If you’ve ever enjoyed playing with virtual reality gaming equipment or viewing a 360-degree video on your phone, you may have wondered how video stitching software works and what types of applications are available for stitching 360 videos.
360 degree video is one of the most exciting new types of content available today. But, as with all technologies, there are a wide variety of software programs that can help you produce your own 360 videos.
The best 360 degree video stitching software includes Adobe Premiere Pro, Mocha VR, and StereoStitch. Free alternatives are also available!
While some video stitching software has come and gone, there are some reputable companies that currently offer consistently updated software and support.
Below we’ll give an overview of some of the best video stitching software available, including the features they offer to enhance your 360 video stitching experience, the price points for their different products, and if they offer a free trial.
What Features Should 360 Video Software Have?
There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the software for your project.
First of all, does it support your camera types? Does it have any limitations like how big or small can videos be? And what about formats and file sizes (MPEG-wrapped easy import is always preferable)?
Second, does it require any add-ons to work? Does the software have a watermark or other annoying features that you need to be aware of before purchasing.
Third, what about how easy is it for you to use and customize the 360 video stitching process with their interface? Is it user-friendly enough so that even if you’re a beginner, you can still make your project without having to get a degree to learn the tools?
Lastly, what about the cost of the software? Is it worth paying for features that might be unnecessary or not needed at all during video stitching.
How Do You Stitch 360 Videos?
If you’ve ever watched a 360 video, like the ones that make you feel like you are riding on a roller coaster, you’ve probably wondered How do they do that? It’s amazing how you’re able to move your device around and have the picture change with your movements.
When you stitch a 360-degree video, essentially you are taking video from multiple cameras that have overlapping fields of view. There needs to be overlap in each of the videos to ensure that there aren’t any blind spots in the final 360-degree video. It’s essential that all angles are thoroughly covered to avoid any issues when stitching the videos together.
Those videos are then all pieced together to cover a 360- by 180-degree field-of-view. In a way, it’s like trying to put together a 3D puzzle.
You need all of the pieces or you’re going to have a visible gap. Specific instructions for stitching 360 videos will vary based on the software you’re using, so refer to the owner’s manual for those.
How Much Does It Cost to Make a 360 Video?
In reality, making and editing 360 video doesn’t have to cost any more than normal video editing so long as you are doing the shooting and editing yourself.
However, it can be more complicated than that simple scenario. The cost could be as low as free if you borrow a camera and use free software, or can easily get into the tens of thousands of dollars if you contract out parts of the work of a particularly large job.
There are three main things that affect the cost of making a 360 video or 360 video experience, so let’s explore those.
Your Camera Situation
The first and most obvious of the costs in making a 360 video is going to be the camera. In the beginning of the technology, any camera capable of natively shooting 360 video was out of reach for most. They could cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Now that the market has matured, there is thankfully a lot more options for low-cost 360 video. While the average price point of a 360 camera remains higher than standard cameras, there are still affordable options, such as:
- Gear Pro 360
- Samsung Gear 360
- 360fly HD
All of the above cameras come in at under $100.
Obviously, if you want professional grade video, you may need a 360 camera that runs upwards of $500.
The price can go up exponentially from there, especially if you want 4k 360, underwater proofing, or other very high end, professional level features.
What Editing Software You Use (Or Don’t)
The next thing to consider when adding up the costs for 360 video is the cost of the editing software itself. We’ve already outlined the prices of the best 360 video editing softwares above, but here’s a quick reminder:
- Adobe Premiere will cost you $20.99/month
- Mocha VR will cost you $75/month or $1995
- Muvee360 will cost you $20/year
While you can get by with the free software, we don’t recommend using them for any serious projects as they are not as feature-filled and you have no recourse for support or technical help.
Your Time and Additional Considerations
Lastly, consider the time you will spend. While we often don’t consider this, it is a large factor, especially if you are working on a personal project that you aren’t being compensated for.
Some stitching software can take hours to stitch together a video, and if you need it done quickly for an event (like your wedding day), then the time is going to be more of a factor.
This means that if you don’t have a very powerful computer, you may not want to use more industrial applications.
On top of that, also consider things that are typically found in really good 360 video, like:
- The use of drones to capture aerial or fast, smooth footage
- Potential use of underwater or waterproof cameras to capture those environments
- The extensive editing time and post processing on the other side
- The additional render time due to the large nature of 360 files
Keep all of that in mind when pricing out how much a 360 project is going to cost, whether it’s a personal one or one for a client.
Then, grab your camera and start shooting!
Best 360 Video Stitching Software
Wow! What an amazing scene.
You’ve found the perfect location, set up your camera and captured really beautiful footage. But if you want to make it feel like you were actually there, you’re going to have to put it all together correctly.
Using video stitching software is the best way to make your footage feel immersive. There are many different types of 360-degree applications designed for various needs, so you’ll want to find one that suits yours best.
