Saturday, February 22, 2020

Insta 360 One X Review: Everything You Need to Know About the 360 Camera

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Asif Ahmed
Asif Ahmedhttps://techtippr.com
Founder and Cheif Editor of Techtippr, Get in touch with me on Twitter or Enjoy my Stories on Instagram. I think they are interesting. :-)

Did you look at those amazing shots? The remarkable thing is, all the shots are taken by just one camera, the same camera. And no one helped me make this video. I did it all myself. 

Not convinced? Well, here is the camera. Insta 360 One X, and it’s so crazy that it is unbelievable. 

Watch the Video Instead


It’s a 360 Camera which can record in all directions, which means, you do not have to frame anything, or turn your camera to keep something in the frame, it all can be done while editing where you can choose what to keep in frame. 

The 360 cameras are in the scene for quite a while, you may have already seen some videos on YouTube, it supports 360 videos, and at one point of time, Youtube was also like, yes we are going to promote it heavily on YouTub. Still, for some reason, not a lot of people watch 360-degree content. 

So, then, what is the point of this video camera, if not a lot of people watch 360-degree videos? We will talk about this in this video. 

Now, like I said that this 360 camera records everything around you, and you can kind of choose the frame when you are editing it. So, it not only allows you to export videos in 360 formats, which you can upload on Facebook or YouTube, and people can watch it bye moving their phones left or right or turning around to look at all what the camera has captured. 

What it does is, it lets you create the standard, flat videos that we are used to watching. You can pick any aspect ratio, be it 9:16, 16:9, 21:9.5 (Cinematic)

What I am saying is, there are a lot of aspect ratios that you can pick, and it will crop the 360 videos to show you just that area. 

It is what makes this camera amazing, you can use a flat frame from anywhere in the 360-degree area, so you kind of have the benefit of capturing something important that was not captured, or you didn’t intend to capture while recording. 

If you are not a videographer, if you’re not into videos, you will not understand how joyful it is to find something on video that you did not shoot, and thanks to this camera, you kind of do.

Now that we are clear about what 360 camera is capable of let’s talk about this particular gadget that I have, the Insta 360 One X. 

So, this is the 2nd version of the camera launched in 2019, and the first version was launched in 2018. I got it in 2020, but it’s still not too late to play with something like this. It’s still pretty new in India. 

Insta 360 is the name of the company that creates 360 cameras; in fact, it already had some cameras, but they are too expensive. 

The Insta 360 One X is kind of their first product targeted towards general consumers, and they already have their 2nd product launched. The Insta 360 One R. 

But, it’s going to take a while to get my hands on it. I am going to play with this one till then, and see what I can do with it, btw, I’ll post short videos doing silly things on my instagram so that you can follow me there (link in description). 

What’s in the Box

So, let’s talk about what all you get in the box. I got from Amazon India, and it had the camera, a soft pouch to carry it, one data cable to connect it with PC, one battery, and one ring or thread as you may call it, where you can attach the camera, and swing it around to get a cool video. Insta 360 calls Bullet time. Yes, that Matrix kind of video.

Although, I also got the invisible selfie stick, along with the bullet-time take as a package, and the deal that I got also offered a 64GB micro SD card. 

Now just in case if you want to use another card, it supports a specific type of microSD card, which should be v30 or u30. It should have the fastest writing speed. I have a U30, and it’s writing speed is 100 MBPS. 

Now, the reason you need a faster one is that the camera can capture 5.7k video at 30fps, so the files are pretty large, and it requires a card that can write the data faster. 

I’ve found a one minute clip of 5.7k at 30fps takes approximately 800MB. 

Video Quality and Resolution

And now that we’re talking about the resolution of the camera, 5.7k does not mean that it brings you better picture quality than 4K, which is not. 

Because it is capturing 5.7K all around in 360 degrees, and most of the videos that you watch on YouTube in 4K capture 90 degrees to 120 degrees of view, just one 1/4th of the area, in comparison to the insta 360 One X. 

So, if you end up creating an official video from your 360 videos, it will be cropping out the 5.7k footage, and you will end up having a 1080 full HD resolution clip. 

If you intend to make flat videos, with the option to choose what you want to show, you will be getting a full HD in the video, not 5.7k. Although, I recommend that you record videos in 5.7K to get the highest quality. 

So, before we talk about the video quality, let me explain that there are two ways you can create videos using this camera. 

One is, creating the standard 360 videos you may have seen on YouTube. So I am not talking about editing 360 videos because it is quite tricky to edit 360 videos. 

Maybe we will talk about it in other videos, but let’s assume that you have created 360 videos. 

