Review: QOOCAM Studio. 360 Degree / VR Editing

Now that I am back at home again, I can properly install the QooCam Studio app in order to view and edit the videos taking with the camera on the fishing trip. To see the QooCam camera review, click here.

(If you have come into this late, on this particular trip, the QooCam turned up while actually away from the office and so, with only the ASUS laptop to hand and therefore no NVIDIA card for the graphics, the software would not run).

Interface

Being a Chinese company, when you first install the QooCam Studio software, everything is in Chinese and it takes a few seconds to work out which menu option lets you change to English – although it appears this does not then default on subsequent loads of the application as second time around, I had to select the option again.

Thankfully though, when switched, all of the menu options and controls display correctly, unlike my previous foray with say, the GoPro Studio that had controls and menu structures in some odd font that no-one – not the least the tech people – could sort out, so I gave up after 2 months.

The initial options let you choose between editing existing footage or shooting a live event. I’ll cover the editing in this review as the Live Streaming is a separate story unto itself.

qoocam 1

Editing

Selecting the Edit option prompts the application to ask you for a file or files to load with an “Add+” button. As the QooCam when shooting creates multiple contiguous files, if you select one of a group of these contiguous files, you are next given the option to edit just that one file or to also select its siblings and let the software treat them as one file.

For example, the total footage I shot over an hour and a fraction of the fishing trip is covered by 8 separate files, each on 7 mins and 59 secs in length and one extra file of 58 seconds. The QooCam seamlessly finishes one file and starts the next with no discernible lagging or gap.

Files are recorded in MOV format by the way.

qoocam 2

In the software, the image is displayed in a single window with a set of transport controls and in and out markers. At this point you can either view the clip(s) as a “horizontal” flat file or by clicking a small button, convert the view to a proper 360° one you can be pan around using the mouse.

Options available as you can see are correctors for Yaw, Pitch and Roll (useful on a boat setting!) stabilization on either full or anti-shake (or off), a basic colour correction on / off switch and a slo-mo option with varying degrees from off to 10x.

Once you are happy with the base edit, you can then render immediately or place this clip in a queue and keep working, later doing a batch render of all edited clips.

Yes, it’s basic as far as editors go, but it works. What aids is the quality of the optics; I was quite amazed at just how good they are from such tiny lenses as afforded by the QooCam. Playback in 360° mode was equally as good, with the software obviously taking full advantage of the NVIDIA capabilities.

When rendering, a new window opens letting you set the resolution of the final file, the format (which is pretty superfluous as the only choice is MP4 (H.264) anyway) and the “Quality” in megabits per second. You can also rename the file and choose the output folder.

In my case, I selected the final file to be in the highest resolution and size. The edited file was 3:30 minutes and QooCam Studio took 44 mins – no speed demon on the surface, but when you consider the amount of work going on in each frame, not too shabby either.

Anyway, the very nature of 360° footage is such that long form material is not really that much of an issue. I suspect the average clip will be in the vicinity of 30 seconds to a minute.

Publishing

Of course, once all this is done, you need people to be able to actually view your masterpiece. Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo all allow the posting of 360° footage, but we choose to use Memento360, a dedicated website specifically for 360° videos that also has a companion WordPress plugin letting you add footage to your own website as well as using standard embed code for non-WordPress sites.

For even more fine tuning of your video, dedicated video editors such as Vegas Pro (which we use) and Adobe Premiere Pro, Corel VideoStudio and others all support 360° clips to varying degrees. There are specialist plugins from the likes of BorisFX, FXHome and RedGiant you can use too, so there is no shortage of editing ability.

qoocam 3

Conclusion

Some say my enthusiasm for 360° / VR is akin to my previous love of 3D video and it will go the same way.

I disagree.

I still like 3D video (and lament the demise of my trusty Sony 3D TV a few weeks back accordingly) but 360° / VR has the potential to go to another level, not just in entertainment but in other uses such as engineering, physics, astronomy, geology and more.

QooCam’s makers Kandao also make highly specialised 360° cameras under the moniker of “Obsidian” and therefore obviously have the same future thinking of 360° I do.

For more information on QoCam and QooCam Studio, please go to https://www.kandaovr.com/qoocam/

Note: The fishing boat we were on is run by Paradise Fishing Charters on the Gold Coast in QLD. And yes, we paid for the trip!

 

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