- Update at the bottom…
All this screwing around that I’ve been doing with the test 360 degree video files… I’m starting to think that the problem isn’t with me, the camera, the app, or the PC software.
There are two common, different ways you can view a 360 degree video. You can use the mode where if the camera was facing north when you started recording, as the car drives and turns corners and such – from the viewer’s point of view, if they don’t touch the video, the camera’s view will always be facing north. So if it’s pointed straight ahead when you start, then make a 90 degree left hand turn – it will look like the camera’s view moves 90 degrees to the right, so it can continue to “face” in the direction that it had started.
The second method, and the method that I’m trying to make work, is called Direction Lock. When you start the video, if this works correctly, one of the two lenses on the camera will be the “main / starting” lens… so when that lens is aimed towards the front of the car, the video will start with a forward looking view. In this mode, if you make a 90 degree left turn, the camera just continues to use the main / starting lens without change – so its view acts as the view of a person who was sitting on the roof of the car, continuing to look forward no matter which way the car may turn.
Surprisingly, there isn’t much that comes up when you google “Insta360 youtube direction lock” other than some tutorials and example videos, and a few random posts and pages that don’t address this particular problem, so I’m kinda just on my own here. Now, in the Insta360 app, the direction locked version plays exactly like it’s supposed to. But no matter how many settings I tweak, or how many adjustments I make, YouTube will only play those same videos in the “floating view” mode. No bueno.
Especially for a 360 video that’s being shot from / on / in a car, our brains basically expect that if we are looking forward, and the car makes a left hand turn, we’ll still stay “looking forward” even though the car has changed directions. The floaty type mode just looks wrong and our brains don’t like it. Now, why doesn’t YouTube support the direction lock mode? No idea.
It used to be that you’d have to use a metadata injector to “prepare” your 360 degree video for uploading to YouTube. That was because their system apparently wasn’t yet ready to auto-detect videos that were meant to be displayed in their 360 degree viewer mode. But now, at least from what I’m reading, most major brands of 360 degree cameras inject enough of their own data into the resulting videos that YouTube does recognize them by default, and therefore displays them in their 360 viewer.
I’m not sure the recognition goes any further than that though. It could be that YouTube simply sees the metadata that says “this is 360” and doesn’t bother looking at any of the other metadata to see if there’s anything else that it needs to do. Because the videos themselves aren’t actually altered when you play around with the view in one way or another… it’s the metadata in them that tells the viewer what to do and when. I’m like 93.7% sure about that. And I think YouTube just ignores it.
I’ve got one more set of test uploads to try, and if none of these are successful then I’m going to consider my theory correct… but then I’m not sure what to do. My project, whether I actually finish it or not, kinda relies on having that direction locked way of viewing them. I suppose the next step will be trying them on another platform. I haven’t really used Facebook for well over a year, but I suppose I can set things to private and upload the test videos there. If they’re a success… well, I’m not sure what I’ll do.
But yeah, as you can see, this has been keeping my brain busy, so that’s a good thing, right?
EDIT: Great googily moogily, I did it. One of my test videos uploaded to YouTube is actually playing the way that I wanted it to. Stays locked to the forward facing view of the car, so when the car turns left, the view turns left. Car turns right, view turns right… working just like a passenger in the car with their eyes locked forward. But then of course you can still scroll around in whatever direction you want with your finger, or with your mouse if you’re on a computer, but yeah… now to see if I can recreate it with all three videos that I shot the other day.