360VR Stabilization

Modern audiences are used to the dynamic camerawork of their favorite movies and TV shows. For viewers who are expecting a high-end futuristic virtual reality experience, a 360° video camera stuck on a tripod is disappointing and just plain boring.

Many of the 360VR producers that we've talked to have concluded that 360 VR cameras can't move, or the viewers will be “blowing chunks,” as one colorfully put it, ie vomiting. Not so!

You can shoot 360VR with moving cameras—you just need SynthEyes!

SynthEyes's “ stabilization” is quite different than conventional non-360VR stabilization. Because a 360VR camera sees in all directions already, there's no cropping when stabilizing, and therefore no zoom and no resolution loss. Even more, with typical workflows SynthEyes doesn't even generate or resample images at all: rather than producing images, it outputs the information required to stabilize the shot to downstream applications such as After Effects, where the stabilization can be integrated with the same workflow that you use for color grading and adding effects such as titles.

SynthEyes's 360VR stabilization is another whole level past conventional stabilization. Typical conventional stabilization uses low-pass filtering that mostly attenuates the bumps, but they're still there, along with drift.

SynthEyes firmly locks the relationship between the virtual world and the viewer's real world environment. So “North” in the virtual environment will always correspond to the same real direction in the viewer's room. Similarly, a virtual sun will always be in the same direction. That's true through the length of the shot, not just for a few seconds, enhancing the feeling that the viewer is in another world.

SynthEyes's native omnidirectional 360VR solver is able to use information from all 360° around each image simultaneously, not just information from one limited portion of the frame used by other approaches. Each of a 360VR camera rig's different cameras is affected differently by rolling shutter—SynthEyes averages over the entire image to produce the most solid result. And there's no worry if the trackable portions of the shot move around over the course of the shot.

SynthEyes produces a stable environment that encourages the viewer to look around actively, rather than being passive. That's different than in conventional filmmaking, but different in a good way for the 360VR medium.

Because SynthEyes is a powerful traditional match-moving tool, not only does it give you an amazingly stable world, it gives you the full 3-D camera path and tracking data to render and composite new 3-D objects into the scene, whether that's a set extension, hiding some of your production gear, or adding rampaging beasts or vehicles.

Please check out our 19-minute continuous-take sample footage in a head-mounted display (Google Cardboard, if nothing else) to get a true sense of the SynthEyes experience. We think you'll find your creative possibilities will expand dramatically once you do.

Black Rock Sanctuary - Stabilized

This is a 360VR tour of the interpretive trail at Black Rock Sanctuary, Chester County, PA. SynthEyes was used to stabilize the original Ricoh Theta S footage (https://youtu.be/dtaTAJcGCXI) using the method described in https://youtu.be/lViQjXzqcW8 The virtual-world/real-world lock is fixed throughout the shot, which is the hallmark of advanced SynthEyes stabilization. As a result, the shot is very watchable. See 2:50, 5:55, 8:40, 10:45 also 13:55, 15:45, 17:25 for trickier spots. Of course, to be a good tour we really need a higher-resolution camera! Remaining artifacts in the footage: up and down motion due to walking and remaining unfixed tracking issues, but most significantly due to rolling shutter (jello) in the two CMOS camera sensors. That manifests itself in spots where a portion of the shot moves, while the rest remains stationary. So make that a higher-resolution global shutter camera!

2017-05-18. 18:44 long.

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Black Rock Sanctuary Tour - As Shot (unstable)

This is a 360VR tour of the interpretive trail at Black Rock Sanctuary, Chester County, PA, as shot on a Ricoh Theta S camera (~2K with only accelerometer-based in-camera stabilization). See: 2:50, 5:55, 8:40, 10:45 also 13:55, 15:45, 17:25. This is the raw footage for our Solving Long Shots tutorial (https://youtu.be/lViQjXzqcW8). The resulting stabilized, and much more watchable, version of this video can be found at https://youtu.be/MH6ZsWR8Zzc You can open both in separate tabs, and compare the two.

2017-05-18. 18:44 long.

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Introduction to 360VR Stabilization in SynthEyes

Stabilization is essential for safely viewing 360VR footage from moving cameras. This introductory tutorial shows the stabilization of a 360VR sequence from an ultra-light aircraft (courtesy 360Rize), and the export of that stabilization to After Effects. This demo was presented at the 2017 NAB Show.

2017-04-28. 10:48 long.

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360° Virtual Reality Tutorials

You can track 360° virtual reality shots in spherical (equirectangular) format using SynthEyes; these tutorials tell you how.

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Solving Long Shots in Pieces

Shows how to solve long shots---regular or 360VR---by processing them as individual pieces, then combining the results. The tutorial shows an almost 19 minute (33,659 frame) 360VR shot being tracked, solved, and stabilized. Input footage is at https://youtu.be/dtaTAJcGCXI and the result at https://youtu.be/MH6ZsWR8Zzc

2017-05-18. 21:00 long.

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SynthEyes easily is the best camera match mover and object tracker out there.

Matthew Merkovich

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