This guide is intended for Insta360 Pro users after production has finished. If you are in search of resources for recording on the Insta360, please see our article [Insta360 Pro #1] Recording Workflow.
This article will walk you through the steps to organize your files, stitch your video, import in Premiere Pro, encode proxies, attach proxies, and export your final video.
Important disclaimer: the Insta360 Pro has many options in terms of resolution, frame rate, settings (monoscopic vs. stereoscopic), etc. This workflow is intended to be an overview of the process but your exact settings may vary from those in our screenshots. For reference, our test footage in the screenshots used the following settings: 5.2K, 29.97 fps, monoscopic (2D).
File organization is of high importance in Post Production. With insta360 footage, it takes on extra importance. We will be creating multiple copies of your media (original un-stitched footage, stitched full resolution footage, and proxy footage) so we need to keep these all clearly organized.
Start by creating a project folder - in our screenshot, this is "insta 360 test"
When copying the files from the SD card to your hard drive, it is best to create a folder that indicates that the contents are the original camera media. We recommend creating a folder named "original media."
Copy your footage into the Original Media folder.
You may have multiple "VID" folders, depending on how many clips you recorded. Inside each of these "VID" folders, you will see multiple video files that we need to stitch together.
If you used real-time stitchings (RTS) and the camera stitched your footage while you were recording, skip ahead to the next section "Importing in Premiere."
Open the "Insta360Stitcher" Application. This software is installed in the DPL (Ansin 809).
You will be prompted to sign in to your insta360 account. If you do not already have an account, follow the steps to create your free insta360 account on their website. NOTE: As a part of the registration process, an automated email will be sent with a verification code. If you use your Emerson email address, mimecast will hold this email. Sign into Mimecast to retrieve the verification code and/or permit the sender.
Once you are signed into the insta360 application, drag and drop the "VID" folders from finder to the left side of the insta360 application
If you import multiple "VID" folders, you will see them listed on the left of the insta360 application. You can also preview your settings in this list. Next to the "VID" folder name, you will see the resolution (in our screenshot, 5.2K) and mono/stereoscopic setting (in our screenshot, 2D or monoscopic).
In the center of the application, you will see a preview of your footage from one lens of the camera.
On the right side of the insta360 application, you will find the settings for our (soon to be) stitched file. Make sure to assess these carefully based on the settings you used on the camera.
Content Type: Monoscopic or Stereoscopic (if your footage is monoscopic, this will be your only option. If your footage is stereoscopic, open the drop-down menu and select the correct setting)
Scroll down to "Output" and check the following settings:
Resolution: set this based on your footage
Output Format: set to MOV(ProRes/H.264/H.265)
Codec Type: ProRes 422 HQ
Frame Rate: set this based on your footage
At the bottom of the settings panel, we need to set the Output Directory Path and Output File Name.
Output Directory Path: Click the folder icon to open a Finder window where you can navigate to the project folder on your hard drive. Create a new folder next to the original media folder - name this "Stitched Media" and click "open."
Now we can change the Output File Name, if you wish. If you want to easily reference your original media based on the file name, leave this as it is.
Once everything is set, click "Add to Batch list"
If necessary, repeat the steps of this section for each clip you need to stitch.
All the clips you've added to the batch list will appear in the bottom of the insta360 application window. When you are ready, click the play button to begin encoding stitched versions of your footage.
You can monitor the status in the same place as each clip encodes.
Once the encoding has finished, you can find your stitched footage in Finder in the "Stitched Media" folder you created.
Importing in Premiere
Launch Adobe Premiere Pro and start a new Project.
If you are new to Premiere, here is an article on starting a new project: Starting a New Project in Premiere
Drag and drop your media from a Finder window into your empty project window.
To create a sequence with the exact settings of your footage, right click on a clip and select "New Sequence from Clip."
Rename your sequence (by default, it will use the same name as your clip and this can easily cause confusion).
Now you can scrub through your footage in your timeline.
Premiere View Settings
By default, the Premiere Source and Program windows will show you a flattened view of your footage. If you would like to mimic a 360 view, take the following steps:
Under Program window, click the settings wrench icon. From the menu, navigate to "VR Video" then select "enable."
This will give you a square view. You can click and drag around the image to rotate your view. If you want a wider field-of-view, click the settings wrench again and navigate to VR video then select "settings"
Change the Monitor View Horizontal setting to be wider - 180 will show you half of the horizontal view in a 360 image.
Now, you should have the following view in Premiere Pro
Now, you can play your footage in the timeline and click and drag on the program monitor.
If you would like, you can repeat these steps for the source monitor on the left.
Proxies for Premiere Pro
Depending on the resolution of your footage, the speed of your hard drive, or the specs of your computer, you might find that the playback is not very smooth. You may also find that when you hit play, it takes a few seconds for the footage to begin playback. If that is the case, proxies are the answer. You can create or attach proxies at any point in the process, so there is no need to worry if you've already done a lot of editing.
If you haven't used them before, proxies are just lower resolution copies of your media. When the clips are a lower resolution, they play more smoothly in your editing software. If set up properly, you will not lose any resolution in your final export by editing with proxies.
To create proxies, launch Adobe Media Encoder.
