Samsung Gear 360 FAQ & GUIDE

The Samsung gear 360 camera is a great starter consumer camera, but there are a lot of questions and answers that can be found all over the web. I found a great resource that should solve all your questions about the camera and its features.

 

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Table of contents:

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[00] Why is the image quality of 360 not as good as standard videos?

[01] How to improve the stitched 360 photo quality?

[02] Which free apps to use for simple photo quality improvements?

[03] Which apps to use for HDR 360 advanced quality improvements?

[04] How to watch local 360 photos/videos on Windows or Mac?

[05] How to patch nadir to remove tripod?

[06] How to inject meta data for Facebook 360 compatibility?

[07] Which Gear 360 settings to use for best quality?

[08] How to change the ISO speed on Gear 360?

[09] Which ActionDirector export settings to use for best quality?

[10] How to stitch flipped Gear 360 recordings to be shown normally?

[11] How to fix exposure-/color issues caused by sunlight?

[12] How to use Gear 360 without a compatible phone?

[13] How to stitch Gear 360 photos/videos on Mac OS?

Various:

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[14] Facebook app: How to watch linked YouTube videos directly on YouTube?

[15] Gear VR: How to watch Facebook 360 photos/videos on Gear VR?

[16] Gear VR: How to watch YouTube videos?

[17] Gear VR: How to watch local 360 photos and videos?

[18] Gear VR: How to watch 2D or 3D videos while lying in bed?

[19] How to capture 3D SBS photos without 3D camera?

[20] How to capture 360 photos without 360 camera?

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GEAR 360 GUIDE / FAQ:

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► [00] Why is the image quality of 360 not as good as standard videos?

Videos/photos will be zoomed in on 360 playback (zoom 6x / fov 60-70).

That`s how 360 playback works. The image will be zoomed in (quality loss, more blurry) and stretched spherically to 360 degree to look around in any direction.

The projection of 360 videos is called equirectangular (distorted up and down like the world map) and will be unwarped to an angular map on 360 playback.

Futhermore, if a 360 image is captured on fisheye lenses there will be a quality-/detail loss in the borders. Imo that`s why some areas are more blurry on 360 photos taken on Gear 360. Analyse your 360 photos and you should see the same.

Ultra high quality 360 photos and videos are captured on a multi-camera-system like DSLR or GoPro. Which costs 10 times more than Gear 360.

► [01] How to improve the stitched 360 photo quality?

You can use any photo- and video editing app to improve the quality of your 360 photos.

Most important values are: Contrast, saturation and sharpness.

Example: Contrast +10%, saturation +5% and sharpness +20%.

Btw. ensure that the lens protectors of Gear 360 are clean.

See point [06] for 360 meta data injection.

► [02] Which free apps to use for simple photo quality improvement?

Windows:

Google Picasa

MS Paint dot net

XnView

Gimp

Adobe Photoshop CS2 (full freeware; link and screenshot in comments)

Android:

Open your photo in your gallery and click on EDIT.

Further Android tools:

BeFunky

FotoR

Snapseed (my favorite)

Btw. adjust only the values mentioned in point [01] otherwise you could cause a blend line (color-/lightning issues) which will be shown on 360 playback.

See point [06] for 360 meta data injection.

For advanced quality improvements HDR you need a pro app with 360 support otherwise you will cause a blend line.

► [03] Which apps to use for HDR 360 advanced quality improvements?

Photomatix Pro

Easy HDR Pro

You can also use non-pro HDR apps but they will cause a blend line which will be visible on 360 playback.

► [04] How to watch local 360 photos/videos on Windows or Mac?

You can use the freeware Kolor Eyes for Desktop.

► [05] How to patch nadir to remove tripod?

You need a pro app to unwarp the equirecangular projection (distorted) to angular (undistorted). You can mark your tripod in tthe unwarped projection to erase it by using a clone stamp tool or the powerful content aware fill.

Pro apps:

Pano2VR 5 (unwarps a selected area to export it for further editing / tripod erasing in a 3rd party software.

Flexify 2 for Photoshop (unwarps the image to erase the tripod in Photoshop)

Stop! You need a more easy and inexpensive way? Here my solution:

Most easy and fast way is to use a distortion filter of Photoshop CS2 (freeware).

Open your stitched photo in Photoshop / image / rotate canvas / 180 / filter / distort / polar coordinates / rectangular to polar / ok / view / actual pixels.

Use the clone stamp tool and erase your tripod. Finished?

Next step: image / rotate canvas / 180 / filter / distort / polar coordinates / polar to rectangular / ok / file / save as. Congratulations 😉

See point [06] for 360 meta data injection.

► [06] How to inject meta data for Facebook 360 compatibility?

Most easy and fast way for Facebook 360 compatibility is to edit the file information of your 360 photo (camera information).

Windows:

Open your file explorer / right click on your edited 360 photo / properities / details

Manufacturer: RICOH

Model: RICOH THETA S

Important! Use capital letters.

Upload your photo on Facebook and the 360 feature will be activated automatically.

Android:

Use the app Photo Exif Viewer to edit the camera information.

