • This can be decoded to a binaural format
  • Binaural audio uses a head-related transfer function which allows you to hear where sounds are coming from
  • Most 360 cameras film in 2D and without spatial audio
  • The more senses you trigger, the more real the experience will feel. This is called presence.
A Short Introduction to Cinematic VR

In lesson two of the Cinematic VR Crash Course in which I will guide you through the various types of 360 camera rigs that are currently available, so that you will be able to pick the rig that suits your needs best.


  • 360 cams can be categorized into three broad categories
  • 360 2D is the simplest form of 360 video. There are many cameras available that allow you to easily film flat 360 content
  • 360 stereoscopic 3D cameras use one camera per eye to create an illusion of depth
  • Parallax is the apparent movement of an object in relation to the background when viewed from a different angle
  • Parallax is a big issue for 360 video, especially for stereoscopic rigs in which the cameras are even further apart in the rig. This can cause serious stitching issues.
  • The only way to avoid parallax is to place all cameras in the dead center of the rig
  • Using advanced Computational Photography algorithms to create a virtual camera rig is the best way to achieve this
  • The Google Jump rig is currently the only publicly available algorithmic 3D camera, since the Jaunt cam is only available for selected partners. However, the Nokia OZO will follow soon.
Choosing Your 360 Camera Rig

This document explains some of the key jargon you will encounter on your cinematic VR journey.

4 pages

Quiz 1
4 questions
3 Lectures 18:01

In today's lesson I will help you prepare your camera for your first cinematic VR shoot. Since the majority of 360 camera rigs are based on GoPro, that's also what we are focusing on here. GoPro HERO4 to be precise. Some steps might seem redundant -- at first we thought so as well -- but once you have a few shoots under your belt you'll be glad you put in the extra effort beforehand.


  • If you prepare your shoot well, it will save you half the work and a lot of frustration
  • Only use identical hardware, that means cameras as well as SD cards
  • Number your cameras and SD cards to know which cam belongs where in your rig. Use even numbers for left eye cameras and uneven numbers for right eye cameras in case you are shooting in stereoscopic 3D
  • Configure the GoPro Studio Importer software so it will move your video files to the correct folder and so it will sync the time and date of your cams
  • Give your cams a name so both the software and you know which files come from which camera
  • Format all your SD cards before a shoot so you have plenty of room for your video data
  • Set all your GoPros to the same recording settings. At the very least, make sure you shoot at 60 frames or more
  • Pair all your cameras to a WiFi remote so you can turn them all on at once with the press of a button
  • Sound logical, but don't forget to start your shoot with topped up batteries
  • Use a checklist to make sure you don't forget to bring key equipment
Preparing For Your First Shoot

This list contains links to useful hardware and software to help you in your quest to produce high-quality cinematic VR content.

List of Resources
8 pages

Your brand new camera rig films on all sides at the same time, so everything around it is in view, including you and any set lights you might want to use. On top of that, the points where you stitch your images together, called stitch lines, are very sensitive areas. If people walk through these lines while being too close to the camera, this can result in nasty stitching artefacts which cannot be fixed in post-production. So it is important to think about these topics in advance, which will save you a lot of headaches later on.


  • Preparation is essential and helps you minimize stitching errors and will ensure your shoot goes smoothly
  • In your script, describe all the details of each scene, not only the parts of the scene where the action is happening, as all the surroundings are in view as well
  • Use block diagrams to visually describe a scene, and all the actors, objects and actions in it
  • Think in advance about how you can use spatialized sounds and audio cues to enhance your content
  • Create a light plan so you have a clear idea about how you are gonna light your scenes without having big studio lights in view
  • Also consider where you and your crew are gonna hide during the shoot, and how you are gonna view what is being filmed
  • Finally, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
Scripting, Planning & Rehearsing

Quiz 2
4 questions
2 Lectures 08:59

Today is the big day: we're gonna talk you through your first ever cinematic VR shoot! The process is far from user-friendly, but there is a method to the madness. Let me guide you through the steps.


  • First, set up your rig at eye height and hook up the mic and power supply
  • Then start your shoot with a little test run to make sure all cams record properly and with the correct settings
  • During the actual shoot, always make sure both the audio and all the cameras are recording
  • Sync on motion by moving the camera head, and sync on audio by clapping loudly
  • Once a scene is done, shout CUT and check if all cams have recorded
  • Note unusable takes to save you a lot of spotting and stitching time during post-production
  • Be prepared to troubleshoot and always bring spare parts
  • Overheating is one of the biggest problems you will face, because it makes the GoPros extremely unreliable
  • We covered several ways to minimize the chance of overheating, for example by limiting the length of your takes, and by powering off your rig after each take. To fix an overheated GoPro, either reset it or replace it.
Shooting Your Cinematic VR Content

Quiz 3
3 questions

This checklist covers the key steps to take during the preparation for a shoot, the shoot itself, and after it.

Workflow Checklist
3 pages
4 Lectures 33:37

You just shot some brilliant 360 video content, and now you have to copy the data from your cams to your editing station so you can start stitching them together. Easier said than done.. But fear not, I've got some tricks for you which will save you a lot of frustration.