So, to get an excellent full HD resolution at one side of the video, you need to upload the entire 5.7K video to Youtube. 

It means the size of the file will be larger, and also the people who will be watching the videos will have to buffer all that data, even if they are looking at just one direction. 

So, they need to watch it in the highest possible resolution. Most of the laptops are 4k. 

So, the quality of videos would be good if you stream the video in 4K on your laptop, which is not the best experience because, on a computer, you will have to use those Arrow keys on YouTube, that appears on the top right or top left-hand side. It is not a great experience.

The best experience to watch 360 videos is, on mobile phones, because it has got a gyroscope. So, you can move around and look around the video in 360 degrees. But then again, not every smartphone will give you the highest possible resolution.

Most smartphones are limited to offering only 1080p, which is full HD, and even if you stream the video at full HD, people need to have a high-speed internet connection. 

Because, on mobile, they have limited data. They will probably spend their entire data plan on watching 360 videos in full HD. 

Anything below that, even HD is not going to give you good quality, because, if the entire video is in full HD, then one direction of the video will be bad quality. Because, a 90-degree area of the video would be one-fourth of 720p, which would be around 183p.

Now let’s talk about the second way you can use a 360 camera to record videos.

The other way to create a video with a 360 camera is, reframe, which is creating standard videos but selecting your frame in post-production. At the same time, you are editing, because you have footage that covers the entire 360 area, so you can sit down and choose what frame you want to keep in your video.

Going by the explanation, which I just did, you are again limited to full HD in one direction, which is 90°, and it is decent for a lot of people. I mean, if you are creating flat videos and taking footage from 360 camera cropping it out, you will still get good enough video quality. 

Can this be your primary camera?

It cannot be your primary camera, yes it can replace an action camera, but this is not going to be a primary camera if you are into filmmaking. 

If you want to get a camera, then maybe get those regular DSLRs that are capable of recording high-quality videos and photos. This 360 camera can be an add on. And an excellent add-on for people who are a one-person crew. 

Because you can get a third-person perspective like this selfie stick is invisible, you can hold it in a way, and simply walk. It will create an illusion that someone is filming you.

You can even put your camera behind you, and it will again feel like someone is following you, there are many things many angles you can do with it. 

I can see that it is an excellent addition of a camera for vloggers or solo travelers who would want to give a third-person perspective. It kind of gives a nice touch to videos when you have a camera away from you, capturing everything that you do, and not just you talking into the camera. 

I have already created a few videos, and people were amazed by how I was able to get those angles. These are the questions from people who are not in tech, and I mean merely 2 out of 50 people recognized that it was done by 360 camera. A lot of people are not aware of it, so it can be a cool thing to own.

Another thing that I noticed is that the stabilization on this camera is pretty amazing. I created a lot of videos where I was simply walking, holding the selfie stick, and the videos came out very smooth. 

I even recorded videos while riding a bicycle and a motorbike and I have footage of the bike vibrating a lot while I was peddling it, but you will not see any jerk in the video that I created.

Even while riding my bike, my bike vibrates a lot, and the camera was also vibrating a lot, and I was assuming that the video would come out shaky, but I was surprised that it was usable. 

So, the video quality is good enough. Again, this is meant for outdoor, so the picture quality is going to be good in daylight conditions when you have a good amount of light available. 

Even in the evening, it can do a good job, but at night, or Indoor, it is not going to give you great footage. 

If you are creating YouTube videos or social media videos, then you can get this camera. 

Editing Workflow of 360 Videos

Before buying the camera, I had watched a lot of videos in which everyone was complaining about the workflow, and I thought maybe the people were exaggerating. I mean, how difficult it would be to work with these videos.

I am not a nitpicker. So maybe I’ll have no difficulty. But, I was partially wrong, because I found the mobile app the official mobile app from insta 361 X to be pretty efficient. 

I edited my first 360 videos on the Insta 360 One X Android mobile app, although it took me quite a lot of time to create that 5-minute video that I later cut it short to just under 3 minutes.

Now, to edit the videos on your mobile phone, you need to access the files, there are two ways to do that. 

One is by using a data cable that connects the Insta 360 One X with your mobile phone, but you will have to buy it separately, since there is only one cable in the box, which is a Micro USB to USB type A, so you can only use it to connect with your laptop. And if you have got a newer MacBook, then you might also need a dongle as well.

Yes, I did try connecting it with my mobile phone using an OTG, but it did not connect. So, I am assuming that you have to buy the dedicated cable.

Anyways, the other option is to connect your phone via Wi-Fi. So this camera has got inbuilt Wi-Fi, which you can turn on. It is turned on by default. So you just have to follow the instructions to connect your smartphone to the Wi-Fi network offered by the camera, and then you are connected.

