YouTube is making VR and 360 videos look 'more realistic'

YouTube has supported 360-degree and VR videos for a while, and now it is making changes that will improve the quality of those videos. According to a new report from the service's engineering team, a joint effort is taking place between Daydream and YouTube to make these types of videos look more realistic, doing so using 'better projection methods.'

YouTubes goes on to explain that the projection is the way the 360-degree content is mapped onto the rectangular video surface, producing the curvy, warped image we've all seen by now. When the service first launched 360-degree video support, it used equirectangular projection, which is perhaps the most commonly used. Using this projection variety made things easy to edit and it is simple for camera software to produce.

However, as with all nice things, there are downsides, namely that the highest quality parts of these videos are at the very top and bottom, the areas people are least likely to focus their attention. As well, 3D content receives less vertical pixels, and these videos are hard to compress due to straight line motion issues.

To get around this issue, YouTube has created what it calls an equiangular Cubemap (EAC), which is a combination of typical equirectangular projection and Cubemap projection, eliminating many of the issues associated with both. The end result is a projection with a very evenly spread quality that doesn't concentrate in specific areas. This could, the company says, one day become the new industry standard for such videos.

SOURCE: Google Blog