One of the coolest techniques you can pull off with an Insta360 camera is also one of the simplest: You can make your selfie stick instantly disappear.
Your first reaction might be: So what, didn’t Disney already make all the selfie sticks disappear?
Fair point, but hear us out. Having your own Invisible Selfie Stick unlocks some pretty insane creative potential.
When you get rid of the stick, your camera’s perspective is exactly the same as if it were floating in mid-air.
Have you ever wanted to capture the close third-person perspective that you see in video games like Grand Theft Auto, Zelda or Tony Hawk?
The Invisible Selfie Stick lets you do that.
How about getting drone footage in places where it’s inconvenient or illegal to fly — or just because you want to go easy on your wallet while still getting some sweet aerials?
Invisible Selfie Stick has you covered.
Shooting a vlog but don’t have a cameraman to help you out? The Invisible Selfie Stick gives you a hand-held, on-demand camera guy.
And of course, if you’re looking to capture an unobstructed aerial perspective that gives viewers the full context of a scene, the Invisible Selfie Stick does it like no other tool.
How the Invisible Selfie Stick Works
The Invisible Selfie Stick leverages one of the unique aspects of a 360 camera: When you shoot 360, you have to stitch together multiple photos or videos captured by separate lenses that cover different parts of your scene.
To accomplish this, 360 cameras like Insta360 ONE R and Insta360 ONE X2 use two 200-degree lenses. Math majors will have already realized that 200 + 200 does not equal 360.
As usual, the math majors are right. The camera captures more than a full 360 degrees. There’s some redundancy built-in — the content that’s right at the border between the two lenses gets captured by both sides.
That overlap between lenses is the key to the magic of the Invisible Selfie Stick. It gives Insta360’s stitching software the freedom to decide exactly where to stitch those two images together.
So where did we decide to place the line in our stitching algorithm? Well, we decided to cheat the stitch ever so slightly so that we could neatly edit the selfie stick straight out of existence. We have absolutely no regrets.
How to Use the Invisible Selfie Stick
The Invisible Selfie Stick is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is … nothing. Seriously. You attach the stick, shoot photos or videos, and it’s gone.
The only thing you need to do after shooting is to import your content into either the Insta360 app or our desktop software, Insta360 Studio. Both of these softwares will automatically stitch your photos and videos, and once your shots are stitched, the selfie stick is gone. Just like that.
Still, there are a few simple tips we recommend for making sure you get the most of out of your Invisible Selfie Stick:
Tips for Nailing Your Invisible Selfie Stick Shot
1. Get the Mounting Right
This tip mainly applies to Insta360 ONE R, which supports both 360 and standard wide-angle shooting modes and allows you to swivel the camera’s mounting angle on the Invisible Selfie Stick.
When you mount ONE R on the Invisible Selfie Stick, make sure you keep the two lenses of the Dual-Lens 360 Mod parallel with the stick — right down the middle.
That’s it. Now you’re good to go.
2. Speak Softly and Carry a Big Invisible Stick
When you’re shooting with the Invisible Selfie Stick, you don’t have to worry about pointing your camera — it captures every direction at once.
But there is one thing you’ll want to give some thought to before you shoot: the length you extend the stick.
The Invisible Selfie Stick uses a telescoping adjustment mechanism, so you can customize the length however you like. And this can have a big effect on your final shot.
For a vlog-like shot where you’re the main subject, we recommend a distance of about 50-70 centimeters.
If you’re doing a behind-the-back, video-game-style third-person shot, you should extend the stick to its maximum length.
And of course, if you really want to take your camera aerial, you’re going to need more firepower.
That’s where the Extended Edition Selfie Stick comes in. The Extended Edition Selfie Stick is a marvel of modern technology. Our engineers forged it in an advanced selfie stick smithy after years of dissatisfaction with what can only be described as much shorter selfie sticks.
So what is it? Technically speaking, it’s a giant-ass selfie stick. (3 meters to be precise.)
It opens up some incredible possibilities and lets you convincingly mimic a drone. Try it next time you’re capturing a crowd or filming a low-budget car commercial.
Shout out to @karenxcheng for being the undisputed master of the Extended Edition Selfie Stick.
3. Position Like a Pro
Along with the length of the stick, the other key factor that’s going to influence your shot composition is where you position the camera.
Again, the direction you point the lenses doesn’t matter at all, but placement makes all the difference.
A common tip when shooting with a 360 camera on a selfie stick is to think of it more like a boom mic than a camera. Rather than the angle of capture, what you want to control is the camera’s proximity to the action.
Due to the way that fisheye lenses can exaggerate distance, it’s best to err on the side of putting the camera closer to your subject than you might with a standard camera. (Of course, the Insta360 app also lets you get rid of the fisheye with a tap and revert to a natural, undistorted perspective.) That is, unless you’re going for distance, like Hannah is here:
Bonus Tip: Explore Shot Lab
In the “Shot Lab” section of the Insta360 app, you’ll find a variety of unique effects that take full advantage of the Invisible Selfie Stick.
The best part: You don’t even have to invest any time in the edit. Shot Lab uses a smart AI-powered editing algorithm to analyze your shots and automatically combine them into a stylish edit.
All you need to do is follow the step-by-step guide to capturing the right content.
Here are a few Shot Lab effects that take advantage of the Invisible Selfie Stick:
All you need to do for this effect is to swing your Invisible Selfie Stick across a 180-degree arc. The app does the rest.
This is an updated take on Hitchcock’s classic effect, made famous in “Vertigo”. No equipment needed except your Insta360 camera and the Invisible Selfie Stick.
Shot Lab is continuously updated with new techniques. Download the app here to start exploring. And when you’re ready to get started creating on your own, just pick up a camera like ONE R or ONE X2 and the stick.