Comparison of 360° video and 180° video

Is 180° video worse than 360°? It's not that simple.

In the past, most 360° films were shot with conventional cameras arranged in the round. So that all camera images together resulted in a 360° spherical shot. However, the relatively new technology of 360° video cameras is leading to a paradigm shift in filmmaking. Unlike classic film, 360° video offers a view from any angle. These videos allow the viewer:in to change the direction of the camera's view during the film.

Understand the concept of 360° videos!

360-degree videos, also known as spherical videos, capture a scene from a specific camera position from all angles simultaneously. To capture these scenes, a special 360-degree camera or a series of cameras must be positioned. 360-degree videos give the viewer the feeling of being in the middle of the action. The term "virtual reality" (VR) is often used as a synonym for "360-degree videos," although the two terms refer to very different experiences.

What is 360° video also called VR video.

Videos that are so called are recorded with special 360° cameras that allow simultaneous recording directions.

The final product allows the viewer to move their gaze freely throughout the video. In many cases, the viewer has the feeling of being "there". 360-degree videos can be viewed without special hardware. Thus, such videos can also be placed on YouTube and viewed via PC or cell phone.

The viewing angle can be viewed by swiping or scrolling on the Pc screen. Virtual reality (VR) is usually associated with CGI i.e. computer generated graphics i.e. video game technology. However, 360 videos are mostly shot in the real world.

The 360° video offers a more memorable and intense experience. Such videos offer the best experience when played through a VR headset. A VR headset that is capable of reproducing 360° videos in good quality starts at around 350€. Glasses from the manufacturers Pico and Skyworth are the cheapest solutions for 360° VR glasses.

3DoF vs 6DoF

In technical jargon, these are also referred to as 3DOF glasses.

DoF stands for "degrees of Freedom" and describes the number of axes that are tracked by the glasses. 3Dof glasses are thus able to track the rotation of the head. The rotation of the head is also the only thing that can be interactively influenced by the user in 360° video. In a 360° video, the position of the camera cannot be changed, only the direction and the angle in which the viewer can look. This is an important limitation of 360° video compared to "real" virtual reality content created with real-time 3D, i.e. video game technology. VR glasses like the Meta Quest or Pico 4 are able to play 360° content as well as real time VR content because they are equipped with position trackers. They offer the user the possibility to really move in the virtual world. The sensor technology in these glasses is more expensive and therefore these glasses start at a price of about 450 €.
So if the presentation includes 360° video, 6Dof glasses are not mandatory because the position tracking features are not needed in a 360° video.

Thus, 3 village VR glasses are a good choice if you want to present 360 degree videos and are looking for a cost-effective hardware solution at the same time. In practice, 360 degree video mass performances use such glasses and hand them out in larger quantities to the audience, who watch the videos sitting down. It is not recommended that your audience consume 360 degree videos with VR glasses while standing. This is because some viewers may experience dizziness and disorientation, which could lead to injury if the audience is standing.

Now someone could ask the question if 6 DoF headsets with positions tracking one year allow the possibility to explore the room by walking why should I then deal with 360 degree video. This discussion is held again and again in professional circles. However, on closer inspection it becomes clear that we are dealing with 2 completely different forms of media. 360 degree video is, as the name suggests, a recording technology, i.e. an extension of the classic film. VR, i.e. real time 3 d technology, is a technology that originates from the video game, is interactive and requires us app as creatives to generate the world completely virtually with video game technology. that an image generated with video game technology leaves a different impression than a real film recording should actually be clear to everyone. Accordingly, 360 degree video and 3D real-time technology for VR are not really comparable, but 2 different media. In practice, this means that when it comes to recording a real and existing situation as realistically and lifelike as possible, you would use 360 degree video. If, however, the goal is to achieve as much interactivity as possible and less to depict a real situation as photo-realistically as possible or to include gamification aspects, then I would opt for VR real-time technology. Another obvious aspect that differentiates the two media forms 360 degree video and VR is also the effort and cost of creating the respective media. 360 degree video can theoretically be created very inexpensively by simply getting a 360 degree camera and recording with it. However, if I want to create virtual reality content, I need profound experience with real-time 3D animation and in most cases a programmer. Accordingly, the cost of 360 degree video is much lower than that of real time VR content.

