VR Video FAQ
Q. Which camera do you recommend?
If you are an editor or film maker that wants to explore VR video and need good enough footage to learn from and for low-end projects: The Kodak SP360 4K Dual Pro Pack. It is a pair of very compact fisheye lens cameras (with 235° field of view) that comes with a rig that positions them correctly to capture 360° video with overlap to allow for stitching.
Q. Which application do you use for stitching?
Most eventually uses Kolor Autopano Video (in conjunction with Kolor Autopano Giga)- on a PC. Although it runs on the Mac, all professional stitchers (that is now a whole new job) run it on PCs configured with as many 2016 GPU cards as they can afford. I've stitched footage from different kinds of camera rig on the Mac, but the rendering speed is very slow: 2-6 fps on a 2013 MacBook Pro.
While learning, if you use the Kodak SP360 4K Dual Pro Pack (or the more affordable Ricoh Theta S), you'll only be dealing with a very simple stitching boundary - between the front camera and the back camera. In this case you can use the stitching done using the supplied app (Kodak) or in the cloud (Ricoh).
I expect that as a tradeoff between quick production and sharing on social media, most viewers will learn to tune out the thin stitching line from these low end rigs and become immersed in the content of VR videos.
Q. Is Dashwood 360VR Toolbox the best solution for Final Cut Pro X?
Yes. Nearly all the features most VR video makers will need initially are available in Dashwood 360VR Express. It has all the current features of the full Dashwood 360VR Toolbox that small and medium VR video producers need. The toolbox is used by high-end VR video producers to make 3D VR video - when you make videos that send different images to the left and right eye to get a feeling of depth inside the sphere of video.
As Dashwood tools are available through the FxFactory Pro Apps app store system, you can download trial versions of both Dashwood products that have all the features of the paid version but with a watermark until you decide to buy.
Q. How do I get YouTube to recognise that my video is a VR video? How do I tell YouTube that my audio is directional?
You need to add some special metadata using their free ‘Spatial Media Metadata Injector’ application.
Q. Which playback solution supports changes in audio playback following the direction you're looking?
No free desktop players yet, but the iOS and Android YouTube app recently added ‘3D audio’ (binaural) playback. That means you can share unlisted YouTube videos with clients for playback on their phone.
Q. Why isn't this FAQ called ‘360° Video FAQ?’
Although the vast majority of VR video today is about capturing, modifying and experiencing a full sphere of video, it is likely that there will be many uses of fractions of video spheres.
For now most people experiencing VR video initially look all around the sphere: up, down, behind. After that inital exploration, the spend the vast majority of their time hardly ever looking behind.
Single fisheye lens cameras can now capture as much as 235° of the video sphere. This means the whole stitching process can be avoided. You don't have to leave uncaptured 125° (or 180°) rest of the video sphere dark. You can use post prouction tools to composite stills or motion graphics that add to the experience: “to get more information, look behind you/down/up.”