Roam Underwater and Look All Around

11 Jul , 2017 Behind The Scene Gab Liu

Roam Underwater and Look All Around

Makoto Hirose was born in Tokyo, Japan. He grew up in Tokyo, Germany, Oita, Chiba and is currently living in Tokyo. He started his career as an underwater photographer but is now dedicated in shooting 360/VR works both above water and underwater.


Diving with Turtle (Photo by Makoto Hirose)


In 2013, Makoto met a master of 360 filmmaking at the dawn of 360 VR Video, who inspired Makoto to start making 360 videos himself. Historically, panoramic pictures came out first, and the current 360 VR video utilized this technology for moving pictures. Makoto started diving when he was a university student about 30 years ago. As someone who loves to dive, he took the cameras with him underwater and realized that underwater is the best environment for 360 VR videos. “It is fun to see up and down in every direction in the water!”


Diving with Turtle (Photo by Makoto Hirose)


Makoto’s underwater videos are breathtaking. Speaking of the time when he dived with a green sea turtle in Okinawa, a great place for diving and snorkeling, Makoto told us that the turtle was very friendly. “I first met her (the turtle) before noon during my first dive. She was sleeping at a side of corals. Of course we cannot touch her to move or to film.” Later when they went diving again at the same place, the turtle was still there and just started swimming to breathe! Makoto was really cheered up by this unexpected re-meet.



He has uploaded a 5-minute non-edit clip of the turtle moving around. Viewers will be able to see a sequence of moves of the turtle swimming away from the coral and up to the water surface, breathing and swimming back down, and then sitting down on the bottom white sand. “The scene is really valuable as a wildlife footage”, said Makoto.



The turtle was shot with six GoPro HERO3 Black putting together and now he switched to a set of six GoPro HERO4 BLACK with GoPro housing and modified lenses. Makoto does many kinds of 360/VR filming ranging from shooting in the car, for live stage, with a drone, shooting for music and so on. Among all these tasks, shooting underwater is the most difficult thing. There is no wifi remote, and filmmakers cannot change battery, preview, or monitor etc. “In water, the refractive index of the light differs from that in the air, which makes the object look big. Therefore, it is no use just bringing land camera and set it underwater. We need some ingenuity to return the angle of view.”


Filming at the Top of the Rock (Photo by Makoto Hirose)


Besides filming, stitching is the most interesting yet most annoying step in 360 productions. You have to check it again and again. The storage for VR footage is annoying as well. “I bought a hard disk drive with over 100TB storage room this year!!” For VR beginners, Makoto suggested that you should pay attention to every direction. Keep asking yourself questions such as “Is that scene worth filming?”, “Is that really beautiful?”, “Does it need to be shown in all directions?”… And keep your horizon straight!


Filming at Times Square (Photo by Makoto Hirose) 


Ever since he started uploading 360 videos in 2013, business inquiries come to Makoto waves after waves. He is now looking forwarding to meeting someone on VeeR who wants to make the best 360 VR with him. If you are interested in this cooperation, don’t forget to shoot him a message on VeeR! You can find his channel here.


Makoto Stitching Footage at a Forest (Photo by Makoto Hirose)

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