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360 Photo Sharing Sites

Here is a list of sites and apps for sharing 360 photos and videos (free unless otherwise stated):

  1. 360 Cities (Android, iOS, Desktop).
  2. 360player.io (Desktop). This one is not so much a photo sharing service, but a way to host 360 photos and embed them in your webpage.
  3. Blend Media (Desktop)
  4. Facebook Im sure we all know this one.
  5. Flickr VR (Desktop, Gear VR)
  6. Gala360app.com (Android; Google Daydream; Gear VR; supports 3D 360)
  7. Google Photos (Android; iOS; Desktop) Not a sharing site per se, I use this for backing up to the cloud, creating space on my phone. You are able to share links if you wanted.
  8. Google Streetview  (Android; iOS; Desktop)
  9. InPatium (Desktop). Primarily for virtual tours. I filled out the sign up, but it just hangs. Will try again some other time.
  10. Kuula (Desktop, Android, iOS, Gear VR) This has some cool filter effects and allows you to embed to your website.
  11. Littlstar (Android, iOS, Desktop& embed)
  12. Lookabout (iOS).
  13. Mapillary (Desktop). This is similar to Google Maps, but is open source.
  14. Momento360 (Desktop, Gear VR; both photos and videos)
  15. Patches (Used to be Vizor). Desktop based for building virtual tours and WebVR experiences by drag and drop.
  16. Panotica (Desktop).
  17. Portby (Android, iOS).
  18. Presence VR (Android, iOS).
  19. Roundme (desktop, Android, iOS)
  20. Spinnable (iOS only for now. Android, Desktop & Gear VR all coming soon) also supports sharing of short video clips, has live streamed events).
  21. Spinattic Create virtual tours with interfaces that can be customized easily.
  22. TaroVR (Desktop)
  23. Verpix (iOS, Desktop; supports both photos and videos).
  24. VRapp.co (Desktop; supports photos and videos) upload, share photos, videos and create VR tours.
  25. YouTube

Not forgetting that camera manufacturers have their own sharing sites to:

  1. Bublcam’s Xplor.
  2. Giroptic.com.
  3. Insta360 (through the Android or iOS apps).
  4. Madv360 (for Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere).
  5. Theta360.com

There’s also some great groups and communities to be interacting with on Social media:

  1. 360 Cameras group any brand, any type (Ricoh Theta, Samsung Gear 360 etc.)
  2. 360° Panoramic Photographers on Facebook
  3. 360 For All
  4. 360° Light Painting
  5. 360 VR Camera Users Community (Samsung Gear 360, Ricoh Theta, Kodak SP360)
  6. Collect 360 app – Users group and 360 tips
  7. Facebook 360 Community
  8. Fusion 360 Users
  9. Garmin Virb 360 users and fans
  10. Google+ Photo Sphere community
  11. Insta360 Community
  12. Ricoh THETA Users on Facebook
  13. Samsung Gear 360 (2017)
  14. Samsung Gear VR 360°
  15. Xiaomi Mijia MI SPHERE 360 Camera Users and Fans

Do you know of any other platforms that I missed? Please post in the comments!

Apply to the Street View Camera Loan Program

Interested in 360 cameras? Wondering what all the fuss is about? Interested in testing a 360 camera and discovering how you can create your own Street View 360 images? Read on!

Google announced an expansion of the Street View camera loan program to include 360 cameras. Currently available to loan in the Netherlands, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Apply to borrow a Street View camera, by filling out the form and explain a bit about any projects you have in mind. If you participate in the Local Guides program they will fast-track your application. If you are selected, you will be able to retain the camera for 45 days, with the possibility of an extension.

After I had applied, it took around 3-4 weeks to receive a reply that my application was accepted 🙂 You then have to use another form to confirm you still want to participate and proceed with the program.

Once they receive your response, they will proceed with the loan and ship the equipment in 2 weeks time. I received the item shipped email after 11 days.

This is the equipment that I was sent.