Drag and drop one clip from your Stitched Media folder into the Queue window of Media Encoder. If you have multiple clips, it is best to start with one clip and go through all of the settings before you add the rest of your clips.
Underneath the name of your video, you will see a Format and a Preset in blue text. Click the blue text for one of these settings to open advanced video settings.
You should see the following window:
Under the Export Settings, use the following settings:
Preset: Apple ProRes 422
Export Video and Export Audio should both be checked on.
Scroll down in the settings. Under "Video" you can confirm the codec (should be Apple ProRes 422).
Here is where we can also set the proxy resolution. Remove the check mark next to the resolution.
What resolution should you use for your proxies? Good question! That depends on a lot of factors, including the original resolution of your footage, the speed of your hard drive, etc. Half resolution is often sufficient but quarter resolution proxies may be better for very large resolutions.
In our test footage, we are using 5.2K footage. I'm going to create half resolution proxies. Half of 5120x2560 would be 2560x1280.
Scroll to the bottom of the video settings to find the "VR Video" section.
Make sure that there is a check mark next to "Video is VR"
Set your Frame layout (monoscopic vs stereoscopic)
Set your horizontal and vertical Field of View
Now, open the audio settings.
By default, the output channels will be set to "Stereo." We need to change this to "4 Channels" since the insta360 records 4 audio channels.
When all of that is set, click "OK"
Now you will be brought back to the Queue window. You should see "Quicktime" under the preset and "custom" under the format.
If you have any other clips in need of proxies, you can drag and drop them into your Queue at this time. They should default to the same settings you selected for the first clip, but it is still a good idea to double-check the settings.
Now, we need to set the location for our proxy files.
Highlight all the clips in your Queue (shortcut: click on one clip, then press CMD+A to select all).
Click on the blue text under "output file."
This will open a Finder window.
Create a new folder named "proxy media" next to the "original media" and "stitched media" folders.
We do not recommend re-naming the clip since we are organizing the different media types though folders.
When you are ready to being encoding your proxies, click the play button at the top of the Queue window.
You can monitor the progress in the "Encoding" window at the bottom of the Media Encoder application.
Once encoding has finished, you should see your new clips in the Proxy Media folder.
Attaching Proxies in Premiere Pro
To attach your new Proxies, highlight your clips in the project window.
Right click and navigate to Proxy/Attach Proxies...
If you had multiple clips highlighted, you will see a list of them in the following window.
Starting with the first clip, click "Attach"
This will bring you to a window where you can locate your proxy media. On the left of the window, click on your Proxy Media folder.
You should see all your proxy clips fill the rest of the window. Find the clip that matches the name at the top of this window.
Often times, Premiere begins to recognize the clips in the Proxy Media Folder and automatically attaches as many proxies as it can. If this does not happen, repeat these steps for the remainder of your clips.
Now, you can playback your footage and edit more easily using proxies.
Underneath the program window, there is a toggle Proxies button.
When this button is blue, you are viewing proxies. When it is white, you are viewing full resolution media.
When you finish editing and export your project, Premiere will automatically use the full resolution media.
Editing in Premiere Pro
Functionally, editing VR footage works the same as regular footage. You can add clips to your timeline, trim them, and add color correction using all the normal tools. If you are not familiar with editing in Premiere, we suggest signing up for our Premiere Pro Workshop: Post Production Workshops
In addition, VR has a few extra tools that might be useful as you edit your project.
To access effects, open the "Window" drop-down menu and select "Effects"
Open the Immersive Video folder to browse effects that are specific to VR and 360 video.
If you apply any of these effects to a clip in your timeline, you will need to open the Effect Controls window to manage the effect. Open the "windows" drop-down again and select "Effect Controls"
Now you can fine-tune the effect(s) you've added.
Exporting from Premiere Pro
Once you have finished editing, it is time to export your project.
Make sure your timeline window is highlighted. You should see a blue box around the timeline area of the application.
Open the "Export" tab at the top of the application.
Name the file that you will create. Since you may end up exporting multiple times throughout the process, we recommend adding the date to your file name.
Now choose a location to save your exported file. Click on the blue text next to "location." We recommend making a folder for exported files on your hard drive.
Once you have created your new Exports folder, click "Save."
The default Preset and Format settings are a great choice for this type of media.
Preset: Match Source: Adaptive High Bit Rate
Now we need to check the rest of our video settings.
If these items are grayed out, it means they are matched to your sequence settings. It is still best to check the resolution and frame rate to make sure it matches your footage. In our screenshot, we are using 5.2 resolution (5120x2560) and 29.97 FPS. Your settings may vary based on your footage.
Click the "... More" button at the bottom of the video settings.
Scroll to the bottom of this section to check VR Video settings.
You should see a check mark next to "Video is VR"
Make sure your Frame Layout is set based on your footage (our footage is Monoscopic, but yours may be Stereoscopic)
Check that your Horizontal Field of View and Vertical Field of View are set properly. The insta360 camera can record in 360 degrees horizontally and 180 degrees vertically.
Now open your Audio settings and check that they are set based on your project. Our project used stereo audio, but yours may differ.
Once you have all of your export settings finished, click "export" at the bottom right corner of the application.
You can monitor the progress in the following window.
Once it is finished, you can find your new exported file in the Exports folder that you created.