No gimbal? Insta360 One says app update offers better stabilization anyway

The smartphone add-on 360 camera Insta360 One is powering more mobile capabilities, including stabilization and on-the-go editing. On Tuesday, March 20, Insta360 announced an app update that brings FlowState stabilization, along with mobile editing options. The update will roll out to the Insta360 One app on iOS and Android this week.

The FlowState option adds stabilization to the camera using a firmware update — the company even claims that the technology creates a video smoother than a smartphone gimbal. As a software update, there’s of course no change to the add-on camera’s hardware to integrate optical stabilization. But, stabilizing 360 video is an entirely different beast from steadying a standard camera.

Insta360 didn’t share its insights into how the new tech works, but with the entire view available, algorithms could potentially just adjust the viewing angle. Unlike electronic stabilization that crops the video, 360 programs could use the rest of the image instead of cropping the view. The Insta360 One isn’t the first 360 to integrate stabilization — the Garmin Virb 360 uses on-board sensors to stabilize video.

The developers also say that the stabilization helps the Insta360 One to shoot better hyper-lapses, or a time-lapse where the camera is moving throughout the video.

Along with the stabilization, Insta360 One is also gaining several new editing tools for sharing 360 videos without a computer. New modes allow 360 videographers to choose the direction the viewer sees. With Pivot Points, the camera follows set points within the footage, making sure the viewer doesn’t miss out on any essential action because they were looking in the opposite direction. Viewfinder allows edits to manually control the view, editing how the video plays out by moving the smartphone. The SmartTrack option, which was previously available but is newly updated, will also direct where the viewer is looking, but follows a specific object.

The Insta360 One is a smartphone-attachable 360 camera that retails for about $300. Originally iOS only, the company launched an Android adapter late last year, expanding the app to Google Play. The camera can also shoot video while unattached from the smartphone. Using dual lenses, the camera can capture 4K at 30 fps or stitch together 24-megapixel stills.

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