Home Forums 360° Video Distinction between 360 Panoramic Video vs VR?

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    Keram Malicki-Sanchez
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    Just returned from the NAB Show in Vegas. I met with Video-Stitch, Freedom360 and 360Heros. I wonder what the distinction really is between 360 panoramic video and VR, besides the headset? is there a distinction in authoring methods? Does VR set itself apart by stereoscopic imagery or interactivity? Or are they one and the same?

    I would like to hear your thoughts, but also, details about workflow differences…


    Sam Rohn
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    hi keram

    “VR” (Virtual Reality) would be a way of displaying various content including but not limited to 360° Video, VR content could also include CGI imagery, still 360° panoramas etc

    typically, VR these days refers to stereoscopic (or false stereo) content in one of the above formats viewed in a headset such as Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, etc

    360° Video has other applications besides VR headsets as well, site specific installations with dome projection, viewing in normal web browser, etc

    here is a quick sample 360° video of times square on youtube, chrome is required for proper viewing of youtube 360° video

    and a krpano interactive version here –

    Times Square :: New York City – 360° Video

    workflow for 360° video and preparing any content for VR are sort of separate things, and VR is much more than just 360° video, have a look at our upcoming Prague 2015 Conference where we will have several presentations on all of the above :)

    Prague 2015



    Keram Malicki-Sanchez
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    • Forum Posts: 2

    Thanks Sam so much for your reply.


    – usually stereoscopic
    – uses goggles

    – dome projections
    – viewable in browser

    But I have seen 2D VR. ANd I have viewed Pano video and photos in goggles.

    So what else distinguishes the two?


    Sam Rohn
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    hmm, i don’t think i would not put it exactly like that…

    pano or panorama are both very broadly applied terms, it could refer to a simple unstitched wide angle crop, or iphone panorama mode, or a stereographic little planet, etc, but for the purposes of VR, we are typically talking about full 360° x 180° sphere, which can be projected (as in cartographic projection) as either a “flat” image which could be printed out on a piece of paper or an interactive spherical panorama which could be viewed in either a web browser or VR headset or projected (as in film projector) in a dome, etc etc

    see these links for info on image projections, same concept as a flat wall map of the spherical planet earth




    VR or virtual reality can also be a somewhat abstract term with no absolute meaning, but these days it generally refers to content viewed in a HMD (head mounted display) as mentioned in my previous post, oculus rift, samsung gearvr, google cardboard etc but “VR” has also been applied (or perhaps misapplied) to normal web panos for many years, although headset displays for computers as VR as per jaron lanier etc have been around since at least the 1980s, i suppose “true” virtual reality would be a matrix – holodeck situation…

    here is one of my panos on 360° cities, if you view this link on a mobile device you will see a headset icon which will allow split screen view false stereo for HMD, otherwise it will just display as “normal” interactive pano, same content, just different display code


    final release of krpano 1.19 will include support for VR HMD display, should be final by summer 2015, here is info and beta version


    stereoscopy or stereoscopic photography, “true” stereo (which requires 2 cameras or positions for proper interaxial distance etc) vs non stereo or false stereo (only one camera or position displayed in HMD split screen etc) etc is another and more specialized topic with its own set of technical requirements and limitations especially when aplied to spherical imagery displayed as “VR” or normal web browser and anaglyphic red/blue glasses etc, but if one were in a true virtual reality CGI environment like star trek holodeck that allowed you to actually choose what to do and where to go as opposed to only seeing from a predetermined camera position or path, one would also be seeing with normal human stereo vision and aids depth perception etc, but for HMD or other current techniques actually shooting stereo may not always be necessary or practical, it sort of depends on the specific content and other factors…

    here is a true stereo panorama set up for HMD viewing by Brad Bohonus


    and here is another true stereo pano set up for anaglyph glasses by Thomas Sharpless


    also see this post on the nodal ninja forums for more info on producing true stereo panos –


    and these posts on the panoramic photographers on facebook group


    and of course, this is a rapidly evolving field, and i think the next year will bring lots of exciting developments :)



    Sam Rohn
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    also see this video of John Carmack discussing VR, panoramic photography, 360° video, etc

    and this talk by Chris Milk on virtual reality and filmmaking –


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