Testing: Part I

Samsung-Gear-360
Samsung Gear 360

This week I am testing the Samsung Gear 360 camera. I will be looking at how to use the camera, recording sound with the internal microphone and an external microphone (Zoom H2n) and how to edit the videos. Several videos will be uploaded to this blog that are shot with this camera. The goal of these tests is to familiarize myself with creating 360-degree videos.

The Samsung Gear 360

Since about a year, 360-degree cameras are more accessible to the consumer, the Samsung Gear 360 is one of those cameras. This small device, not bigger than a tangerine, will cost you between €200 and €250, depending on where you get it. The camera uses two lenses that both record 180-degree in Ultra HD-resolution (4k). With the use of bluetooth you can connect to your phone, which is simultaneously a point that I dislike about this camera, it only connects to Samsung phones. Apart from that, it is really easy to use. You turn it on, put it in video or photo mode and you can record immediately by pressing the record button on the camera or with your phone. When connected to your phone you are able to watch a live preview of what the camera is recording. When done recording you can playback the videos on your phone via bluetooth and they can later be saved on the phone itself. For a more comprehensive description you can read this post.

Process

I recorded a bit while I was making dinner so that I had some footage that I could later turn into a 360-degree video. I looked up some tutorials online that explained the process and workflow of creating a 360-degree video. They all basically said the same thing, but I stuck with this tutorial. There are more steps than I initially thought, so here is a brief summary.

After the footage is recorded with it needs to be stitched together. For this you need a program called ‘Gear 360 Action Director’. When you import the desired footage into the program it creates a stitched file. You can edit your video in this program or use the stitched file in another video editing software (in my case Premiere Pro CC). After you are done editing the video, export it using the right settings (that I took from the previously mentioned tutorial). If you wish to upload it to YouTube for example, you need another software to include a certain metedata to enable the 360-degree playback. That software is called ‘Spatial Media Metadata Injector’. It will create another file with that needed metadata, this will also be the file that you will upload to YouTube.

First official 360-degree video test

So after having watched the tutorials and done all the steps, I created my first test 360-degree test video. It is a very simple video of me cooking dinner for me and my roommate. The purpose for this particular video was to see how the process of filming and editting goes for a 360-degree video. The subject and story of the video was not important right now.

I did notice that I put the camera in the wrong settings, since it cuts after every one minute and it is not in 4K, also the camera position is pretty low. I did put a song under it in the middle of the video to make it more bearable to watch. The reason why it is 4 minutes long is for me to see how long it takes to render a video of that length. In my case that was around 50 minutes. The opening title is way to big, so it is good to upload it somewhere where you can view the video in 360-degree. This way you can see what works and what does not.

After this test I think that the Samsung Gear 360 is a really nice camera to use. It takes good quality video, it is extremly easy to use and the size makes it very easy to carry around. The editing and exporting is something I need to get more familiar with, but that will be accomplished over time.

Overall I consider this test to be succesful in the sense that I learned a lot from it. I see where improvement is needed.  For the following tests I will look at more editing techniques, using an external microphone and of course creating a more interesting story.

 

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