Below are our five top picks – all great choices, but with their own pros and cons as well:
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro is the video editing software available through Adobe Creative Cloud.
While not specifically a 360 video stitching software, it is known for making video stitching easy through its “Immersive Video” option. It’s compatible with all equirectangular file formats, making the process of importing 360 videos for your project as smooth as with any other type of media file.
Some of the features of Adobe Premiere Pro:
- Step-by-step tutorials to help guide you through the process of creating a 360-degree video
- Plenty of Youtube tutorials
- 100GB of cloud storage
- Compatible with Windows and macOS
- Includes Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts, and Adobe Spark
- Premiere Rush app allows you to work on projects from any device- you can film or edit using your phone, share it to your laptop
- Adobe Sensei- detects edit automatically
- Integrated workflows, you can edit without leaving the timeline
- Edit footage in any format
- A monthly membership plan can help make this software more affordable
Adobe is continually rolling out new features to offer you the most up-to-date video editing tools. All new features will be automatically available upon release with your Creative Cloud membership.
Some of the most recently added features:
- Your videos can be automatically reformatted for compatibility with any social media platform
- Adobe Stock audio music readily available to use in your video
Pricing and Availability of Adobe Premiere Pro
If you’d like to check it out:
- Adobe offers a 7-day free trial of Premiere Pro so you can test drive the software
- It’s $20.99 per month for a Premiere Pro Single App subscription for an individual account
- It’s $33.99 per month for a subscription for a Premiere Pro Single App business account that includes up to 10 users
- It’s $52.99 per month for a Creative Cloud All Apps subscription for individuals that includes over 20 Adobe apps
- It’s $79.99 per month for a Creative Cloud All Apps subscription for businesses that includes up to 10 users
Mocha VR is video stitching software that’s part of the Boris FX Suite which is known for it’s Hollywood-quality planar tracking and rotoscoping features.
Unfortunately the basic and Pro version of Mocha doesn’t have the features for creating 360 videos, so you will need to upgrade to the VR version, which includes everything in Pro.
And with Hollywood-quality tools comes a Hollywood-quality price tag.
It can be used on its own or as a plugin with other video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects.
Some of the features of Mocha VR 2021:
- PowerMesh sub-planar warp tracking to tackle warped surfaces with ease
- Ability to remove objects in video
- Stabilization for shaky video footage
- Advanced masking tools
- AdjustTrack 2.0 to simplify tracking correction
- Includes Python Script Editor
- Tools that allow you to stitch 360 video from cameras that aren’t 360-degree
- Compatible with Windows and macOS
Pricing and Availability of Mocha VR
If you’d like to check it out:
- Mocha VR offers a free trial so you can try out the software
- There are a wide variety of purchase options (as a plug-in)
- Annual subscription- $295
- Purchase Price- $1995
Muvee 360 Video Stitcher for Mac
Part of the Muvee suite of video editing software, the 360 Video Stitcher for Mac is exactly what it sounds like: a video stitching program compatible with Mac computers.
This software is limited to use with videos captured on the Samsung Gear 360 camera, so it may not be the most versatile program on this list.
However, it is intuitive and easy to use for those who are just starting out in 360 video editing.
Some of the features of Muvee 360 Video Stitcher for Mac:
- Streamlines the 360 video stitching process by automatically stitching videos from a Samsung Gear 360 camera
- Simple trimming procedure
- Ensures 360 video playback compatibility with Facebook and YouTube
- Can create a 360 video slideshow with a soundtrack from 360 photos
- Pro version allows you to export in H.264 and ProRes format so you can easily edit using other video editing software
- Available Fast Track Support which guarantees a response within the same day
- Compatible with macOS (only)
- Compatible with any version Samsung Gear 360 cameras
Muvee is continually rolling out new features to offer you the most up-to-date video editing tools. All users of 360 Video Stitcher for Mac will automatically receive free updates.
Some of the upcoming features:
- You’ll be able to add animated titles to your 360 videos.
- Batch processing will allow you to process multiple 360 videos at the same time – a huge timesaver (Pro version only)
- Videos will match up more precisely with the use of exposure and color adjustment
Pricing and Availability of Muvee 360
If you’d like to check it out:
- Muvee offers a 15-day free trial of 360 Video Stitcher for Mac so you can test drive the software
- It’s $19.99 for 360 Video Stitcher Home for individual users
- Includes 12 months of free upgrades
- Includes 6 months Fast Track Support
- It’s $59.99 for 360 Video Stitcher Pro for up to three users
- Includes 36 months of free upgrades
- Includes lifetime Fast Track Support
StereoStitch is video stitching software that speeds up the process of stitching a 360-degree video.
Their technique for improving the speed of creating a 360-degree video involves merging the post-processing task into just one process. With stitching and color correction, stereo, and 3D generation all happening at the same time, you don’t need to worry about them.