  • The first step is to import your footage from your cams to your computer using the GoPro Studio Importer
  • You now have to organize these files to make it easier for you to stitch your scenes
  • To keep track of which file belongs to which camera, we first have to rename each file to include the camera name
  • Mac has a built in batch rename tool, windows requires you to use a third-party rename utility
  • After renaming, organize your files into take folders. You're now ready for stitching
  • It is possible to automate and speed up the file management process using software tools
  • You will need a lot of storage capacity to store all your video files
  • We recommend using a LaCie 2TB rugged disk for in the field and for backup purposes
  • And a LaCie 20TB RAID disk to edit your files from

ManyCams is included for free as a downloadable resource

Managing Your Files

You've shot your content and organized it. Now you're ready to turn all those isolated video files into one seamless panorama using so called stitching software. Hours could be spent talking about the obscure details of stitching, but for the sake of brevity we will only focus on the most important aspects to help you get started.


  • Spot and color mark the takes you want to stitch
  • Then drag 'n drop your files into Autopano Video Pro
  • Find the moment when you start moving the camera head and press Use Motion To Synchronize
  • Stitch as GoPro to create a reference panorama
  • Press edit to edit the panorama in Autopano Giga
  • Rotate your panorama and straighten the horizon
  • Add extra control points for better stitches
  • Optimize your panorama after every change you make
  • Configure the stereo settings in Autopano Video to indicate which camera is a left eye and which one is a right eye, and also select Over/Under as render format
  • Use the red markers to select the part of the video you wish to render to save a lot of render time
  • Output in uncompressed format, 4096x4096 pixels at 60 frames per second
  • Finally, add your video to the batch renderer so you can render the video while you're asleep
Stitching 101

Today you will learn how to create a realistic ambisonic audio mix. I'm very excited to teach you this, because I believe ambisonic audio is an important topic which is not nearly covered enough. It is important because spatial audio can greatly enhance the realism of a VR experience. I will tell you the basics, and then let our friends from show you the advanced mixing techniques.


  • Ambisonic audio adds a layer of realism to a VR experience, yet this topic is not covered that often in the VR community
  • Ambisonic audio is a full-sphere surround technology, including height data
  • In its most basic form, an ambisonic recording consists of four channels
  • An ambisonic microphone records in A-format, which first has to be decoded to B-format for editing and distribution, and then to binaural for listening
  • You can use the free VVMic tool to convert A-format to B-format
  • Reaper, in combination with the free ambisonic toolkit plugin, is the weapon of choice to create spatial audio mixes
  • created an open-source tool to connect a VR video player with Reaper to aid you in your spatial mixing
  • Their detailed tutorial explains how you can create your own ambisonic mixes in Reaper
Ambisonic Audio Mixing

Now that you stitched your videos and prepared your audio, it's finally time to start the editing process. With regular videos, editing takes up a big part of the total post-production time. With cinematic VR content however, editing is usually a bit more straightforward, since you are not working with quick cuts and multiple camera angles, but with a single viewpoint and longer scenes so your viewers actually have time to look around.


  • Convert to ProRes using MPEG Streamclip
  • Create a custom final cut project with the correct resolution and frame rate
  • Frame rates of 120 or higher are possible
  • The equirectangular projection makes it difficult to add 3D visual effects to your content
  • One workaround is to use the VR Panorama plugin for Unity
  • The Stereo VR Toolbox gives you live preview of your edit in an Oculus Rift
  • You can fix the bottom of your video by placing a logo there
  • Apply color grading to add back color and intensity to your videos
  • Export your project as ProRes and then finally convert it to MP4 using MPEG Streamclip or Handbrake
Editing & Compression

Quiz 4
5 questions
1 Lecture 09:13

This is the final lesson of this Cinematic VR Crash Course. We started the course with a short introduction, then we helped you to pick a rig and prepare it for a shoot. We also covered the shoot itself, as well as post-production. You have now arrived at the final stage: distributing your content to virtual reality headsets.


  • There are several ways in which you can share your cinematic VR content with the world, and none of them is perfect yet
  • YouTube 360 is great if you want a wide reach and flawless integration with Google Cardboard
  • Kolor Eyes is especially interesting for developers, since they offer an SDK
  • VRideo is interesting because they are device agnostic, meaning they plan to support all major VR headsets
  • Milk VR is great if you have high-quality footage you want to distribute to Gear VR users
  • Again, there is no best way to distribute your content, it all depend on your goals and target audience
Distributing Your Cinematic VR Content

Quiz 5
3 questions
About the Instructor
Nick Kraakman
4.4 Average rating
1,624 Reviews
15,399 Students
1 Course
Co-Founder of Purple Pill VR

Nick Kraakman - Virtual Reality Expert

Nick has been running successful businesses since his first year in University, and is currently pioneering the field of cinematic VR with Purple Pill VR, run by Nick and his co-founder Thierry.

Over the past months, Nick and his colleague were one of the first to develop their own 360° 3D camera rig and produce high-quality cinematic VR experiences. It was a bumpy ride, and now Nick wants to share the insights and experience they gained along the way.

✔ Virtual reality expert

✔ Cinematic VR pioneer

✔ Successful online instructor

✔ Serial entrepreneur

✔ Public speaker