When you export 360 video to a format that can be uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, or other online service that supports 360 video, you get a wide, warped video file that looks like this:
For the Insta360 ONE X2 and X3 cameras, the front facing camera (the one opposite of the preview screen) will be the focal point of the video. In this case, it’s the entrance of the Whalebone Grill in the Awa (water) realm of the new-for-2022 Lost Island Themepark in Waterloo, Iowa. (This new park is pretty amazing with its backstory and unique themes.)
But, what if you wanted the 360 view to default to a different view when first played? Unfortunately, the Insta360 mobile app and desktop apps do not provide a way to do this (currently; folks have been asking about it for years, so maybe one day…). Often, the advice is to put the video in a video editor like Premier or Final Cut Pro and change it there.
Some quick web searching led me to this REDDIT post with a comment from user glitch007 explaining a way to use the free ffmpeg utility to reprocess 360 video and set the initial view:
ffmpeg has command line options to specify the X/Y adjustments (yaw and pitch) for the 360 video export. You can import the original MP4 file and export it out as a new MP4 with the view changed. If, for example, I wanted my Whalebone Grill video to start with folks facing the seating area, I could change that and it would look like this:
The command line option to do this is:
ffmpeg -i "input.mp4" -vf v360=e:e:yaw=90:pitch=0:roll=0 "output.mp4"
In this example, “yaw=90” tells it to change the X view by 90 degrees. You could pass in 180 to make the video face the opposite direction. The “pitch” controls the looking up and down, and “roll” controls tilt (I believe; I haven’t actually tested it).
For the curious, the command line options mean:
- -i … Input file.
- -vf … Video filter (and any parameters it needs).
- v360 video filter:
- e … Equirectangular projection (the type of 360 format the video is in).
- yaw / pitch / roll … Set rotation for the output video. Values in degrees.
glitch007 shared a timesaver where you specify a start and end section of the video and can quickly process just a snippet so you can see the results before doing the entire video. Using “-ss” sets the starting section, and adding “-to” lets you specify the ending second:
ffmpeg -i "input.mp4" -ss 00:03 -to 00:08 -vf v360=e:e:yaw=90:pitch=0:roll=0 "output.mp4"
If you run that, you’d get a 5 second clips covering seconds 3 to 8 of the video, and could look at that and see how the view is. This allows quickly making changes to yaw/pitch/roll to get what you want.
I used the ffmpeg command line utility to do this, but there may be Windows/Mac programs that put a graphical user interface on it, making it easier for folks to use. If you know of a good one, please leave a link in the comments.
Thank you, glitch007, for this tip!