Practical applications for 360 degree video are: virtual tours.

virtual sightseeing stirrings through factory facilities. virtual sightseeing in the tourist sector. virtual site visits in the real estate sector. and in general rather cinematographic storytelling.

What is 180° degree video.

The new VR video format 180° offers a higher quality solution, but instead of 360 gard, it only covers 180° of the field of view. Since the average person has a field of view of about 140 degrees, the VR180 shot is what a human would see, plus some space on either side when the viewer turns their head.

Why turn in 180 degrees when you also have 360 degrees available?

Now, at first you might think that 180 degrees would be a worse version of 360 degree video, but it doesn't turn out to be that simple.

Compared to 360-degree video production, the process for creating 180-degree VR content is leaner and results in higher quality footage. Since the same number of pixels only need to occupy half the space, the recording of a 100 180-degree movie is usually significantly sharper than from a 360-degree movie. This aspect is especially important since image sharpness is a major point of criticism in many 360 degree video productions. the image sharpness is usually significantly higher in a 180 degree video production and therefore manages to better resemble the human viewing experience.
A blurred 360 degree recording usually gives the viewer the impression that they are perceiving what is happening through a soft focus. a 360 degree camera that is able to provide a resolution of about 8K or higher to ensure a sharp image costs around 10000 €. when using a 180 degree lens, a professional photo camera like a Canon camera can be converted to a 180 degree camera by a lens. furthermore, when producing 360 degree video, always make sure that no disturbing elements or part of the production team are included in the camera from the camera area. This can be a real challenge with a 360-degree camera angle, since the film team has to position itself outside the camera's field of view in every shot. With 180 degree video, this is much easier because the production team can simply move around in the area of the 180 degree sphere that is not being recorded by the camera. Furthermore, with 180 degree video there is no need to hide the cameraman, so the cameraman can simply carry the camera in front of him as in a classic production and thus allow dynamic camera movements. In contrast, 360 degree video always requires the camera to be positioned on a kind of dolly or to be animated by winches or similar technologies for dynamic camera movements. Therefore, 180 degree video offers a cost effective alternative to 360 degree video footage. This fact leads to the fact that most 360 degree footage looks very static, as production teams often avoid moving camera movements within a 360 degree film due to the effort involved.

That's the AI's take on it:
  • One advantage of 180-degree videos is that they are cheaper to produce than 360-degree videos, since less expensive equipment and special 360° cameras are needed.
  • Producing a 180-degree video is less time-consuming than producing a 360-degree video because less raw footage is needed and ultimately fewer camera angles need to be stitched together.
  • Since a 180-degree video contains half as much information as a 360-degree video, it may be easier for the viewer to focus on a smaller portion of the screen.
  • Better utilization of the resolution means that 180-degree videos can be presented with a higher quality setting.
    Enables dynamic camera shots without much effort

Can we watch 180-degree videos in VR?

180 degree videos can be easily uploaded to YouTube just like 360 degree videos and can also be played by any VR headset.

When to choose 180 degree video and when to choose 360 degree video for your immersive production.

  • 180 degree video stands out mainly because of the simplicity of production and is therefore the better choice if you have a smaller budget.
  • if it is important to you to control the viewing direction of your audience in your immersive production 180 degrees is the better choice
  • if it is important for your immersive production to have dynamic camera movements or moving camera tours through for example a building in form of a tour 180 degrees is the better choice
  • when it comes to your production being completed as quickly as possible 180 degrees is definitely the better choice
  • if image quality is more important to them than a 360 degree panoramic view, 180 degrees is their choice.
  • If you want to show epic panoramas all the time, 360 degrees is your choice.
  • If you have a larger budget for your production 360 degrees is your choice
  • If the production time for their project is longer, up to 360 degrees is their choice
  • when would they go for virtual reality real time 3 D and when for 360 degree video
  • If your production is primarily concerned with staging interactive processes immersively and with a high level of user interaction, real-time technology is the right way to go.
  • if your production budget is over 10000€ and your audience has no problems with being confronted with video games of similar graphics, Real Zeit is the right way to go
  • if the story to be told is very much based on human characters it is probably much easier to use 360 degree video than to visualize these characters as 3 d avatars
  • if you want to exploit the full spectrum of interactivity in a walkable virtual world, real-time 3 D technology is the way to go
  • if you want to show real places immersively or if you want to show real people immersively, 360 degree or 180 degree video is the easiest and cheapest variant.

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