The Problem with 360 Videos.

A few people have asked me about the quality on the 360 videos so I though I’d give you all some information to understand what is happening with them.

There are a couple of things with the 360 videos, I’ve recently invested in a new 360 camera and bought new software to help improve the quality of the videos but yes, the platforms the videos are hosted on still need to improve their compression algorithms to maintain the higher quality. Most platforms are limited to 4K and I understand why as the bandwidth and storage cost jump up significantly once you get above that 4K and the market for people who will notice a difference above 4K is just not worth the extra investment.

This has a big impact on 360 videos, I film my 360 videos in 6K, but those 6,000 (ish) pixels are spread around the 360 degrees. so, if you view the image as standard 16:9 at 120° then you only have 2,000 pixels.

But as I said these platforms are limited to 4K so if I export at 6K they compress the file to make it 4K and the 2,000 pixels you would have had are now around 1,300 and the compression isn’t always great. I can create an 8K video file from the footage and that would give you a much better image but as I said these platforms are limited to 4K, I did try uploading for 6K files but Vimeo just compressed them down to 4K,

The other thing I am using the 360 camera for is changing the direction in which it is pointed after the walk. this means a few things.
First – If I missed some detail to the sides while walking I can get those back during the edit and give you all alternative viewing angles than you get from my standard front-facing camera.

Second – I can work with the full 6K file and crop the viewing angle to the standard 16:9 during the edit, this will give a better quality file to edit with, I can then use enhancement software to gain a few more pixels and then output a 4K 16:9 video that will be a much nicer viewing experience than the live 360 video because you’ll have a 4K image in a fixed 120° 16:9 and not be limited to 4k shared over 360°. You do lose the ability as a viewer to change the camera angle on the fly as you view but like most things in life, there’s a trade-off.

I am always on the lookout for other hosting options that can offer better image quality and if you know of any let me know.

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