After about a week of toil, I cobbled together a decent 360 “video” rendering. “Video” in quotes, because it’s 1 fps over the course of 50 seconds ¬_¬

Here, I just wanted to show my progression after each discovery, since I think the journey is as valuable as the end product.  (That is a lie, I abhor “the journey” and always just want to get to the end goal.)

If you’re viewing this from a mobile device, you must view these videos in the YouTube app for it to play properly.  Viewing embedded 360videos from a mobile device does not work — this is cutting edge technology so don’t expect things to work flawlessly.

  1. This is what happens when you upload a normal video to YouTube’s #360video:
    For mobile, view in the YouTube app.
    Don’t let needing to inject a Python script into your video deter you.  It’s super easy to do.  About as easy as setting up a WordPress blog.  This is me just spinning around… in 360°.  Pretty terrible.
  2. I figured I needed to shoot this from closer to the ground.For mobile, view in the YouTube app.
    Just don’t look behind you.  Or up.  Or down.
  3. Alright.  Doing a video/motion-picture was too advanced for me at that stage.  Learned that equirectangular photos produce this:For mobile, view in the YouTube app.
    I tried to use Photoshop to stitch a panorama together.  I learned a word I don’t know how to pronounce: nadir.  For some reason, I always try to say words backwards if the word looks funny to me.  Ridan.
  4. Discovered a tool that is especially good for stitching panoramas, including equirectangular photos.
    For mobile, view in the YouTube app.
    If you can’t guess by the video, the tool is called PTGui.  (“P T gooey”)
  5. Decided to stitch better quality photos together.
    For mobile, view in the YouTube app.
    Not bad!  The point right above and right below the pov needs to be fixed.  Apparently, this is not an easy task and can be the bane of many a 360videos.
  6. Retouched the zenith and nadir.
    For mobile, view in the YouTube app.
    There’s a vertical seam that’s visible when you view this using Google Cardboard, which is from the first/last column of pixels in the picture.  I knew it would drive me crazy so I had to fix it.  Couldn’t just cut it out to make a crisp edge, they had to match up together seamlessly when the picture was rolled up so I realized I had to save in a lossless file format (in this case, I went with .tif).
  7. All done!
    For mobile, view in the YouTube app.
    Yeah, so after this video, I decided to go ahead and buy PTGui.  My first purchase towards investing in VR!
  8. After 5 days, I finally had something I felt was worth making public:
    For mobile, view in the YouTube app.
    Added some music to fit the mood — contemplating a pensive discovery.
  9. On the 8th day, I wanted to figure out how to do something like this in ffmpeg:
    For mobile, view in the YouTube app.
    After days of searching (I even tried Bing), I gave up and ended up manually cutting a column of pixels from the left, moving the image over 1px, and pasting it to the right, to create that scrolling effect.  Automated a batch process in Photoshop but there must be an automated way to make the frame have a slow slideshow effect?!  The closest answer I could find was on stackoverflow, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.

I think one of the most difficult things for me during this process was not knowing the right terminology to use in order to find the answer I needed, since I don’t have a film background and Google’s search results were related to my words but not the actual results I wanted.  And I hate whatever Google’s algorithm is to find words that are like the words I’m using to search.  I always have to use the “verbatim” option or put a bunch of words in quotes.  Sorry Google, you’re just not that smart enough to guess what I’m trying to search for so please just take my word for it.  I think I even tried Yahoo search at one point.

I did dig up a lot of useful results, and I’ll elaborate on some of the more interesting points later, since I took notes during this “discovery” phase.  I knew I would hate every moment of it, so I wanted to remember #thestruggle so I could see how much I actually learned and grew.

Kudos to those who recognized that the featured image is in reference to Lawnmower Man.  A movie I saw when I was a kid, that I remember whenever I think of virtual reality.  Screenshot is from the trailer: