We spoke to Sam Smith, Editor Current Affairs for BBC SW, about this ambitious 360 project
Can you sum up the project?
An ambitious project to tell the inside story of the building and testing of the world’s fastest car, shot over four days at Newquay airport, Cornwall.
How was it created?
We wanted to create a short 360 film to capture the story of the Bloodhound project, and specifically to get access to the pre-public test runs so when the car was unveiled on October 26th, the BBC would have 360 content ready to go.
We wanted it to look great, so we decided to use the Insta360pro 8k camera – and as luck would have it Spencer Marsden from the BBC’s Blue Room in Manchester had one on test. Spencer joined the team and much of the content was filmed on this. However we had a number of consumer cameras for the project too, including the insta360One, the Garmin Virb360 and a trusty Samsung 360 Gear that we used to get the best shot of the show.
Planning for the shoot was a challenge given the ever-changing nature of the Bloodhound Team’s schedule. In fact it wasn’t until five days before delivery we got the all-important 200mph run in the can.
A quick turnaround project like this is not for the faint-hearted or those that like to keep office hours. The team worked pretty much 18 hour days, and a couple of all-nighters to stitch everything together and get picture lock so the sound designer could start on the ambisonic mix. Tripod removal, graphics, de-noising and de-flicker continued right up until the wire.
How was it built?
We stitched using a combination of Autopano and Mistika, and edited on Premiere Pro using the Mettle Skybox as well as using AfterEffects for tripod painting etc. Having an editor who can jump between five different GUIs in 20 minutes is a must. Sound design was done with the award winning team at Aurelia Soundworks, a really experienced crew who used their transatlantic team to work on the mix for 36 straight hours.
Any challenges and what were the solutions?
The whole thing was challenging – using new and consumer technology, working with an ever changing schedule, and the massive post-production files that effectively broke our standard editing kit – you need a massively fast PC with SSDs etc to handle the workflow. We were Facebook messaging the camera manufacturer in Hong Kong an hour before filming troubleshooting. It’s more complicated than you think.
What do you hope to learn from it being on Taster?
If there’s an appetite for this kind of thing, what the uptake is and who the audience is
More of the same please – despite the technical challenges it’s incredibly exciting to engage in this new form of storytelling.