Camera maker: RICOH

Camera model: RICOH THETA S

Important! Use capital letters.

► [07] Which Gear 360 settings to use for best quality?

Video: 3840×1920

Photo: 30 mpixel

HDR on: Useful in most situations. Dark areas will be lighten automatically.

Correct angle: Activate this feature to straighten the horizon automatically on Galaxy stitching.

ISO: Switch from default 1600 to 400 to reduce image noise on low light. For extreme low light situations ISO 800.

The higher your ISO value (ISO speed) the brighter and sharper your image on low light but also higher image noise (looks awful on ISO 1600, 3200, 6400).

► [08] How to change the ISO speed on Gear 360?

Connect your Galaxy phone to your Gear 360 and open the settings (gear wheel) to change the ISO speed.

► [09] Which ActionDirector export settings to use for best quality?

Profile: MPEG 4 4K 3840×1920

Important: Select NTSC instead of PAL. PAL = 25fps and NTSC = 30fps = smoother (fps = frames per second)

Furthermore, you can improve the image quality by adjusting the following values in ActionDirector.

Example: Exposure +5%, contrast +30%, saturation +10% and sharpness +30%

Attention: Exporting duration will raise drastically.

Ensure that hardware acceleration is activated in the settings (gear wheel).

You can also improve the quality of your stitched Gear 360 videos by using any other video editing tool.

To inject 360 meta data to your edited/improved videos use the “Google 360 video meta data tool”.

Gear 360 enhanced video example? Look on YouTube for Gear 360 4K FLAMINGOS

► [10] How to stitch flipped Gear 360 recordings to be shown normally?

You could rotate the image in ActionDirector 360. But please don`t do this. The video image quality will be decreased drastically (bug?).

Better: Use your Galaxy phone for photo and video stitching. Your 360 image will be flipped automatically without quality loss.

Important: Place your Gear 360 in the right position before you start recording. This position will be the base orientation point.

Ensure that “correct angle” is activated on your Gear 360 settings.

Additional:

If the horizon is straighten on local 360 photo playback but not on Facebook 360 playback you can fix this by the following steps:

Open your stitched 360 photo in Photoshop / image / duplicate.

Your image will be cloned but all meta data is lost. That`s what we want. We want an easy way to reset all meta data, to reset the roll-degree from -7.5 to 0 = always straighten.

Save your new image and inject meta data. See point [6]. Upload your photo to Facebook and the horizon will be straighten.

► [11] How to fix exposure-/color issues caused by sunlight?

Such issues can be solved only by pro software. Imo the most powerful stitching software is Kolor Autopano Giga/Video which supports automatically color, exposure, gradient, vignetting and gamma correction.

Important: You need to split your unstitched photo/video in two files to be recoginzed by your stitching software. Import your splitted files and use as focal length 9.00mm or 7.0mm and lens type fisheye.

There is a video tutorial by Ralph on YouTube. Look for “how to autopano gear 360”.

If you need a tool to split all your unstitched photos automatically I recommend to use the freeware StereoPhotoMaker. Choose file / multiple conversion / select your input folder / input file type “side-by-side” / output file type “independent (L/R)” and select your output folder. This will split each unstitched photo in two files to be imported by 3D party stitching software.

► [12] How to use Gear 360 without a compatible phone?

#1

You can set up and record on your Gear 360 by using the device buttons and for stitching the included software ActionDirector for Windows.

You don`t need a Galaxy phone to capture 360 photos and videos on Gear 360 but you miss lose some special features like remote control, live view, stitching on your phone and firmware updates.

#2

To capture 360 photos remotely on Gear 360 you can use Google Street View app on your phone.

How to?

  1. Turn on your Gear 360
  2. Hold the menu button till the display show “Gear 360 Manager”
  3. Push the menu button twice, so the display shows “Google Street View”
  4. Push the record button
  5. A 8 digit PIN will be shown

On your phone:

  1. Open the WiFi menu
  2. Search for the WiFi SSID ending with .OSC
  3. Establish a connection with the PIN shown on your Gear 360

Now, you can take photos on your Gear 360 using the Street View app. There is no live view / preview but you will be able to take 360 photos to share them for example on Facebook 🙂

#3 There is a modfied Gear 360 Manager app for non-compatible devices. Device restriction is removed and 4K stitching is enabled. Using at your own risk:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/…/mod-samsung-gear-360-mana…

► [13] How to stitch Gear 360 photos/videos on Mac OS?

Install Boot Camp which enables to use Windows plus ActionDirector on your Apple System.

PTGui and Autopano Giga/Video are available for OSX and Windows.

► [14] Facebook app: How to watch linked YouTube videos directly on YouTube?

If linked YouTube videos will be not forwarded to your YouTube app so check the following steps:

Open your Facebook app / open the navigation (three lines) / scroll down to “app settings” / activate “links open externally”.

As soon as so click in your Facebook app on a YouTube link it will be opened in your YouTube app.

► [15] Gear VR: How to watch Facebook 360 photos/videos on Gear VR?

