How To Make Your Own “Tiny Planet” Video

Did you watch the music video for Kendrick Lamar’s recent single “HUMBLE.”? If so, it’s likely that a particular effect stood out to you: the shots of Kendrick riding a bicycle on a small “planet”. Many were impressed by this cool effect. If you’ve ever been interested in making a similar video yourself, today is your lucky day. In this blog post, I’m going to walk you through step-by-step on how to create your own “tiny planet” video. All you need is a 360 camera and Adobe After Effects. Don’t worry. It’s deceptively simple to create.

First things first: grab your 360 camera. For my particular video, I used a Nikon KeyMission 360, but any 360 camera should work. If you want to record your “tiny planet” video from a bicycle like Kendrick Lamar, you’re going to want some sort of mount to attach it to the bike. I, unfortunately, did not have a mount like this when recording my video, so I had to hold the camera on its handheld mount in one hand and bike with the other hand. This is a little unsafe for both you and the camera, so I’d highly recommend some type of mount that can be attached to the bike if possible. Once you’ve got your equipment set up, simply press record and you’re ready to go. The real magic of this type of video takes place in the editing process.

1. Once you’ve got your video recorded, export it to your computer and drop it into After Effects. That’s right. After Effects. I know upon hearing this many of you might doubt your ability to make one of these videos, but I promise it’s pretty simple. Once you boot up the software, drop your video into it. Your screen should now look like this:       

2. Next, drag your footage over to create your composition.

3. In your toolbar, click “Layer,” “Transform,” then “Flip Vertical.”

4. Go to “Composition,” “Composition Settings,” and increase the height of your video. The KeyMission shoots in 4K so my original resolution was 3840×2860. I upped mine to 4000. If your video is a different resolution, as long as the new height you enter is about 1200 px taller, you should be good to go. Important: Make sure the box that reads “Lock Aspect Ratio to…” is unchecked.

5. Use your selection tool (V) to drag your video up to the top of the composition like this. 

6. Click “Composition,” “New Composition,” and change the preset to “HDTV 1080 29.97.” Press “OK.”

7. Drag your first composition (your video) onto this new composition. Align it in the middle.

8.  Go to “Effect,” “”Distort,” “Polar Coordinates.”

9.  Change the “Type of Conversion” from “Polar to Rect” to “Rect to Polar” and change the interpolation to 100%.

10 Go to “Effects,” “Distort,” “Optics Compensation.”

11. Check the box next to “Reverse Lens Distort.” Adjust the Field of View (FOV) to fill the frame to your liking. You may need to adjust the size and placement of the video here as well.

12.  You’ve now got your “Tiny Planet” video! Go to “File,” “Export,” “Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue…” This will open up the Adobe Media Encoder application. You can double-click the blue text under “Output File” to name your video and choose where you want it to export. When you are ready, click the play button green play button to export your video. This could take a while.

13. Congratulations! You’ve now completed your own “Tiny Planet” video! At this point, you can be done with the video, or bring it into Premiere Pro to do any additional edits, such as adding music.