  • 1 Ricoh Theta S
  • 1 Camera Pouch
  • 1 USB Cable
  • 1 Monopod
  • 1 Mini Tripod
  • 1 Helmet Mount
  • Disposable adhesive strips (for helmet mount)

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Connect the Gear 360 To Google Street View

On The Gear 360

 

1. Turn the device on by pressing and holding the BACK button.

2. Press and hold the MENU button.

3. Press the menu button until Gear 360 Manager appears.

4. Now press the menu button to scroll until you see Google Street View.

5. Press the red select button and Gear 360 appears with an 8 digit number (Wi-Fi password).

On your Mobile Device

 

1. Go into your settings.

2. In the Connections menu choose Wi-Fi.

3. Select Gear 360.

4. Enter the password (the 8 digit number) and press CONNECT.

5. Now return to your Home screen,and open the Street View app.

6. Press the camera icon in the bottom right

7. Link external 360 Camera.


8. Allow the app permissions, location, photos etc

9. The camera icon should turn blue

10. Choose to shoot either single shots or Interval where it will automatically take a picture every 8 seconds.

 

11. To view your recently taken pictures, swipe up the Connected to Gear 360 tab.

Thats it, now get shooting!

How To Add Your Own 360º Logo in 2 Minutes

A simple video showing you how to customise the base logo of your 360 shots. You will need photoshop and post editing to achieve this but it’s actually quite simple to do.

  1. Load your Logo.
  2. Go to Image, Rotate to 180°, so it flips your image upside down.
  3. Go to Filter, Distort, select Polar Coordinates. A popup should appear, check rectangular to polar (Tiny planet style).
  4. Select Image, Rotate, Flip Vertical and then Image, Rotate, Flip Horizontal.
  5. Save as a Png file for future use. (I missed out that bit in the video, oops)
  6. Now just highlight the whole logo, go to edit and copy.
  7. Open the 360 photo you want to watermark.
  8. Edit and paste your new logo.
  9. Select the move tool, then click on the center cross hair to pick up and drag the logo to the bottom.
  10. Stretch either side out to reach the edges of the photo.
  11. Then shrink it to your desired height, the lower you go the smaller the logo will appear.
  12. Save as a Jpeg (remembering not to overwrite the original).
  13. Now when viewed in your 360° player, your logo should be sitting pretty at the bottom. Job done.

Hope this helps you create even more awesome 360° images👍

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How to Remove the Tripod from Your 360 Pictures

Removing your tripod is actually easier than you think. All you need is a photo editing program like adobe photoshop and follow the simple step by step instructions below. I’ve also written it down as I may have gone a little too fast in the video for some.

  1. Load your stitched 360° image.
  2. Go to Image, Rotate to 180°, so it flips your image upside down.
  3. Go to Filter, Distort, select Polar Coordinates. A popup should appear, check rectangular to polar (Tiny planet style)
  4. Zoom in for a clearer close up view of your tripod, so you can see what your doing.
  5. From the left hand tool bar select the spot healing tool (looks like a plaster), then at the top change to the desired brush size and draw over (highlight) your tripod. When you let go of the mouse button, the part you’ve just highlighted should then disappear.
  6. Then all you have to do is the above in reverse order. Go to Filter, Distort, select Polar Coordinates. Again the popup should appear, but this time you check the other, polar to rectangular. This will put your image to the flipped upside down version again.
  7. Now all you need to do is just select Image, Rotate to 180° and your image is back to normal and hopefully when viewed in your 360° player there’ll be no sign of the camera or equipment. Job done.

Hope this helps you create even more awesome 360° images👍

Check Out More 360 Hints & Tips

Top 360° Desktop Editing Software

If you’re looking for software other than ActionDirector to use for your desktop then these are my other favourites for editing 360° videos.

Updated 8th August 2017.

Insta360 Studio

This has been by far the best software I found for editing 360, best of all it’s FREE and available for both Windows and Mac. The software is from Insta360, the makers of the Insta360 Air and the Nano cameras. However, it can be used for videos taken by other 360 cameras as long as they’re stitched in standard equirectangular .mp4 format. Which means you will firstly need to stitch the files using action director or in the app first. Then with the stitched file, you can open it in insta studio. You can use the studio to edit videos only, not photos.

This will allow you to add keyframes (POI) throughout your video that when played it will then automatically move to as its playing, including from normal view to a tiny planet and back again.

Download insta360 Studio here:

For Windows           

For Mac Continue reading

Best Affordable 360 Degree Cameras

There are now a whole host of 360 degree cameras that won’t damage your wallet to much should you want to buy one. Here’s a list of the best out there starting with the cheapest:

LG 360 CAM

The LG 360 CAM is one of the most affordable cameras on the market. It has two 13MP, 200-degree wide angle cameras, more than several of its competitors. It shoots 2K video, has a 1,200mAh battery with 4GB internal memory, which can be increased with a microSD card and a 5.1 surround sound channel recording through three microphones. A waterproof housing is available.

Price: £139.99

The LG 360 Cam makes it easy and relatively inexpensive to capture 360 photos and video, but it only has simple editing and not many sharing options, plus It requires a microSD card that’s not included to work.

Samsung Gear 360

Samsung Gear 360

The Gear 360 2017’s older brother still one of the best affordable cameras you can buy. It can capture images at a massive 30MP via two 15MP sensors with fisheye lenses. Expandable memory, Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth connectivity are also among the camera’s key features. The Gear 360 is dust and splashproof. It does require you to have a Samsung smartphone of S6 or newer in order to work.

Price: £169.90 UK or import it crazy cheap from the US $144.99 (£112.33)

For the price you can now pick this camera up, its by far the best option for beginners. It still shoots the best quality still images of any of the affordable cameras. It’s easy to use and to transfer straight from the camera to phone and onto social media. It is a little on the bulky side though, so it’s not really pocketable if your looking at carrying it everywhere. The battery is replaceable, so you wont need to carry a bulky battery pack if your out all day, just a couple small spare batteries in your pocket.

Insta360 Camera

Best 360 degree cameras out now and on the way Insta360 Nano camera

With the Insta360 you actually have two options: The Air that works with Android devices via either USB-C or Micro-USB. While the flatter Nano is built for iPhones via Lightning. Both of them are built to quickly and easily create 360 videos to share and livestream on the social networks of your choice.

Price: £197 (Nano) or £122.14 (Air)

This is one of the most portable & convenient on the market. It’s a clever design and most importantly, it just works. You plug it in, take photos, upload, done. The quality of the output isn’t all that great though and the app is poor. If your concerned about image quality then the LG has the edge over this one. I have been impressed with the developers at insta listening and talking to owners and updating, adding new features via firmware on a consistent basis.

Xiaomi Mi Sphere

Image result for Xiaomi Mi Sphere

Two 190 degree ultra-wide angle fish-eye lense can shoot 23.88 megapixels, video at 3.5k (nearly 4k). Supports QC2.0 quick charge. It has IP67 rating for water resistance, which is splash proof. Built in 6-axis anti-shake stabilization. Being quite slim should mean it has very good stitching, though it does not have in-camera stitching. Instead, the stitching is via its app which is android & iOS compatible.

Price: £200
Available from Gearbest

This was a surprise out of the blue camera and with its specs, capabilities and developers support has become my current  favourite. It’s not the easiest to use, but with it’s regular firmware updates, the developers have ironed out almost all of its floors. 

Giroptic iO

Giroptic iO camera

The Giroptic iO 360 camera is an excellent compact camera that works by attaching to your phone. It is available with an iPhone and iPad-friendly Lightning connector, as well as Android USB-C or micro USB connectivity. It can capture 2K video, sitting behind ultra wide, 195-degree lenses with bright f/1.8 aperture. There’s also the option to take 4K photos, as well as livestream straight to Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.  

Price: £219.99

It is compact, ridiculously easy to use, and affordable. There are 360 cameras out there with better resolution, bigger batteries, and more features. It looks to me like a koala hugging your phone. The Giroptic iO makes 360 video production effortless, affordable and perhaps most importantly, fun.

Ricoh Theta SC

Ricoh was probably the market leader for 360 degree cameras with the release of this. The Theta SC model lets you shoot 14 megapixels, video in 1920×1080 30 fps. You can also livestream your videos and transfer footage to a mobile without connecting to a PC. You can also buy a waterproof housing to shoot underwater.

Price: £219 (coloured models) – £279 (black model)

I would however hold off if you were looking at buying this, as Ricoh have announced the release of an all new 4K version. The price of this model should then drop.

Samsung Gear 360 (2017)

Best 360 degree cameras out now and on the way

Samsung’s new 360 camera and it’s actually cheaper than last year’s model was on its release. It has a grippable body, dual fisheye lenses up the 4K shooting resolution to 4096 x 2048. It can also shoot up to 15MP 360 images. The main feature though is it’s capable of livestreaming letting you beam your real time videos on Facebook or YouTube. You do need to have a compatible phone and there are functional limitations when using with iOS devices. You can get this camera at a reduced price when bought with the Galaxy S8.

Price:  £243.73 

My current number one choice. Now compact, easy to slip in your pocket and very easy to use. This is a great all rounder. The only thing missing for me is the ability to lengthen the shutter speeds for long exposures. For Android users, it only works on Samsung phones, while the 2017 camera works with the S6, if you use the S6 to stitch your videos, the resolution will be downgraded to 2K. A S7 or newer is needed to get 4K stitching on the phone. The IOS compatibility is still limited, but this has been improved with updates and i’m sure there’s more to come.

Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K

This one is splash proof and can record UHD content at 30FPS via an ultra wide 235-degree lens. They claim it can survive a 2m drop (with a drop cover) and extreme temperatures. You have the option to pair two PIXPRO SP360 4K cameras together for fully spherical content capture. A mobile app and stitching software come bundled with the camera.

The Kodak PIXPRO SP360 is cheaper option if you don’t mind sacrificing 4K quality.

Price: £319

I would hold off if you were looking at buying this, as Kodak have announced the release of an all new 4KVR360 version. The price of this model should then drop. In my opinion looking at the due specs on there website, I think this might already be out of date by the time it’s released. Let’s wait and see.

Nikon KeyMission 360

The KeyMission 360 is the first in what will be a line of action cams from the company. The camera has two lenses with 20MP sensors that can record footage in 4K with electronic stabilization. All stitching is done in camera, it’s waterproof to 98 feet, shockproof up to 6.6 feet and can be operated in temperatures as cold as -10c, 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Price: £419

There are a few flaws, from accidental recordings, an unreliable app and poor stitching on the images. Video quality isn’t great either. For that price I wouldn’t look twice at it. Entry level 360 cameras do a much better job.

Garmin VIRB 360

Best 360 degree cameras out now and on the way

This one has all the bells and whistles. It’s as rugged, waterproof to 10 meters and capable of withstanding high temperatures and comes with four built-in mics so you get spacial sound too. Shoots 5.7K/30fps unstitched, but the in-camera stitching will only stitch at 4K for now. 4K spherical stabilization ensures a smooth video regardless of camera movement. Built-in sensors provide G-Metrix data overlays in 360 degree augmented reality. They claim you can constantly record for more than an hour on one charge without overheating and of course you can livestream. You can even control it with your voice “OK Garmin, start recording”. It does come at a price though.

Price: £620 

After seeing the specs and price of the forth coming Yi 360, I can’t justify the Garmins price tag. As much as I’d like one, i’m not paying that.

3 Coming soon I’M excited About
YI 360 VR

The first high-end, live VR camera for everyone, features professional-grade video quality at up to 5.7K/30fps in 360 degrees and 2.5k livestreaming check out www.yitechnology.com. It’s due for release in September

Price: $399 (£310)

They say it’s pocketable and easy to carry around, though to me it looks bulky compared to a Ricoh Theta.

Ricoh Theta 4K

Ricoh have been very quiet since they announced the 4k, releasing this sample footage and just saying Camera In Development.

Price: I expect it to be in the £250-£300 bracket.

This is the next camera i’m really eagerly awaiting in anticipation, If you can hang on and don’t mind spending around the £300 mark then I would hold out for this to be released. Probably in the autumn.

Gopro Fusion

GoPro have been quiet since the announcement, releasing this sample footage.

They have sent out a few sample cameras from the pilot program, which you can still apply for. It’s due out by the end of 2017.

Price: Im expecting this to be around £300-£500.

VRDL360

VRDL

VRDL360 is set to be the first 360 camera that shoots 7K photos. The video is only listed as 3K which I think is a mistake. 4K should be the least spec of any new release from now on. Sample shots can be seen here, but they don’t look to be in 7k to me. A successful indiegogo project, but it remains to be seen if it can beat the likes of Ricoh or Xiaomi. They recently announced it won’t be supporting live streaming yet, which is another fail in my opinion. What was looking to be promising, now seems to be sinking and falling behind in the 360 race already. They have a lot of work ahead of them to compete and be worth the estimated price tag. It’s due out in September.

Price: £200-£250.
Summary:
Continue reading

Replacing the Samsung Gear 360’s Lens

I did the unthinkable and dropped my 360 camera and it resulted with a tiny, but none the less very noticeable, chip near dead centre of the lens.

Finding out how to get it fixed proved to be a pain in the arse, at least until I came across samsung-parts.net that is. They had the lens in stock, for a total of £32.78 (€37.47) including international shipping. Click on the following link to go direct to the part https://goo.gl/Z8ut3G

It arrived just 2 days later. Happy days I can now get to fixing it myself and here’s how I did it.

Turns out to be a nice simple fix that anyone can do. I hope you guys won’t need to do this, but if you find yourself in the same position as me then you now know what to do 👍

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