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How to Edit 360 Video for VR in Premiere Pro and After Effects

How to Edit 360 Video for VR in Premiere Pro and After Effects

Before you can create your VFX, you will need to cut your 360 video for VR in Premiere Pro/After Effects.

We’ve already broken down the essentials of how 360 video works, as well as how to shoot 360 video for virtual reality. Now we’re going to tackle the various workflows for editing the 360 video you captured, and also how to digitally create 360 video for VR from scratch.

How to Edit 360 Video for VR in Premiere Pro 

Not only can Premiere Pro handle basic editing and VR-specific transitions for your imported 360 footage, but you can also use it to composite elements into your 360 scene, such as other videos, graphics, and text.
Matt from Cinematography Design does an awesome job explaining some of the VR effects in Premiere Pro, as well as what export settings you’ll want to use for uploading to YouTube.
If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into all of Premiere Pro’s 360 video editing capabilities, such as editing stereoscopic 360 footage, check out Jason Levine’s tutorial here.

How to Create a 360 Video for VR in After Effects

The great thing about using something like Premiere Pro or After Effects to create 360 video, is that you can create an entire video for VR without needing to purchase a camera, or third-party software. If you have access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, you can create 360 content for VR.

Below is a great tutorial that will help you to get your feet wet when it comes to the process of 360 editing in After Effects’ new 360 comp editor. You can actually take a pre-existing AE project and easily convert it to a VR comp, utilizing assets already within the project itself - so there’s a wide array of possibilities for creating complex VR videos simply within After Effects. 
If you don’t have a 360 camera, but would like a 360 spherical background photo for your video, you can use a mobile app like Google Street View to capture a 360 image with your phone, then import and edit it in After Effects.  It’s an incredibly smooth process with astounding results.

How to Preview Immersive VR/360 Video in Premiere Pro with a VR Headset

While you can certainly edit VR/360 video without a VR headset, previewing your video within that immersive environment enables you to experience what your scene truly looks like in VR.  Here’s what that process looks like in Premiere Pro:
If you don’t already have a VR headset, that brings us to the next question you may be asking.

Which Headset is Best for Editing Video in VR?

If you’re interested in possibly creating VR games/interactive experiences in the future, you would probably want to go with an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. On the cheaper (and slightly less-featured) side of the spectrum, Windows Mixed Reality headsets have become a great option for many people, especially with their internal tracking ability, higher resolution, and more affordable price.

Both are supported by Adobe - however, there are trade-offs to each of these headsets, and PC World provides all the information you need to make an informed decision about which one you’d like to purchase.

How to Set Up a VR Headset for Video Editing in Premiere Pro

After you decide on the headset you want, you’ll need to configure it to work within Premiere Pro’s immersive environment. Adobe provides a simple guide on how to do that here.

How to Render 360 VR Video for YouTube and Facebook from Adobe Media Encoder

It’s a pretty straightforward process, but you’ll want to export with the following settings, as detailed by Adobe:
  • Select Export Settings, then Video Settings
  • Encode the video in either H.264 or Quicktime
  • Check the Video is VR box, and choose your video layout
  • Under Export Settings, use the setting called Stretch to Fill Scaling
  • Go to Export Settings, then click Publish to upload directly to YouTube or Facebook.
As you can tell, editing video for VR is a pretty nuanced process that requires a lot of attention to detail, but the end result can be well worth it.

So far, Adobe has been at the forefront of bringing new tools to empower VR filmmakers everywhere, and they’ve done a terrific job streamlining the VR filmmaking process. Spend some time creating a VR comp in After Effects, and have fun!

First time here? ActionVFX creates action stock footage for VFX and filmmaking. (We also have some great free stuff!)

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