Insta 360 Studio: How to Edit Your Video Into Spherical Format
Insta360 Studio is a very powerful and capable, free, editor for your spherical format video. The program was created by Insta360, makers of the Insta 360 Air, Nano, Nano S, One, 4K and Pro cameras. You can download the editing software directly from the links below for either windows or mac os:
You can use content sourced from anywhere with this editing software, the only requirements being that the footage is in an equirectangular projected format. An equirectangular projection is a cylindrical equidistant projection, and can also be termed a rectangular projection, plane chart, plate carre, or unprojected map. All modern multi lens systems output in this projection, so you can just use a video outputted by whatever stitching software was used to stitch your footage together.
Insta 360 Studios main window looks like this:
And when video is loaded to edit, the window looks like this:
To load the video, one may either select all the clips from a folder window and drop them onto the left hand bar or you may open up the file navigation dialogue by clicking the plus symbol, navigating to your files and selecting them.
When the video file names have loaded into the left hand bar, click on one to load it into the viewer. You can now view your clip in various projections by clicking on the projection icon and choosing how you wish to view your clip. By default, clips load in ‘Fisheye’ projection. One may choose from Flat, Rectilinear, Fisheye, Little Planet and Crystal ball views.
You can see at the bottom of the screen the clip timeline and above that the player controls. Insta360 Studio has both a viewing and an editing mode.
Insta360 Studio calls its editing mode ‘Capture’. To enter editing mode to actually work on the clip and export new content to upload to social media sites or other video editing platforms, click on the ‘Capture’ button located above the video clip view, centered on the screen.
Once in ‘Capture’ mode you can see more options become live and various text becomes unghosted. To choose a starting frame for the video, click and hold on the grey bar on the left of the timeline.
and drag it to the chosen first frame.
To choose the final frame, do the same with the grey bar on the right:
And drag it to the left:
Having decided upon the opening frame, its viewpoint position and projection for your video noe need to be worked on. Click the yellow target icon shown below above the timeline towards the left of the window:
Once clicked, a new option dialogue opens in the bottom left of the screen. Here, one may choose what projection to be used as well as various other options for the opening frame:
The four icons across the top denote the default immersive view,
architectural perspective mode which keeps all vertical lines parallel to one another:
small planet view:
and crystal ball view:
As you can see, the preview pane in the middle of the window updates automatically to reflect the choices you make. This ‘live’ preview enables you to judge your frames composition before moving on.
Once the projection has been decided upon, the following options may still be defined:
Time: If you wanted to work on a particular moment of the clip you could enter it here, for now, as we are working on the opening frame we will leave this as it is at 0:0.
PanAngle: The PanAngle is the horizontal panning motion, this means swivelling the veiwpoint within a spherical format video horizontally from a fixed position within it.
TiltAngle: TiltAngle is like PanAngle, but vertical rather than horizontal.
F.O.V.: F.O.V. stands for field of view and is the angle of footage veiwable to the content consumer at that point in time.
Distance: Distance denotes distance from capture point and is used for zooming in and out and focusing in on points of interest within your clip or zooming out for a more overall view of the scene.
Having chosen the favoured parameters for each of these options you can see that the preview window changes to mirror the choices for this frame.
Pressing play will now advance through your clip keeping those parameters constant. Pressing the target again will snap the defined options to that frame and all frames between the two keyframes chosen. If, however, at this point you change the parameters defined in the bottom left pane, the footage being processed will transition from the original parameters to the new key frame options in a smooth transition. Be aware that for fine control of the time at which you are choosing the keyframes it is possible to enlarge or shrink the timeline using the slider underneath the timeline, at its left:
As you can see, this keyframe transitions to a crystal ball projection.
And this keyframe is of the architectural projection.
If you wish to move the keyframe to another time stamp, simply highlight the keyframe by single clicking and then slide the point to the time you wish it to be.
Having watched the clip through and chosen my keyframes, their projections and its parameters, we can now choose which of the various transition modes to use in the footage. Click on the horizontal line within the timeline and it will highlight to yellow, so you can tell whats been selected and chose the transition type from the drop up menu that has appeared at the bottom left:
The choices for transitions are:
The clip can be previewed from start to finish at any time you are working on it, click preview now to watch you clip and see if it ready to export. If not, go back and adjust the keyframes properties or its transitions etc. if the clip is ready to export, then one must run through the final set of output options on the right hand pane of the window:
Choose what resolution is required, tick the box if there is any purple fringe anomaly (if you see it, you will know), decide on the clips bitrate, where it will be saved to and its name. Also, if you slide the slider down, you can also expose whether to have a user defined logo to be placed at the nadir of your footage or not.
Having chosen these options, click on “Export to” and your clip will be exported to the chosen folder ready for use.