Exploring 360° video with Final Cut Pro X

Monday, 08 June 2015

I saw an interesting music video today from Bjork - another 360° ‘VR’ video, which prompted me to find out how to create 360° motion graphics using Final Cut Pro X.

If you view this video with the Chrome browser on YouTube, you can drag within the video to look around - left and right, up and down:

Use the cog settings control to increase the resolution to 2160p-4K.

I made this video by scaling a still equirectangular panorama down to 4320x2160 and importing it into a new 25p Final Cut Pro X project.

I then overlaid text on top, animating some of it.

Here is the 'flat' video - scaled down to HD from 4K:

Where I wanted text to appear 'behind' the initial position - where the left and right edges of the panorama meet, I created two copies of the same title, so it wouldn't be cut off by the edge.

I exported the video as an H.264 encoded mp4 scaled to 3840x2160 with a data rate of 30 Mbps (more on YouTube's video upload specs).

For YouTube to recognise that this 4K video was designed for 360° video, I opened the Final Cut output file with Google's 360 Video Metadata application. The simple UI has a single button:

Screenshot of Google's 360 Video Metadata application UI

I clicked 'Inject and save' and saved a new file which I uploaded to YouTube.

Looks like I made my graphics too large, but if you avoid moving too far up or down on your background, overlaid graphics should work OK.