Philip Bloom explains how he used SkyBox Studio to create a successful 360 VR video.

Tools used

Author Notes

You can read Philip's full blog post here where he explains the entire production process, but here's the relevant part about the post production including SkyBox Studio.

Post Production

As I mentioned, the Samsung software is not great. There are some excellent (and pricey) stitching options out there, mainly designed for multiple GoPro type rigs. So initially, I just used the in-phone stitching from the S7 and took that file, did a little bit of colour correction in premiere, and uploaded it to YouTube to see what it looked like.

Oh, if you are wanting to upload 360 video to Youtube and Facebook you need to make sure the metadata tells those sites that it is 360. It should be intact if coming straight from the phone, but if you are using other software then you need to inject it with the correct metadata. It is super easy to do and is described here. 

I also needed to add a logo of The Golden Co. This led me to Mettle's SkyBox Studio. A plug-in for After Effects. To add anything 2D onto a 360 image means it needs to react the same way when you move around. One of the many things this software does is add any 2D source. Be in text, graphics or even inserting a 2D video.

I followed this tutorial: How to Add Text, Logo, and 2D video onto 360° Footage and got my head around it all. I am not very skilled with After Effects, but the tutorials helped a lot. It was while doing this that I handily got an email from them (you can sign up below!) telling me about a free template for stitching Samsung Gear 360 or Kodak 360 twin camera video!

So I took the original file 4K H.265 that I had already offloaded from the Gear 360’s micro SD card and followed the above tutorial to stitch it together. The difference was substantial. Not only was my stitch way better, but the overall quality of the video was massively improved. Suddenly, things had more detail and overall a lot less blocky.

You can see below the stitch from in-camera and the one through After Effects and SkyBox Studio below.

 

Stitch in SkyBox Studio

Stitch from in-camera

 

Overall, the video turned out better than I thought it would. I didn’t expect to get much from such a tight space, but all my messing around and experimentation over the past 18 months paid off. Placement is essential to a successful 360 image and 360 video. Lighting is even more important (if that is possible!?) than with the usual 2D video, in that you have a lot more to light, and it needs to be invisible, much like the camera operator. Here, not being seen was easy. Other times, you will need to hide behind a tree or put on a baseball cap, sunglasses and look the other way! If you thought drone pilot spotting was fun, 360 video operator spotting is even more fun.

I look forward to doing more 360 video and really trying out interesting and new things that get my creative juices flowing. It will never stop me filming traditionally in 2D, but it is a lot of fun! Hopefully this post was useful to you. Happy 360 shooting!

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