Some of the features of StereoStitch:
- Mobile GPU compatibility eliminates the need for specialized computers for post-processing work
- No hardware needed
- Create content in real-time up to 60 fps throughput
- Works with 3D and stereoscopic formats
- Flexible solution for varied layouts, lenses, and cameras
- Can stitch videos live or in real-time
- Mailing list recipients get updates and releases before the public
Pricing and Availability of StereoStitch
If you’d like to check it out:
- StereoStitch offers trial downloads for Mac or PC and tutorials for mono and stereo
- It’s $300 for back-to-back Real-Time Stitcher videos, $450 for mono, and $600 for stereo.
- It’s $700 for back-to-back Live Stitcher videos, $1500 for mono, and $3000 for stereo.
- It’s $2000 for stereo OZO Stitcher videos.
Best Free 360 Video Stitching Software
Sometimes you just don’t have the budget for additional software for your projects and you’d like to find some free options to help you with your work.
These are two reliable video stitching software programs you can download free of charge. There were other free video stitching software options, but unfortunately, they are no longer operational.
Vidstitch is an app that allows you to stitch videos together right on your phone. It’s available for Android and iOS. Vidstitch Free costs nothing to use but for more advanced features you would need to upgrade to Vidstitch Pro for $2.99.
While limited, it’s still a great option for those who need to stitch 360 video on the go. Alternatively, it’s a great backup for photographers who find themselves needing to stitch something out in the field.
Vahana VR & VideoStitch Studio
This free video stitching software was created by VideoStitch but now that the company is no longer up and running, the software is available, courtesy of non-profit organization stitchEm, as a free download referred to as Vahana VR & VideoStitch Studio.
Using this software, you can create immersive 360 videos either live (using Vahana VR) or post-production (using VideoStitch Studio). You can download the open-source software through GitHub.
Does iMovie Support 360 Video?
The latest version of iMovie still does not support 360-degree video. The video editing tools for iMovie have remained pretty similar for the past few years.
While reports tend to vary, it seems that iMovie can import a 360 video and edit the footage, but it gives no option for exporting the footage back out as a 360 video.
So, while it may be a feasible road for flattening a 360 video for further editing, iMovie is unable to properly edit and export 360 video.
As of October 2020, you’re limited at most to 4K and HEVC in iMovie—at least practically speaking.
Best Places to Upload 360 Video for Viewing
Once you’ve got your 360 videos stitched and ready to go, you’ll want to share them with the world! YouTube, Facebook, and other social media are all popular choices for uploading 360 video.
Here are some of the best platforms for sharing and viewing 360 videos.
YouTube has a Large Audience
I bet you didn’t know that YouTube has been compatible with 360 videos for the last few years. They also have the advantage of reaching a large audience.
Youtube supports 360 videos that:
- Are between 24-60 frames per second
- Were uploaded in equirectangular format with a 2:1 aspect ratio
- Have a resolution between 7168 x 3584 and 8192 x 4096.
In order to use YouTube, your 360 video file must include 360-enabling metadata. Most good 360 editors will allow you to modify or add that metadata (or, more likely, will automatically do it when you export).
Vimeo Provides More Features and Support
Vimeo takes 360 video sharing to the next level.
They’ve got a designated 360 channel and offer content creators the opportunity to sell their 360 videos.
Vimeo even provides support for those learning how to create and upload 360 content. It seems Vimeo may be trying to corner the market on 360 video by embracing it so heavily, so definitely keep an eye on them in future.
Facebook: for More Social 360 Videos
Facebook makes sharing 360 videos convenient with its built-in 360 video footage.
Similar to Vimeo’s designated 360 channel, Facebook has a group set up for 360 content creators called Facebook 360. Fellow 360 video creators can share ideas and the latest advances in 360 video capabilities.
How Do I Convert 360 Video to Standard?
Converting a 360 video to a normal, flat video is actually very easy.
Technically speaking, 360 video is still flat!
It’s the video playback software that will essentially “wrap” the flat video around a viewing sphere. If you remove the 360 metadata that tells the player to do that wrapping, you’ll see a flat video.
However, it’s not that simple.
Look closer and you’ll see that the footage looks all distorted. That’s because the video is using a different “projection format,” typically an “equirectangular” format.
Without getting too technical, that means that the footage is distorted so that when wrapped into a sphere, everything looks normal. This is the same issue that people face when trying to map Earth on a flat rectangular map.
In order to make the new flat footage look normal, you’ll need to convert it from equirectangular to standard format (rectilinear).
This can usually be accomplished via the 360 editing software or an extra plugin for it. The exact directions will vary based on the software you use, so refer to the user’s manual.
Final Thoughts on 360 Video Stitching Software
While you can get by with free software, ultimately, for any high level personal or even professional project, you should invest in one of the top three video stitching software:
- Adobe Premiere Pro, a classic that still dominates the market
- Mocha VR, a serious 360 editor that can tackle large projects
- Or, Muvee360, either as a plugin or as a standalone package.
Additionally, keep in mind the fact that you’ll also need to learn both how to use those software and how to properly edit and stitch 360 video!