Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tutorial, guide, and workarounds for using the Xiaomi Mi Sphere Camera


Here is a video tutorial on using the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 camera.  I also have late-breaking news on possible workarounds using third party software.

The Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 3.5K panoramic camera currently appears to offer the highest video quality for 360 cameras for $300 or less, and it is one of the few that offer manual exposure controls.  Together with fairly smooth stitching, edge-to-edge sharpness, and a 24mp photo resolution, it offers an excellent package for those looking for an entry-level or even intermediate 360 camera.

The only problem with the Mi Sphere is that its software is not straightforward and has quite a few bugs.  In this video, I will show how to use Xiaomi and hopefully demystify the Mi Sphere's software.


As you saw in the video, the Mi Sphere has a few issues when stitching or exporting videos.  I therefore recommend trying out some files from the Xiaomi on your phone before buying it.

iOS app
Android app
Unstitched samples for you to try to stitch on your phone.

Lon Seidman has a good tutorial for importing and stitching these samples:


Because of these exporting issues, I tried to look for a third party app that could stitch the Mi Sphere offline at full resolution.  One such software appears to be Muvee for Mac OS.  I don' have a Mac to test it myself, but Muvee staff offered to try stitching a video from the Xiaomi, and they said they succeeded.  Here is a frame grab provided by Muvee staff (still looks like fisheye at the edges):

Reader Ulf Brusquini reported success with Muvee:
I got it almost perfect now in Muvee 360 video stitcher. The Muvee 360 video stitcher is a simple drag'n drop software so you have to create the layout first to make it stitch 100% right. You can stitch any 2 to 1 spherical video, but you have to make a template to make it work. .... In this case I had to make the spherical videos oval...a bit higher than wide. just sayi'n.
Here is the video stitched by Ulf with Muvee:


I'm also going to try other software especially for Windows, such as Video-Stitch or Autopano.

In the meantime, if you'd like to study the Xiaomi's samples, check out the links below.  if you'd like to get the Xiaomi camera, please buy it here from Gearbest, which ships to more than 200 countries, and offers competitive prices.  Buying from the link will support 360 Rumors at no additional cost to you, so I can do more tests and reviews.

Sample photos
Sample video for comparison
Sample low-light video
Workflow and other info

12 comments:

  1. Hi Mic, I am curious how you get the un-stitched images from the camera - mine are all stitched - copying from app camera or card they are already stiched - not very well and with considerable exposure/color differences between lenses.

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    1. Hi Andrew. Your Xiaomi videos are already stitched in the SD card from the camera? That's astonishing. Can you contact me via email creadvty at gmail or facebook.com/360rumors? Best regards, Mic

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  2. +Mic Ty I think that the Muvee staff video looks wierd...not stitched at all...I link to my YouTube test here for your readers to check out because it is much better if not yet perfect:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8JbW5hjqvI

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  3. +Mic Ty I couldn't resist to buy a Xiaomi after all...good price, good quality video and the fact that I can stitch the spherical raw files with Muvee made me make up my mind. I'd like to thank you for open my eyes for this cam. Thanks!

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  5. Hi Mic! I have a question: do you know if mi sphere suports microsdxc ? Is there a list of bests microsd ?

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    1. Hi Deywid. It supports up to 128GB. It needs to be Class 10, and they recommend U3.
      Best regards,
      Mic

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  6. Just got myXiaomi Mi Shere last night and took some test clips.
    I can't figure out how to manually adjust these huge stitch lines created with the Muvee software? I don't see any controls in the app.

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    1. Hi Paul. I wish I could answer but I have no Mac so I have no idea what Muvee is even like. FWIW, Ulf Brusquini has been able to do it, and the Muvee tech support is responsive. Perhaps they can help you find the settings.

      Best regards,
      Mic

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    2. I've been chatting with Muvee support. Nice people, just couldn't help me. They only guarantee compatibility with Gear 360 or one of those types.
      I wonder what Ulf Brusquini means by "you have to create the layout first" I've tried Autopano but it wants two files to get started.
      So far though I am very impressed with the images and video from the camera!

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    3. Hi Paul. Maybe you can contact Ulf by making a comment on his video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8JbW5hjqvI

      Re Autopano, you may have to use a video editor to split the file into left and right halves (each with one circular fisheye).

      Best regards,
      Mic

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    4. Thanks, I'll see what I can do it in Final Cut Pro.
      Ok, now I can see his workflow in the video description.

      Delete

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