Shooting 360 video is an entirely different beast than fixed frame video. There’s no framing and no hiding, and there’s very little you can do to light the scene. Editing 360 video is no different; the workflow is time consuming, limited, and complicated.
Thankfully, a variety of software is emerging to give existing videographers a bit of familiarity in a totally unfamiliar (and spherical) work flow, including a new addition to Skybox’s suite of tools, an update for Autopano Video, a new tool from RE:Vision Effects, and the launch of Mocha VR, a 360 visual effects and post-production plug-in made by Boris FX, and the first third-party 360 video tool for Avid–and that’s just in the last two weeks!
“Emerging 360°/VR content creators want to produce Hollywood style visuals and use high-end finishing techniques to make their 360° videos more impactful,” says Boris FX Chief Marketing Officer Ross Shain. “However, the equirectangular format brings technical challenges to the artists tasked with delivering high quality deliverables.”
Despite the challenges, 360 editing tools will continue to look more similar to traditional editing workflows, editors will have far more options and control, and plug-ins will become available for more host applications. If the past few weeks are any indication, it’s just a matter of time…
On February 9, Boris FX launched Mocha VR, a visual effects and post-production tool for 360/VR video. The plug-in is available for Premiere, After Effects, Avid, NUKE and Fusion Studio, and is actually the first third-party 360 video tool for the Avid editing workflow, according to Avid Product Manager Kate Ketcham.
The plug-in is based on Imagineer’s Academy Award winning planar tracking algorithms and features 360 planar motion tracking, masking tools, horizontal stabilization and reorientation, and compositing capabilities for graphics, patches, titles and filters.
The plug-in also includes an object removal tool that comes in handy for those shots where you just can’t hide all your camera gear or your entire crew. Its workspace and toolset work for both rectilinear and lat/long views so users can easily track, create effects and insert graphics without distortion or seam issues.
Mocha VR is a product of Boris FX, makers of Boris Continuum, Mocha Pro and Sapphire and costs $995 (or $300 for Mocha Pro 5 users).
Skybox 360/VR Transitions 2
Earlier this month, Mettle launched Skybox 360/VR Transitions 2, a set of drag-and-drop customizable transitions, for Premiere Pro. The tool can support equirectangular, mono 2:1 and stereo 1:1 over-under formats.
The transitions are simply dropped on adjoining clips of equirectangular footage on the timeline and are properly distorted to fit the 360 format automatically. The transitions are easily adjustable and customizable, and include light rays, chroma leaks, light leaks and spherical blurs.
Skybox 360/VR Transitions 2 is available on its own or as part of the Skybox 360 Suite of cinematic 360/VR production tools. The SkyBox 360 Suite also includes Skybox Post Effects, Skybox Studio V2, Skybox VR Player, and Skybox VR/360 Tools.
Skybox 360/VR Transitions 2 alone costs $149, and the Skybox 360 Suite costs $499. Mettle is also offering a free upgrade for existing Suite customers to access Transitions 2.
On February 3, RE:Vision Effects announced its new RE:Lens tool for After Effects to stabilize 360 and fisheye footage to stabilize and unwrap curved footage. The tool allows you to create arbitrary field-of-views, using pan, scan and rotate, from footage shot with ultra-wide lenses.
It can also animate camera rotations and zooms, create two separate virtual views from a single camera, and convert super fisheye footage for use in 360 viewers. The tool also gives videographers greater flexibility when recording interviews with a 360 camera.
RE:Lens costs $189.95 and can handle rectilinear, equirectangular, fisheye, super fisheye, super wide-angle zoom, mirror ball and parabolic lens-mirror projections.
Autopano Video Pro
Also worth a quick mention is the update of Autopano Video Pro (2.6), which now allows users to create their own stitching templates based of their best and favorite .pano files, and allows for native spatial metadata injection, among other changes.