365 Days. 52 VR Vlogs. 1 Samsung Smartphone. Zero Laptop. How?
Brandon Maijala is a medical student / travel vlogger from Southern California, USA. He has a passion for exploring unique places and events, and recreating his experiences through 360 for those who haven’t been able to travel as extensively. What amazes us, besides his proliferation of 52 vlogs by the time his first 360-vlogging anniversary rolled around, is that he was able to achieve all this without a laptop. Let’s find out how!
VeeR: Why did you decide to become a 360 vlogger?
Brandon: When I was going through Pre-medical school courses I did not have much time for vlogging or anything on social media. But I always wanted to share all the unique and wonderful things in life with people. Seeing behind the scenes or behind the camera has always been interesting to me in shows. 360 degree videos allowed you to record without missing anything and allows you to see things from perspectives you would not normally see.
VeeR: You’ve been doing VR for a year now. How have you grown as a VR producer during the process?
Brandon: I try to stay as cheap and as small as possible. While traveling, I’ve found that packing light is imperative. I do not own a computer or a laptop so I can not do any real form of editing. My videos largely grew over time from me learning how to better record quality videos. This was through learning settings as well as understanding how light and motions affect the recording. In the beginning only one out of twenty videos I took would be uploaded. Now one out of ten videos are upload quality.
VeeR: What do you think differentiates you from other 360 vloggers?
Brandon: I show every thing. It may be harmful if I want to gain followers but I do not just show the tourist spots or just the famous areas. I recently did a video from a horse racing track in Oklahoma when they were racing zebras. When deciding what to shoot, I ask myself, “Would I watch it?”
Brandon at Santa Anita Park in Pasadena, California; he’s planning future shooting around southern California
VeeR: What’s your typical workflow like?
Brandon: Editing is basically non-existent for me. I like to ask people familiar with the area I am in at the time what would be an amazing place to film a 360 video. I also look out for unique events such as food festivals. Some places I have to check if filming is allowed before hand. The roller coaster videos I took I had to ask for permission to hold my camera. Shooting is where most of my work lies. I have to think about lighting, noise, where I will be going and what I will say. I have found that videos look better if I am standing around many moving things or I am moving when a lot of the scenery is static.
VeeR: Of all the VR vlogs you’ve done, which has been the most memorable for you, and why?
Brandon: Great white shark cage diving in South Africa. The video is just full of everything. Behind me is a seasick passenger, another person behind me is shoveling blood and fish parts into the ocean, there are sharks and people in cages in front of me, and the whole time I am eating a sandwich. It was an amazing day. Unfortunately I could not take my camera underwater but I think the video I uploaded would have turned out better anyways.
VeeR: What has been your greatest challenge during production, and how did you overcome it?
Brandon: Lighting. And I still have not totally overcome this. When the images stitch together you can see where they stitch together as one lens has a lot more light going into it than the other. One trick I do, especially with the sun, is to aim where the lenses will meet directly into the light source. That way it equalizes the amount of light going into each lens.
VeeR: What 360 camera do you use?
Brandon: I use a Samsung phone and a Samsung Gear 360. I believe it is a great camera if you have a newer Samsung phone and not a lot of disposal income. The price is very affordable for what you get and it is relatively easy to create and upload videos, especially with the Veer App. For the budget conscious bloggers I highly recommend this setup.
Brandon’s gear 360 and Samsung Galaxy s8
VeeR: What visions do you have for your future VR career? Any subjects/topics you’d like to experiment with through VR?
Brandon: I hope that I can upload more of the videos that I actually take instead of just stashing them away to memory cards. I would like to do more food related videos. I am working right now to see how if restaurant or cooking videos will turn into a something that is interesting to watch. But I am excited to be doing some videos in beautiful California now and in the future.