You can access the files on the camera, but to edit them, you need to download them to the app. Now, here’s the funny thing, I had around 27 files on the first day of shooting my gym session, which was about 14 GB in size and that 14 GB transfer took around half an hour which I think is okay because you can do other things while the files are getting transferred.

You might have to get used to the app, but the app is friendly, although it works on high-end smartphones, which have got powerful processors, like Snapdragon 855 or the latest generations of iPhone, like iPhone 10, iPhone 10S, iPhone 11 Pro and so on. 

I have a smartphone, and that is powered by Snapdragon 855, so I had no difficulty editing those videos. But, once you edit them, the export of videos takes a lot of time, because you have to do it individually. There is no batch process like you edit all these videos, and then you select all these videos and export. 

And that feature is not available, so you manually have to export every file after you have edited it. 

So it took me around 3 hours I spent on editing, + exporting the video in a flat format. 

Then again, I spent one hour in Kinemaster, which is a video editing mobile app. I was able to create a 5-minute video, which was nice. Then I cut it short to 3 minutes, just to make a tight edit, which might have taken another half an hour. 

So, it took me around 5 hours of my time to edited a 3-minute video. 

I know it’s a bit long because if I had recorded the videos on my smartphone, I simply would have added those videos in Kinemaster. Maybe it would have taken me an additional half an hour so, and I would have gotten my video edited in just 2 hours instead of 5 hours.

But, it took me no time to record the video. There were no retakes. I did not have to ask for anybody’s help for those third-person perspective frames. It was all flawless, I mean when you have people around you who are not much into video making. They even don’t know how to hold a camera. This camera is your best friend if you want to create great videos because you can reframe the video later.

So, I can safely say that it saved me a lot of hassle, a lot of pain while shooting the video. Maybe it kept me only half an hour, but it also saved me a lot of stress as well.

And since I have been using it for more than a week, I tried different ways to find the best and the shortest and the fastest workflow to edit the videos. I tried the studio app available for Mac and Windows. I tried it on a Mac, and initially, it was kind of very confusing, but when I played with it for a few minutes, I started getting comfortable. 

 I even tried editing the video in Adobe Premiere Pro, because Insta 36O One X offers a plugin for Adobe Premiere Pro so that you can directly import the videos into the editing software. Still, it was 5.7k footage, and my 2019 MacBook Pro was not capable of handling such huge files, and it was a terrible experience.

The Final Cut Pro on the same laptop handles 4K videos pretty smoothly, but sadly, Insta 360 One X does not offer any kind of plugin, so I cannot import the Insta 360 One X files directly into Final Cut Pro.

What I found convenient is, to convert the .insv files, which is the standard format used by Insta 360 One X camera, to convert the .insv files into .mp4.

You can do that in the 360 Studio app for Mac and PC, and thankfully they have got batch processing, so you can drag and drop all your 360 footage then convert all of them into .mp4, and then you can import it in Final Cut Pro.

The good thing about the latest version of Final Cut Pro is that it supports 360 video editing, and it easily allows you to reframe. You need to use some kind of keyframing, but it is an easy process of editing 360 footage in Final Cut Pro.

So, the fastest workflow is to connect your Insta 360 One X to your laptop directly, drag and drop all the files into the Insta 360 Studio app, and batch processes them into .mp4. 

So that you don’t have to waste time transferring media files, for example, I could have saved half an hour of moving the videos. 

In Final Cut Pro, the editing process is a little tricky, which we will be talking about in future videos. If you show interest, you can tell me the comments, but by far, this is the fastest workflow that I came across.

If you are looking to create videos for social media, then the mobile app is best, because you will be producing a short one minute or two-minute videos. 

You can directly download them on your mobile phone, make small edits in the mobile app, export it, and post it on social media. I created a few of them and posted them on my Instagram.

You can get the link to my Instagram account in the description and take a look yourself at what I am doing with my 360 camera lately.

My final verdict would be, 

if you are into video making, 

if you create content for your social media channels,

if you are a solo traveler, a vlogger, 

then you can go ahead for this camera, and you will be amazed by the kind of things you can do with the camera. 

Don’t buy if you do not have any camera at all if you are starting moto vlogging, or any kind of action activity, I would suggest you buy the standard action cameras. Then when you get efficient in video editing, you get some experience with organizing footage, and then you can go ahead and get this camera, you will be happy like I am.

If you have any questions about the Insta 360 One X camera, then you can ask me in the comments on the video I uploaded on YouTube

Make sure you subscribe to it if you haven’t already because you will be missing great content if you don’t do that. 

Buy from Amazon India

Buy from Amazon US

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