The Ricoh Theta is a 360 degree camera, it can be used as the most amazing fisheye lens for still images ever, it can also easily be used to make 360 degree/’VR’ films. Since Youtube now natively supports these interactive films getting them to the public is easier than ever.
When viewing this videos through the youtube app on a mobile device with a gyroscope you can use said device to physically pan around the video. If you’re on android the app actually supports google cardboard for an instant VR experience, they have not added this functionality in the iOS app. If on your computer use the WASD keys, or arrow keys to look around.
If you want to experience 360 youtube videos with iOS and a cardboard you can use the non google app in360tube on your iphone. The app is a bit buggy and seems to be lower quality than the youtube app, but it works.
To create the above video I did not need to use any external 3D software to make this, I have laid out the straightforward process below:
1. Transfer video to computer
Transfer the video directly from Ricoh Theta device – Do not use iPhoto/Photos if on OSX – it will change the video format.
This is what the initial output from the video looks like, as you can see it is cut in half, so now we must stitch it together. To fix this run the video through Ricoh’s Theta application. This will stitch it together. After this you can use it in a variety of ways including as a 360 mesh in 3D programs.
3. Embed Metadata
Now we must make sure Youtube recognizes and processes our file as an interactive 360 video. To do this we must use an application or python script to embed meta data that can later be read by youtube. Doing this is easy, just follow the instructions from google..
4. Upload your new video to Youtube, no more special treatment needed.
** After upload the video will initially appear stitched together, but do not worry. Youtube automatically detects the metadata you embedded earlier in the video then converts it into an interactive 360 video for you, they claim the process can take up to an hour but it took my three minute video about five minutes. Enjoy!