Virtual Reality

I’ve been having issues with YouTube’s 360 video capabilities. When I upload a 360 video it defaults to “This video is 3D,” which it is not and then distorts. Not sure why that keeps happening. It’s requiring me to check on my YouTube upload repeatedly to ensure it’s not distorted. So, if these videos look weird, it’s because YouTube defaulted my videos back to 3D.

Here’s my virtual reality/360 video workflow. I’m not an expert at this (is anyone?) but I’ve managed to figure out a smooth process when shooting/editing 360 video. I’ll be updating this page as I go along and figure things out. These aren’t endorsements, mainly insight into how I’ve made it work.

6 GoPro Hero 4 Silver
• I didn’t see a major advantage of the Black over the Silver. The Black has more 4k shooting options, but I think 1440p is good enough. And, handling six 4k videos in the stitching software seemed like it would be a daunting and glacial task.

Camera Settings:
There’s a bunch of setting suggestions out there, like this one, and this one. I shoot 1440p at 48fps. Those are the most debated settings.

Freedom 360
It’s light and cameras are securely harnessed into the rig.

Camera set up:








The angle of your camera rig will help reduce parallax and stitching issues. If you’re shooting objects that are close to the camera, I’d tilt the camera so the GoPros are level and facing directly out towards the subjects. This creates vertical seams that are much easier to modify and smooth out.










Placing the camera at its default position seems to be good for recordings where objects are further away from you. I think the parallax/seam issues are more pronounced when objects are within 2 meters of the camera. So, he farther away the object is to the camera rig, the less likely you will have parallax issues.

GoPro Hero 4 Silver Wireless Audio Issue:
• If you are using the wireless capabilities on the GoPro, be aware that there is a glitch in the GoPro Silver (maybe Black too?) that creates a “helicopter” noise. It’s like a fluttering sound and varies from camera to camera. As long as you have some sounds in there, like clapping or talking, that are strong enough for all cameras to record, you should not have any issues in syncing. I’ve been using the GoPro Smart remote, which is synced up to all six of my cameras and is able to initiate recording on all cameras at the same time from one click of a button. They’re not always exact initiation times, but seem to all be within one second of each other. This has made shooting MUCH easier.

Stitching Software:
The only software that I’ve tried is Kolor Autopano Video Pro. It’s not perfect and I didn’t have the greatest experience when purchasing off of their website, but it gets the job done. This is not a recommendation of the software, just some insight on how it works.

Kolor Autopano Video Pro and Autopano Giga
• Price: This was the most affordable software and it also doesn’t require an Nvidia graphics card (Video Stitch does).

• Autopano Video Pro Purchasing Options: Purchasing both Autopano Video Pro and Autopano Giga are necessary, I think. Giga allows you to further modify your stitch, color correction and blend. It’s similar to what Adobe Audition, or Adobe Speedgrade is to Adobe Premiere. You can send your stitch to Giga, tweak it, and then send it back to Autopano Video Pro.

• Speed and Flow: I use a 2015 iMac and the software is pretty slow. The software design itself is a bit clunky and it reminds me of working on the early iMac computers in the 90s (the colorful ones). But, it gets the job done.

• Synchronization: Synchronizing the clips can take some time as it won’t always sync on the first try. You can sync using audio or movement and if I don’t find a match, I move the reference point on the timeline and try to re-synchronize. Eventually it finds it. Just make sure you clap a couple times when you are initially recording a scene so all of your cameras have an audio reading to synchronize to. After it synchronizes, just make sure you press “Apply” and then stitch.

• Stitching: Stitching is actually pretty fast. The biggest obstacle that I’ve faced when stitching is the parallax issue… visible seams where the camera edges meet and distort or cut off people and objects. The best way to fix this is the using the Masking tool in Autopano Giga. See tutorial.

• Autopano Video Pro Glitches: I’ve discovered that Autopano Video Pro projects are not transferrable across multiple computers. Meaning, if I create an AVP Project on Work Computer 1, then transfer all of the materials/files to an external drive and go to work on Work Computer 2, the AVP Project will not open on Work Computer 2… you are presented with an error that reads “Videos Not Found.” The only solution to this is to change all of the file paths in the Autopano Video Pro project file with TextEdit. Not good.

• Exporting is fairly straightforward.
• Out of Autopano Video Pro, I usually export Cineform MOV files to edit in After Effects or Premiere. Uncompressed files are MASSIVE.
• I then edit the file(s) in either Premiere or After Effects (depending on what I want to do). To add text, I used the Mettle Skybox software. I think this software might be a necessity.

Bit Rate:
I’ve found a couple of resources for bit rate and frame rate export settings. I’ve been exporting 1920×960, 10mbps at 23.976 fps. My original was shot at 47.952. Resolution was large.

Uploading to Web
YouTube Upload:
• You can easily load 360 videos into YouTube. But, you first have to inject some metadata. Use the 360 Video Metadata app, which can be found here. When you open up the file in the app, check the “Spherical” setting, then save as a new file. Make sure your Projection is “Equirectangular.”

Export Settings:
Video Stitch