10 Samsung Gear 360 Tips and Tricks

The age of 360 cameras is finally upon us. The globe-like devices are able to capture images and video all around them, allowing you to take immersive shots quickly and easily. They're unlike anything that’s ever been available before.

Samsung’s Gear 360 is at the forefront of the 360-camera revolution. The device is a little larger than a golf ball and is able to capture video at an almost 4k resolution (3840 by 1920 pixels) and take 30-megapixel photos, outperforming many other consumer cameras. Priced at just $350, the device is also an affordable way for average consumers to get started shooting their own immersive videos.

Once you record videos or snapshots with the camera, you can upload them to Facebook, YouTube, and other social networking sites where viewers can get an immersive view of your surroundings. Even better, the videos are compatible with virtual-reality headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR. With one of these, a person could watch a video you’ve taken and experience the video as you did when you took it.

Below are a few tips on how to get the most out of your 360 camera experience. The tips are geared specifically toward the Gear 360 camera; however, many of the same tips apply to other 360 cameras, too.

Get a Better Tripod

Silhouette Man Adjusting Mobile Phone On Tripod At Shore Against Cloudy Sky
Donny Setyawan / EyeEm / Getty Images

The Gear 360 comes with a small tripod attachment that can be great for taking small tabletop shots but can prove problematic if you plan on shooting videos or taking pictures in situations where you don’t have the right surface to place it on. Given that the camera is capturing a 360-degree image, you should use a tripod with it so you aren't holding the camera when it snaps a shot (and consequently taking up half of the image with your face.)

On a basic level, you should purchase a better monopod for the device. In some cases, you can find one that works as both a tripod for your Gear 360 and as a selfie stick for your phone. In situations like travel, the dual-purpose tripod can definitely come in handy. Choose one that's height-adjustable and compact enough to tote around.

Get Adventurous

Gorilla Pod
 Gorilla Pod

This type of camera is still rather new, so people are still discovering how to best use them. Don't be afraid to try something new with yours. Once you've mastered a monopod, why not try out something like a GorillaPod? Those specially designed tripods can wrap around a tree, fencepost, and more to offer a unique perspective for your photos and videos. For instance, you can attach the camera to a tree branch to get a literal bird's-eye view of your family picnic.

Use the Delay

Man on beach posing for picture, smiling
Todd Warnock / Getty Images

The delay is an especially genius feature of the Gear 360. Use it whenever you take a photo or shoot a video so that you don’t have a picture or video of you trying to take a picture or shoot a video.

If you don’t use the delay, then the beginning of the video will be of you holding your phone, trying to start the camera. With the delay, however, you can set the camera up, make sure everything is perfect, start the recording, and then put your phone away before anything starts recording. It makes the whole image look a bit more realistic (even if you know that pic is coming), and gives your finished product a much more polished look.

Hold the Camera Above You

The Flatiron District
Copyright Artem Vorobiev / Getty Images

Holding the camera above you is one of those tips that seems so obvious after you hear it. With the Gear 360, the camera is always recording all around it. If you’re holding the camera in front of your face, (as you would most other cameras), half the video will be an up-close and personal look at the side of your face—not exactly an optimal experience, especially when you’re using a VR headset to view the video later on.

A better move is to hoist the camera over your head when you record video (unless you’re using a tripod and are controlling the camera from a distance away), so that it’s recording just slightly above the top of your head. Your video's viewers essentially will feel like they’re you in the shot, although slightly taller—a much better viewing experience.

Easy Does It

360 Degree shot of a Tree Canopy in a European Beech Forest from Ground Level
Richard Heath / Getty Images

Keep your hands as steady as possible while you’re recording. With 360 video, this is extremely important, especially if you plan on viewing the video later using a VR headset. Small movements can often seem much more significant than they really are. While you think you’re walking through a museum and rather steadily holding the camera, the finished video instead might give the sensation of a art-filled rollercoaster ride. Try to be as relaxed as possible when moving with the camera, and use a tripod whenever you can. The steadier you are, the more watchable your video will be.

Create a Timelapse Video

Young woman is lost in metropolitan city at night
Yiu Yu Hoi / Getty Images

Timelapse videos are essentially a number of still photos that are stitched together to form a cohesive video. To create your own 360-degree timelapse video, tap Mode > Timelapse in the app. From there, you can set the amount of time between photos. Times range between just half a second and a full minute, so you can experiment with different options. A timelapse of a skyline might be fine with a photo every minute, but if you’re trying to capture a timelapse of a party, you might instead snap a shot every few seconds.

Take More Photos

360 degree view of modern skyscrapers against sky
aaaaimages / Getty Images

Shooting lots of videos with the Gear 360 is tempting, of course, but always ask yourself if a photo would be better for the situation. Photos take up less space and upload quickly and easily to social sites. When you shoot a video instead, it can be difficult for viewers to explore. Plus, sooner or later, you'll end up capturing something in a video that distracts from your intended subject.

Download the App

Gear 360
 Screenshot of app

Technically, you don’t need the Gear 360 app to use the Gear 360, but you should download it. The app gives you the ability to do things like snap a shot remotely, but it also has another bonus: stitching together photos and videos on the fly. Through the app, you can share your photos and videos immediately.

Get a Bigger Memory Card

Close-Up Of Memory Card By Laptop On Table
Suparat Malipoom / EyeEm / Getty Images

To share videos that you've recorded using the Gear 360, you have to first transfer them to your phone so the app can do its thing. For that, you're going to need space (and lots of it). Do yourself a favor and max out your phone's memory capacity. A​ 128GB or 256GB microSD card can make using the camera much more pleasant.

Use Just One Camera

two small cell phone lens on desl.
alfexe / Getty Images

The Gear 360 uses front- and rear-facing fisheye lenses to capture 360-degree photos. You do need to use both cameras to capture fully immersive photos, but you can opt to use just the front or back camera to take a single shot. The resulting image will look similar to what you might capture using a fisheye lens on a traditional DSLR.

The Gear 360 can be a lot of fun to use. Experiment with different ways of capturing videos and photos on your own, and enjoy what you're able to create.