With software ‘magic,’ Insta360 will soon allow 8K playback on smartphones

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Viewing immersive content hasn’t yet caught up to the increasing resolution of 360 cameras — but 360 camera manufacturer Insta360 has developed a solution that will allow viewers to watch 8K immersive content, even if the only thing they have is a smartphone. On Wednesday, May 30, Insta360 announced CrystalView, a tech that will allow 8K playback even on mobile devices that don’t yet support 8K by using different algorithms to prioritize only the content currently being viewed. The announcement also comes with FarSight, a new remote system that allows videographers to hide the crew by operating the camera from up to 1.86 miles away.

CrystalView aims to help bring high-resolution content to headsets and smartphones that only support a 4K resolution. How? The software downsamples the portions of the video that the viewer isn’t looking at. That reduced resolution allows the program to prioritize the view that is actually being watched. 

By sectioning out the video and prioritizing what is actually on the screen at the time, CrystalView allows the 8K resolution 360 videos to be not quite so taxing on the hardware that is trying to manage such a large file. An 8K 360 video has 8,000 pixels stretched across the entire 360 view, which means, in many cases, it’s the file size and not the screen resolution that limits the playback quality.

CrystalView’s less demanding format will help when streaming on demand, as well as for reviewing videos stored on the device, Insta360 says. The concept is first coming to Insta360 Player this summer, but the company also plans to make a software development kit that will allow other companies to add the feature to their playback programs. The update is coming to Insta360 Player sometime this summer, the company says.

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For 360 creators, one of the challenges of shooting in every direction is hiding the crew from the footage. Insta360 is working to make that a simpler task to tackle with the new FarSight system for the Insta360 Pro. FarSight uses a pair of transmitters and receivers to send the video a wider range than built-in Wi-Fi allows.

The receiver can display 1080p video, allowing a real-time preview and control of the camera. The system works up to 0.31 miles away ground-to-ground, or 1.86 miles air-to-ground. The system is slated for a summer release, with compatibility with Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android, as well as tablets and routers.

On Wednesday, May 30, Insta360 also announced that an Adobe Premiere Pro extension is coming this week. The previously announced plug-in saves stitching as the last step while still allowing for stitched previews, which helps save time by giving the computer a smaller file to work with until the edits are completed. The Insta360 Stitcher 1.7.0 will export a fully stitched version at the end. The beta version is coming in the next few days, the company says.

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