Virtual Reality Project: The 360° Filming Process
10 GoPro cameras
- Video Stitch Studio V2 (http://www.video-stitch.com/)
- ffmpeg (https://www.ffmpeg.org/)
- Avidemux ( http://fixounet.free.fr/avidemux/ )
- Mp4 Joiner / Splitter ( http://www.mp4joiner.org/en/ )
- Blender (https://www.blender.org/)
- 360 Video Metadata app (https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6178631?hl=en)
- Gimp (http://www.gimp.org/)
- Check lenses are clear
- Clean dirty lenses with glasses cloth
- Batteries are charged
- Each camera should be fully charged
- Check remote battery charged
- Format memory cards
- Turn on wireless for each camera
- Sync the remote
- Ensure all remotes present on remote indicator
- Remove should display the number of attached cameras. The desired number for this rig is 10
- Ensure 360Hero rig arrangement
- Horizontal: Use for people moving past / when base detail is important
- Diagonal: Higher quality in a particular direction, worse results from movement
- Ensure correct camera positions
- Ensure lenses are directly pointed towards places of interest.
- Stitching lines should fall over areas of less important / movement
- Turn on all cameras with remote (Mode / Power button)
- Click record button on remote to record (Red Circle)
- Ensure all cameras are active on remote
- Hit record
- Use clicker as tool for audio sync
- Click again to stop (Red Circle)
- Ensure all cameras are active on remote
- Hit record / stop
- Cameras may be easily turned off and on with remote (Mode / Power button)
Each Take will be recorded as a separate file automatically numbered (this is why it is important to format the memory cards and ensure all cameras record simultaneously)
Films longer than 8’ 36 seconds will be split into separate files and will require joining via ffmpeg before they can be processed.
There is a hard upper limit of 15 minutes continuous filming as the GoPros will shut down due to overheating for longer periods of time.
- Save the videos to PC
- Mentally (or physically) number each camera
- Connect the camera to the pc via USB
- Create a folder for each cameras videos (camera number) and save to that location
- If required:
- Merge the automatically split 8+ minute videos using ffmpeg
- Open Video Stitch Studio
- Load each clip
- Choose the same take from each of the camera folders
- Sync the videos
- Choose form of sync (movement, sound, flash)
- If using premade profile, select calibrate from file
- Arrange videos into order
- Sync video
- If using automatic calibration
- Begin Stitch
- Preview Output
- Correct output may be exported
- Incorrect output may be stitched
The process of copying files from the GoPros to PC can take a long time.
Always work with the files uncompressed until it’s time for the final cut of the film.
The audio of the first GoPro will be used; all other audio will be discarded.
- Open MP4 Splitter
- Load video
- Select time stamp for each cut
- Click Save Split
- Select Folder for outputted videos
- Each split will reflect the input file name with a number denoting order
This sort of splitting is useful to remove start and end content, or to shorten the video into a specific length of time. The cuts do not recompress the video so there is no loss of quality.
The maximum length presented in the time line will reflect the audio or video length whichever is longer. While a preview is present, confirming cut points should be done with a media player such as VLC to ensure the correct output is obtained.
Simple joins / no transitions
- Open MP4 Joiner
- Load videos (either one at a time or as a group)
- Use up and down arrows to confirm order
- Select one video and hit save
- Choose output folder
This sort of join is useful for throwing together clips without specific transitions. Attaching a start of end slate to a video is easy to do with this method. As there is no recompression these additions will not harm the video quality.
Ensure the output is of similar mp4 format. It’s easy to accidentally link an image mp4 to a video mp4 which will not be playable on most devices (and appear poorly on those which do).
Simple audio replacement / muting
- Open Avidemux
- Select Video file
- Choose Audio from the top menu
- A list of audio streams will appear
- To remove audio:
- untick the video audio check box
- To replace audio:
- Select the video audio dropdown box
- Select audio file
- Hit Okay
- Click Save Video
The output should reflect the original input, and does not appear to reduce video quality, a processing phase does occur however.
It is possible to include multiple audio streams through this process, the wiki does not recommend it however (http://www.avidemux.org/admWiki/doku.php?id=using:dual_audio)
Technically Avidemux can do a lot more than audio work; a greater investigation may show it to be best for overall video work. For the moment; restricting it to audio processing is suggested.
- Load Blender and swap into video editing mode
- Add each video into the time line
- Fade ins / outs: http://blender.stackexchange.com/questions/2102/fade-to-black-effect-in-video-sequence-editor
- Render animation
A little more work is required in this section.
YouTube requires mp4 (codec may vary but output container must be mp4) to use with the 360 Video metadata app.
For 360 degree video 4k resolutions are preferred, lower resolutions will be smudged and blurry to view, creating an unpleasant experience.
Creating Stills / Slates
- Open image editor
- Create a new 4096 x 2048 resolution image
- Add logos / text to central horizontal axis
- Save image as jpg / png
- Open ffmpeg command line tool
- Navigate to image location
- Run command “ffmpeg -loop 1 -i img.png -c:v libx264 -t 30 -pix_fmt yuv420p out.mp4”
- Where img.png is image name
- 30 is the length of the output in seconds
- Out.mp4 is the output files name
Considering how harsh a flat white background is in VR, suggested black or other subdued colouring.
Features which are too close to the top or bottom of the image will become warped as the image is converted into a sphere, testing is suggested to ensure image appears correctly.
Correctly unwrapped logos may be applied to the top of bottom of the image to re-wrap on viewing. Experimentation is a must in this area.