Mono vs stereo !
One question we get asked a lot is what is the difference between monoscopic (mono) and
stereoscopic (stereo) 360 videos.
A matter of life or death
Simply put, Stereo images provide a different image to each eye, whereas mono images show the same image to both eyes. In real life, obviously we see a slight different perspective from each eye. This gives us depth perception which has been critical for the evolution of many species of animals in order to be able to sense extra 3D information about their environments.
Check out our handy video!
If you check out the video below with any VR headset you will see the difference as we change between mono and stereo throughout the video. If you are watching on your computer, tablet or a phone without VR you won’t get the benefit as both your eyes will see the same image
The world is flat!
Most 360 video on the market these days is mono because it is cheaper and easier to produce, but it can look a little flat like the world around you is stuck to a giant ball.
Stereo is better
Stereo content provides a vastly better experience for the viewer because things look 3D like you could almost reach out and touch them. Your brain gets similar information to what it would expect so it is also more comfortable to view if correctly created.
Just photoshop it!
Producing stereo content is much more difficult however as we can simply retouch a single image to get the results we need, instead we need to carefully manage the left and right eye images to make sure each object appears consistently and is at the correct distance to the camera
So how does stereo 360 differ from the much hyped 3D glasses we were all told would be the next big thing a few years ago? In one word that would be ‘immersion’. Any content shown with traditional 3D glasses will look really weird around the edges of the image, where that zombie popping right out at the camera suddenly gets cut in two by the edge of the frame, it really breaks the illusion. Stereo content viewed in a VR headset will surround the viewer in a much more consistent way.
HOW many cameras do I need?!
We can film 180 degree stereo videos with only 2 cameras that gives great results with a more limited field of view. Good quality 360 stereo content uses at least 8 cameras and as many as 24 in some of the higher end rigs on the market today.
Which should I choose?
Mono video is great for any 360 content that might get viewed mainly on computers, phones or tablets. If you have the budget and your audience has VR headsets then stereo would always be the best choice