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Uploading 360 VR Videos to Vimeo

Vimeo has finally dipped their toes into the 360 VR video world with the launch of Vimeo 360. Vimeo’s new panoramic media viewer supports up to 8K resolution equirectangular video uploads in either 2D monoscopic, or 3D stereoscopic (over/under) format.

If you have a Vimeo basic (free) account you can upload a maximum of 500 MB of video per week. Using Vimeo’s suggested datarate of 30 megabits/second (5 MB/sec) for an MP4 H.264 4K UHD clip the Vimeo basic account 500 MB video limitation equates to approximately 100 seconds (1:39 minutes) of video per week which isn’t a lot of content.

How do I upload a 360 VR video to Vimeo?

The process to upload your 360 VR content to Vimeo goes something like this:

Create a Panoramic Movie

Create an equirectangular/spherical/LatLong format panoramic video clip that is a 360°x180° movie with a 2:1 aspect ratio. Save the movie to a common video format that Vimeo supports. MP4 H.264 is a good choice for a 4K UHD 3840×1920 pixel resolution video clip.

You can create your 360° video in the real world with a live action panoramic camera rig, or with 3D animation and design tools like Autodesk Maya, Blackmagic Design’s Fusion/Fusion Studio, or Adobe After Effects with the help of a plugin to reformat your imagery. (If you are using Fusion or Fusion Studio I’d like to take a moment to mention my Domemaster Fusion Macros software that can come in handy to allow you to stitch and render panoramic 360° imagery. 😃)

If you go for the live action route and are filming with a Ricoh Theta, Samsung Gear 360, or Kodak panoramic camera rig you will still have to stitch your original fisheye footage into an equirectangular format before you upload the movie to Vimeo. If you skip the important video stitching phase you will have what looks like two warped fisheye views visible on Vimeo and not see your content as a seamless panoramic video.

Upload your Equirectangular Video File

Open the Vimeo Upload page in your web browser. Drag your equirectangular format panoramic video clip into the Vimeo upload window and enter the basic details.

Vimeo Upload Page

Once the video clip is transferred to Vimeo and you have entered a Title and Description, you can click the “Edit settings” button.

This will switch you over to the Video Settings page for the clip. Select the Video File sidebar link and scroll down to the 360 video format section.

Vimeo Video File Settings

If Vimeo was unable to detect the Spatial Media metadata in the video you will need to manually turn on the checkbox for [x] This video was recorded in 360. With this checkbox enabled you can then change the Source Type options menu item to select either a “Monoscopic” or “Stereoscopic (top/bottom layout)” format.

Click the “Save” button to accept your changes.

Viewing a Vimeo VR Movie

Once your VR video clip has finished encoding you can watch it in the Vimeo panoramic movie viewer on your desktop web browser, or using the Vimeo mobile app on iOS and Android. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive HMDs are not supported during the initial launch of Vimeo’s VR offerings.

If you want to view Vimeo VR videos on your mobile phone, you will likely have to update to the newest version of the Vimeo mobile phone app to get this new playback feature.

This is a screenshot of the Vimeo VR viewer window as seen on a desktop computer’s web browser.

After you find a VR video you would like to watch on Vimeo, clicking the play button will switch the movie from the thumbnail preview image into an interactive spherical movie viewer. As you pan the 360 viewer around with your mouse, or by rotating your tablet/smartphone display, the world inside the panoramic movie viewer window will rotate and you can explore the recorded scene. A handy navigation compass icon on the right side of the video window will give you an idea of where in the scene you are looking:

Sample Vimeo VR Movies

If you are curious to see what a 360 VR movie looks like using Vimeo’s new player, I’ve uploaded two sample 4K resolution equirectangular movies you can take a look at.

Both of these video clips were filmed using a custom configured stereo panoramic camera rig that is based upon a single Sony A7Sii camera, a Peleng 8mm fisheye lens, and a QuickTime ProRes based Atomos 4K Ninja Flame SSD video recorder. The stereo panoramic footage was stitched using the Domemaster Fusion Macros in Fusion Studio 8.2.

Under the Bridge 360

This 360 VR video was recorded under the Black Duck Run Bridge in West Dover, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Powers Lake Stream 3603D

This is a stereo panoramic 360° video clip of the Powers Lake river stream in West Dover, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Sunny Winter Morning in West Dover

This is an early morning panoramic scene of the West Dover Barrens in Nova Scotia, Canada.