How to get the Cinematic Look on an Action Camera (Insta360)

Learn how to achieve the Cinematic Look on an Action Camera like the Insta360 OneR. Manual settings, composition and color grading an action cam.

Cinematic Action Camera Video

Is it possible to get a cinematic video with just an action camera? Of course it is. In theory you can get a cinematic result with every camera, even with a phone. It all depends on how you use it and how you edit it.

Cinematography

A first step to getting cinematic shots is framing your shots the right way. Just like in normal cinematography we look for objects or locations that can create leading lines in our shot. We also want to use the rule of thirds or golden ratio to frame our subject.

Dynamism in shots is also a good way to make something more cinematic. But when create a dynamic feeling you have to think about your settings. What frame rate do you want to shoot in? Do you want a smooth shot or do you want slow motion? Slow motion shots are great but keep in mind that they will always sacrifice the quality or your shots.

And the technical settings of course, do you want motion blur or not? Because you’ll have to adjust the shutter speed then. And this means setting your camera to manual! So when you want to create cinematic shots, always shoot manual.

Leading Lines
Leading Lines Composition

Manual Camera Settings

Like mentioned above you will want to shoot with manual camera settings. Nowadays almost all cameras, action cameras and phones can do this. So if your camera allows this, set the shutter speed, ISO, white balance and aperture to manual. This way you create more depth in your shots, less or more motion blur and consistent lighting / colors.

Get Creative Shots

So we already know that we want to get dynamic shots, this means that either the camera or subject can move. Try to get creative shots by using foreground objects for example. Don’t make them to prominent though. You can use these to get more depth, to reveal something / someone or to make a transition.

Using objects, like the invisible selfie stick from Insta360, also helps a lot when making shots. You can use it as a kind of tripod or gimbal. Or you can attach it to something or use it for big moves.

Creative Shots
Rotating the camera for creative shots

Post Production

If your camera allows it, try to shoot log. This flat color profile makes it easier in post to color grade because it has more dynamic range and the possibilities when grading will be bigger. Most action cameras tend to overexpose quickly so make sure to pay attention to this while shooting.

In post we can decrease the highlights to preserve some detail in there. We’ll also bring back some saturation and vibrance so it will looks less flat and dull. And this will immediately be our basic color grade for action camera footage. To get a bit of a cinematic look we can of course apply a basic teal and orange color grade.

Insta360 One-R Series

We shot our video with the One-R from Insta360. They are currently doing a Prime Sale with up to 40% off! A benefit of the One-R series is the fact that you can change to a different module. There’s the 360° module, which shoots in 5.7K quality. A 4K wide-angle, a 5.3K wide-angle and a 1inch sensor edition which has a Leica lens. Another benefit is the flowstate stabilization which actually really well and will stabilize your shots while walking around or moving.

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