Alongside: Inauguration | Women’s March

It’s rare that you find two historic events, back to back, in the same location.

Just 24 hours apart, the inauguration of President Donald Trump and the Women’s March on Washington brought hundreds of thousands to Washington, D.C., in support of and opposition to the incoming administration.

Working with the Newseum VR team, Boundless was able to capture, side by side in 360, the pageantry and protests of January 20 and 21.

Slider created with JuxtaposeJS from Northwestern University’s Knight Lab, with screenshots from the GoPro Omni camera.

Shooting with the Nokia OZO and the GoPro Omni simultaneously, Boundless’ founder Steve Johnson and Newseum’s Jake McLernon were able to capture the inauguration and the riots at the same time and shoot from the same locations on Inauguration Day and during the following protests.

The Newseum provided a fantastic location, having one of the largest balconies on Pennsylvania Avenue overlooking the parade and protests. It also didn’t hurt that the 50-ton First Amendment tablet provided a backdrop for the 360 video.

We partnered with Upworthy to publish our view of one of the largest marches on Washington, D.C. Shooting among more than 500,000 marchers was not easy. We split up to cover scenes around D.C. and the rally at the beginning of the march.

The Women’s March on Washington provided a solid story in 360 with a distinct beginning, middle and end to bring the viewer among the hundreds of thousands of marchers.

It was bumped to the priority during editing for two reasons: We had more Omni footage, which we could render much faster than the OZO footage, and we had much more mobility to build a story, since we could shoot the inauguration only from the Newseum.

The GoPro Omni filming the inaugural parade of President Donald Trump. The Nokia OZO was dangerously heavy to hang over the edge of the Newseum balcony with crowds and Secret Service below, so we opted for the Omni. (Photo by Steve Johnson, Boundless)

Gear

For backpack reporters, 360 cameras like the GoPro Omni and the Nikon KeyMission 360 are becoming a necessity. More complicated rigs like the Nokia OZO are fantastic for studio settings, but their price and lack of portability can be limiting. One feature especially lacking in our scenario was the ability to automatically adjust exposure reliably — checking exposure on a laptop was difficult in the field.

More experienced OZO shooters probably have this down better than we did. The OZO can be carried into the middle of a police-demonstrator standoff, but for run and gun we found it a little difficult to not want to grab the reliable (and cheaper) GoPro Omni.

The OZO lasted about two hours in the field with each battery, and we had the Omni constantly recharging with the Core SWX battery pack.

For additional stills, we traded in our DSLRs for iPhones and the Fuji X-T2, saving valuable weight for the 360 gear.

The Fuji X-T2 captures the Women’s March on Washington in between 360 shoots. (Photo by Steve Johnson, Boundless)

Breaking News 360

The most exciting takeaway from last weekend’s shoot is that with little staff (just Steve and Jake) you can reliably shoot studio-quality 360 video, stitch and edit on deadline. The software is getting faster, the editing is getting quicker, and the shooting is becoming more second nature. This was Jake’s first time shooting 360, and with little training he was in the field producing content.

Both the OZO and the Omni proved to be workhorses over the course of 48 hours documenting important images of the transition of power and the right to assemble.

With the 360 camera releases coming out of CES, backpack journalists will soon have plenty of options that will increase the quality of production and reduce the stitching and editing time needed to build a story.


If you have any questions about the 360 coverage of the inauguration or women’s march, send Steve a tweet.