One of the most time consuming and frustrating tasks we encountered during our first 360 3D video productions was finding the optimal encoding settings for each of the currently available VR headsets. Each platform supports different resolutions, frame rates, codecs, and bitrates. This article explains the settings we started with, what we learned from analyzing some of the legends in the field (like Chris Milk and Felix & Paul), and finally we’ll share a simple yet powerful free tool we built to help you encode your VR video content with the best possible settings. Let’s go!
Our ignorant phase
We at Purple Pill VR film in stereoscopic 3D on all sides, which ultimately results in one video file containing 2 panoramas, one for your left eye and one for your right eye, stacked on top of each other. This file, a .mov or .avi, has an exotic 1:1 aspect ratio and a resolution of 4096×4096 pixels at 60 frames per second. Not a single VR headset is currently able to play this back smoothly, so we scaled the resolution down until we had smooth playback, which was around 2048×2048@60.
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