Open your Facebook app, click on a 360 photo/video and than “View in VR”. Insert your Galaxy phone into your Gear VR and enjoy the world in 360 🙂

► [16] Gear VR: How to watch YouTube videos?

There are a couple of possibilities to watch YouTube on Gear VR.

#1: Start your desired YouTube video on your Galaxy phone. Push your Gear VR USB connector aside and insert your Galaxy phone underneath the USB connector. Easy and fast 😉

#2: Use the app “Cardboard Enabler” or “Package Disabler”. These apps enables you to insert your Galaxy phone into Gear VR without to start Oculus Home. You are able to use your original YouTube app or Cardboard games.

#3: Install Samsung browser from Oculus store. Insert your Galaxy phone in your Gear VR and open the app “Samsung browser”. Type in www.youtube.com to open the YouTube homepage. When you start a 360 or 3D video there are some options like 360, 3D 360, 3D SBS. Some 360 or 3D videos are not shown 100% correctly. The experience of side by side gaming 3D videos (3D SBS / VR 3D) is mostly better on your original YouTube app (fullscreen = more immersive than cinema screen projection). Example for 3D SBS / VR 3D videos www.youtube.com/3DVR360

► [17] Gear VR: How to watch local 360 photos and videos?

#1: Copy your 360 photos to your Galaxy phone folder /Oculus/360Videos/ or /Oculus/360Photos/

Start the app “Oculus Video” and enjoy the world in 360.

► [18] Gear VR: How to watch videos while lying in bed?

Open the app “Oculus Video”, select your video and choose VOID instead of a theatre.

To reorient the screen, look at the location where you would like to reposition the screen and then tap the touchpad.

► [19] How to capture 3D SBS photos without 3D camera?

#1

For a long time I use the Android app “Steroid 3D”. You have to capture one photo for your left eye and one photo for your right eye slightly offset from the other. Take photo 1, move your phone slightly to the right to take photo 2 (distance 2-5cm). Two different perspectives like our eyes see the world. Note: The far the object the far the distance have to be between left and right photo. The result? Real stereo 3D photo VR 3D SBS (side by side 3D) not to confuse with VR 3D 360.

Real stereo 3D enables to experience 3D depth and screen pop out effects.

If you watch a 3D video on YouTube and there is not depth you have found a fake 3D video. Converted from 2D to 3D. The 3D depth is very weak / faked by cloning the left image for the right eye slightly offset from the other but for sure on the same perspective (cloned). Pop out effects are absolutely impossible. The same (fake 3D) does your 3D TV when you watch a 2D movie and activate 3D. The best 3D experience in real stereo 3D which is only possible if the object is captured in different perspectives. Fake 3D is what destroys the illusion of stunning 3D.

2#

To capture moving objects in real 3D you should use two phones / digital cameras / DSLR at the same time to capture moving objects.

Use the Android app Steroid 3D or the Windows app “Stereo Photo Maker” to create your captures in side by side. Capture a friend or your family in real stereo 3D and you will be amazed on Gear VR or Cardboard. They will look so real 😉

► [20] How to capture 360 photos without 360 camera?

I will reveal four possibilities to capture 360 without a 360 camera.

#1 For best quality (pro):

Take for about 32 single photos on your phone by using a panorama tripod. You need to take many photos to cover 360 degree and to cause overlapping for stitching in post. You can use PTGui or Autopano for stitching.

For a 360 photo indoor example made by this technique look on YouTube for “ECE Center 360”. For even better results you can use a DSLR camera and a fisheye lense (in best case 4 photos).

#2 Fast and easy capture:

There is an add-in for Samsung Galaxy phones to capture 360 degree photos. The add-in will instruct you how to hold and move your phone to capture single photos for 360. All captured photos will be stitched to 360 automatically.

Where to find the add-in?

Open your Samsung camera app / mode / download / Surround shot. Have fun and try to avoid close objects and moving (great to capture landscapes in 360). You can also use a panorama tripod for better results indoor/close objects.

#3 My favorite – the golden mean:

Google Camera app is for free and enables like Samsung Surround shot 360 captures but it`s opened for all phones. Yeehaw! Imo the stitching- and image quality is better than Samsung Surround shot. Samsung Surround shot is faster.

Look on Google for “Google Camera APK”. Not to confuse with Google Cardboard Camera app.

#4 Most easy and fast way plus special feature:

Google Cardboard Camera app enables to take 3D 360 photos. You have to rotate slowly around your own axis to capture 360. Hold your phone vertically.

Advantage:

– Easy and fast to use

– Compatible with all modern phones

– 3D depth (3D depth is not very intense but available)

Disadvantage:

Your 360 photo will not cover a full-spherical capture. There will be an empty area on the top and bottom. But it looks not too bad, it`s not blacked out. If you wanna experience your 3D 360 photos on Gear VR see point [16] same solution. There should by also a Gear VR viewer for these photos on Sideload VR.

Congratulations 😉 Now, you are an advanced Gear 360, Gear VR and 3D user.

 

Originally posted by https://www.facebook.com/arturo.azzurrocelentano?fref=nf on : https://www.facebook.com/groups/876923609065976/