Modern technologies allow us to create fascinating content. It is also true for 360-degree videos that provide new immersive experiences for viewers.
Although 360-degree videos are not something completely new, such videos began to gain popularity in 2015 with Facebook and YouTube supporting playback of this type of content.
At the moment, 360-degree videos can be watched with headsets like Oculus Go or Playstation VR, on a mobile phone either with a Cardboard Viewer or with a YouTube app, or desktop.
What is behind a 360-degree video?
Creating a 360-degree video requires a set of cameras or one camera with several lenses embedded into it. Later, the footage is “stitched” together to form a spherical video.
As for playback, the equirectangular projection used to be a standard that depicts a part of a sphere as a flat image. This projection maps longitude and latitude to even straight lines. But the equirectangular projection has several disadvantages. First of all, the quality of a video is somewhat inferior to the middle while the image in the bottom and top is of excellent quality with a high density of pixels. Secondly, the inevitable distortion makes video compression harder to perform.
Given these drawbacks, YouTube developers checked possible projections in search of a better solution for 360-degree videos and as a result, established a new standard - Equi-angular Cubemap or EAC - an improved version cube map projection.
Cube mapping is widely used in video games. A sphere is “put inside” a cube, and it is depicted onto the cube’s six faces which are flattened. This projection is better than the equirectangular one, but it still has a significant disadvantage: unbalanced pixel density. That means pixels are allotted equally at different distances on the cube’s faces. As a result, image quality is good at the corners of the cube and more reduced at the centre.
Equi-angular Cubemap projection allocates pixels corresponding pixels for equal angular change. It ensures exceptional video quality with little distortion.
This change was introduced in 2017 by YouTube developers. Since then, all 360-degree videos are encoded in a new format. For sure, EAC secures a good quality. Still, it also eliminates the possibility to play a 360-degree video on your computer offline. There are no media players that support EAC. A video is divided into two stripes when you open it.
4K Video Downloader is also affected by YouTube innovation. Many users have faced the issue of not being able to play a downloaded 360-degree video. Our team has done a challenging job, but now it is possible to download a 360-degree video in equirectangular projection! Moreover, we have found two good media players to open such videos to enjoy great content offline on your computer.
How can you download and play a 360-degree video from YouTube?
1. Download and install the latest version of
4K Video Downloader
for your PC, macOS or Linux.
2. Go to YouTube and do a search for ‘360-degree video’.
3. Pick the one you like, copy and paste the link into the 4K Video Downloader.
4. Choose 720p 360°E or 360p 360°E resolution at the popped up window after the parsing. The video will be downloaded in equirectangular projection.
7. Open the downloaded 360-degree video with any of the two media players.
8. Enable 360-degree mode.
Many users enjoy 360-degree videos on their devices and 4K Download Teams strives to make sure they can do it also offline despite the recent YouTube change.