What’s New with VR in Premiere Pro CC
So, you probably came to check out this blog post for one of two reasons. Some of you are probably interested in what we added to the VR workflows for this release. And those of you who have existing VR projects probably just want to know why VR seems to be disabled!
In our prior release, VR was essentially a viewing experience, with some metadata injection during export. In this release, we’ve added VR awareness to our clips and sequences. Properties which were viewer settings in the past are now assigned to your individual clips and sequences.
But more on that in a bit. Let’s help that second group of readers, first…
How to Re-enable VR Workflows with Sequences
So you can’t even get to the VR Viewer settings because the VR Video menu is disabled? In our 2017 release, the VR Video features are only available with those clips and sequences which contain properties which indicate that they are specific to VR. The problem is, those properties do not exist in old projects. However, we do give you the tools to manually add the properties yourself.
The method involved depends on if you are working with a sequence or a clip. Let’s start with sequences first.
To add VR properties to your sequence already loaded in the timeline, begin by choosing “Sequence Settings…” from the Sequence menu in the main menu bar. You can also right-click on the sequence in your Project panel and choose the same menu item from the pop-up menu. The Sequence Settings dialog opens:
The first step in enabling VR on your sequence is choosing a projection. Currently, Premiere Pro only supports a single projection format: “Equirectangular”.
Once you have enabled VR by choosing the projection, the remaining three properties become available. The next most important property is “Layout”. By default, “Monoscopic” is selected, but you may also choose “Stereoscopic – Over/Under” and “Stereoscopic – Side by Side”.
The Horizontal and Vertical Captured View numeric fields allow you to specify how many degrees of view are actually contained in a full frame. Most often, the defaults of 360 degrees horizontal by 180 degrees of vertical is what you want – a full sphere. The second most popular is 180 by 180 degrees.
Once these properties are configured, hit OK to save your changes, and you should now be able to use the VR Video viewer with your sequence.
Adding VR Properties to Clips
If you are unable to access the VR Video menu from the source monitor when viewing a clip, most likely the clip is missing VR properties. These properties are typically determined when first importing a clip. Premiere Pro will look for the same metadata we add during export, which allows 360 playback in YouTube and Facebook. If that metadata is not present, Premiere default properties based on a combination of vertical resolutions and aspect ratios are applied.
The source video asset must have one of the following vertical resolutions:
And its aspect ratio (width:height) must match one of the following:
- 1:1 Stereoscopic – Over/Under
- 2:1 Monoscopic
- 4:1 Stereoscopic – Side by Side
If your asset doesn’t meet these requirements (for example, 16 by 9 is a common 360 aspect ratio), or if you are opening an older project with media that was already imported, you can still add these properties manually, much like you can with sequences. To do so, select one or more clips that you wish to add VR properties to, and right click on one of them select “Interpret Footage…” from the “Modify” sub-menu. Selecting more than one clip will apply the same properties to all clips in the selection.
Choosing “Interpret Footage…” will present a dialog window with a VR Properties section, much like the Sequence Settings.
This dialog differs from the Sequence Settings in that it allows you to override the properties of any video clip, whether that clip has VR properties already or not. To override or add VR properties, select “Conform To” within the “VR Properties” section and change the Project, Layout and Captured View just as you did in the Sequence Settings. You can always choose to go back to the clip’s original properties by selecting “Use Properties from File”.
One more note, if you create a new sequence from a clip that already has VR properties, the new sequence will inherit the same properties.
Why the Change to VR Video Settings?
The point of all of these changes is actually to make your life easier. With the automatic VR property detection when importing media, you shouldn’t have to go into the VR Video Settings to configure the viewer. Premiere can determine most of those settings directly from the clip or sequence.
The only time you should have to enter the settings is if you want to change the monitored field of view, or you are working in stereoscopic and you want to enable a different view, such as anaglyph.
The same properties will automatically configure the “Video is VR” export setting, as well. This includes using Adobe Media Encoder to encode and publish your existing media files.
But we didn’t make these changes to Premiere Pro just to automatically fill in settings for you. Making your clips and sequences VR-aware will enable us to add more features in the future. It also allows to create optimized editing experiences when we know you are working with VR/360 media.
But Wait! There’s More!
Premiere Pro CC 2017 also includes a few other VR-related features:
- Real-time GPU accelerated Offset effect. This effect can be used to correct the panned position of a clip by adjusting just the X offset. If you need to correct the roll or tilt of a clip, you will still need to use third-party tools.
- Native QuickTime DNxHR/HD codec support. This one is really important to you Windows editors who work with really high resolution material or less powerful laptops. Now you can create VR media files which playback more efficiently than h.264 – at the expense of increased storage and bandwidth. It also allows you to export VR media files which exceed h.264’s resolution limitations. Services, like Facebook, already support DNxHR when publishing.
- VR HMD Tracking. In the VR Video menu, you will find a new item called “Track Head-Mounted Display”. If compatible plug-ins are installed and active, such as Mettle’s CC 2017-compatible SkyBox VR Player, this menu item is enabled. When toggled on, the VR Video viewer will automatically follow the HMD viewer’s position.
With the foundational work completed in this release, we hope to provide you with even more useful, intuitive tools to create compelling VR/360 video experiences more quickly and easily.