Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Maximizing Samsung Gear 360's video quality; direct comparison with Kodak SP360 4k

Apparently, the image quality of the Samsung Gear 360's output is partly dependent on which method you use to stitch it, as discovered by Markr041.  Mark also uploaded a comparison between the Gear 360 and the Kodak SP360 4k.  Hit the jump to check it out!
The Samsung Gear 360 video is not stitched in-camera.  Instead, you need to stitch it with a compatible phone, or with the included Action Director software (or a 3rd party software if you prefer).  If you stitch on an S7, you'll get the full 4k video resolution.  But if you stitch it with a Samsung Galaxy S6 or Note 5, you'll be capped at 2k.  So, realistically, you need to stitch either on an S7 or the Action Director.
What Mark found out is that the two options have different image quality (emphasis added):
"1. The original file produced in the camera is H265, at 32 Mbps. HEVC or H265 gives approximately the same quality as H264 at double the bitrate, so equivalent to about 64 Mbps H264 (about what the GoPro shoots in 4K).
2. When you save the file on the camera to the device (Samsung Galaxy S7) you get a stitched 360 file (equirectangular) that is H264, with a bitrate of 61 Mbps. The audio is AAC 192 kbps, at 48Hz.
3. You can also create a stitched file using the free Action Director software on the PC. Take the unstitched video files from the microsd card and load them on the PC.
But - wait for it - the stitched file the [Action Director] creates is half the bitrate of the one produced on the [S7]: 32 Mbps H264 (not H265), and the audio is also at a lower bitrate, 128 kbps at 48Hz. So, it produces a lower quality video. And there are no options that I could find to change how it stitches (it is automatic)."
Mark also has the Kodak SP360 4k dual pro pack, and he compared it with the Samsung Gear 360, using the S7 to stitch the Gear 360 for maximum video quality.  With both samples at 60mbps, it's the most direct comparison.   Here is his video comparison (please select 4k quality): https://youtu.be/KVE2cvW3Ppo
What do you think?  Pls. post your thoughts in the comments!

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