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Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 360 improves app, adds image stabilization and it’s amazing! See the video!

Image stabilization added to Xiaomi Mijia MI SPHERE 360 Camera
Image stabilization added to Xiaomi Mijia MI SPHERE 360 Camera

Xiaomi updated their app to fix a few things, including enabling users to export gyro-stabilized 360 videos from the Mi Sphere 360 camera!  Check out the video!

I’ve had the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere 3.5K and the camera itself is amazing.  The photo and video quality are impressive (see here for photo comparison, and see here for video comparison).

The only problem was the Mi Sphere’s app.  The Mi Sphere app can connect to the Mi Sphere easily and I can control the camera, see the live preview, etc.  The issue is the stitching and export of videos.  In short, I wasn’t able to export stabilized 360 video on previous versions of the Mi Sphere app.

On an iPhone 6 and SE, it seemed that export resolution was limited to 2304 x 1152.  On my Samsung S6, I could only get 1920 x 960.  On my Samsung S8+, I could get the full resolution, but only by using their video editor, which was limited to 5 minutes.

I also noticed that there was image stabilization, but somehow, exported videos were not stabilized.

I pleaded with my GearBest contact person to talk to Xiaomi to fix the app of an otherwise amazing camera.  I don’t know if it’s because of that, but last Saturday, Xiaomi released an app update (1.6.4.12888) that did fix the exporting.  Moreover, the exported video now included image stabilization!

With that update, the Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere now becomes the first 360 camera for consumers with built-in image stabilization.  (Insta360 Nano and Insta360 Air have image stabilization but they require the phone’s gyro and must be attached to the phone.)

DEMONSTRATION
Here’s the video:

What an incredible feature! 😀

ADVANTAGES
Having image stabilization built into the camera has many advantages over a stabilized gimbal for 360 cameras:
– No additional cost: 360 gimbals cost $300 to $350.  On the Xiaomi, stabilization comes included with the camera.
– Nothing to carry: 360 gimbals can be bulky to carry and take up quite a bit of space in your camera bag.  With the Xiaomi, there’s nothing extra to carry.
– Nothing to charge: 360 gimbals have long-lasting batteries but they need to be charged nonetheless.  On the Xiaomi, there’s nothing extra that you need to charge to get the stabilization feature.
– No obstruction: 360 gimbals have limits to the way you can move the camera to avoid bumping the counterweight or support arm with the handle.  With the Xiaomi, there’s nothing to bump and you have total freedom of movement.
– No additional weight.   Current 360 gimbals have counterweights and after a couple of minutes holding the gimbal, you’ll feel the weight, especially if you’re using the gimbal with a monopod.  The Xiaomi Mi Sphere is very light and easy to carry for long periods of time.
– No setup time.  To use a 360 camera on a gimbal, you at least need to attach the camera to the gimbal, which can take at least a couple of minutes.  If you’re switching between cameras, the gimbal will have to be re-balanced.  By contrast, the Xiaomi is ready to shoot anytime.
– Nothing visible.  Perhaps the most significant advantage for 360 content producers is that the Xiaomi’s stabilization is totally invisible to the camera.  If you forgo a ballhead and simply attach the Xiaomi in line with the selfie stick or monopod, the Xiaomi and selfie stick will disappear from the camera’s view! (except for their shadow).

LIMITS
These are significant advantages for any 360 shooter, whether casual or professional.  However, as I mentioned in the video, there are several limits with the Xiaomi’s stabilization:

1. It seems that a few (around 1 in 10) videos will not have stabilization (the gyro option doesn’t appear) when viewing the video in the app.  I don’t know if this is fixable.
2. When gyro stabilization is turned on, the horizon rolls to the right gradually (compare 4:00 of the video with around 4:30 of the video) up to around 30 degrees.  I don’t know if this is a defect in my unit or in all cameras, or in the app. –> UPDATE: I tested this at my workplace, and there was no gyro error. My hypothesis is that the gyros were being affected by the powerlines near our house.
3. I can’t seem to export non-stabilized 360 video in this version of the app.
4. Exporting video with gyro stabilization requires Android app version 1.6.4.12888 or higher.
5. Most significantly, I’ve only been able to export stabilized video using a Samsung S7* or S8. On other phones I tried, I can see the stabilization in the app, but I haven’t been able to do it yet on a Samsung S6, iPhone 6, or iPhone SE.
*I don’t have an S7 but I sent unstitched files from the Xiaomi to my friend and tech vlogger Pepe Vazquez, who confirmed that he was able to get full resolution stabilized video from them.

There are third party apps that can be used to stitch Xiaomi videos in full resolution — Muvee for Mac OS, Video Stitch, and Mettle Skybox plug-in are some of them (Autopano Video likely can, too).  However, I don’t think the videos will be stabilized (I could be wrong).

WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE A COMPATIBLE PHONE?
Here’s my suggestion: if you don’t have an S7 or S8 or a phone with Snapdragon 820 or higher, buy a used Samsung S7 to render Xiaomi videos (not to replace your phone).  This might sound extreme, but you saw the long list of advantages, and for many people, the advantages may outweigh the disadvantages, even factoring the cost of getting a Samsung S7.
A stabilized gimbal is not cheap at around $300 to $350.  Meanwhile, if you hunt carefully on eBay, you can find a Samsung S7  below $300, especially if the screen has a crack (which won’t affect the rendering of course).  See here.  I don’t suggest one with Bad ESN because you might not be able to update the Android OS which might be needed to run the app properly.
HOW TO USE THE GYRO STABILIZATION FEATURE
1. If you haven’t done so, download the Xiaomi app.  Android version here. iOS version here (although as of May 22, 2017, I haven’t been able to export stabilized 360 video from the iOS version of the Xiaomi app).
2. Update the app to version 1.6.4.12888 or later.  On iOS, go to the App Store to update (As of 5/22/17, the version I have is 1.6.3).  For the Android version, here’s how to update: a. on the main screen “discover” on top, tap on the person icon on top left.  b. tap on “more help”.  c. tap on app version. it will tell you if there is an update available.
3.  Update the firmware.  Here’s how to update: a. on the main screen “discover” on top, tap on the person icon on top left.  b. tap on “more help”.  c. tap on firmware version. it will tell you if there is an update available.  If there is, it can update your firmware wirelessly — be sure your camera is charged!
4. Record the video as normal (you don’t need to have the camera connected to the phone while recording).
5.  Download the video to the app.  On the gallery screen of the Xiaomi app, tap on the video, then on the bottom, tap on “download”.
6.  When the video is downloaded, go back to the gallery screen of the Xiaomi app, and select the “Local” tab on top.
7.  On the Local tab, tap on the newly downloaded video.  On the bottom, tap on the icon with three dots to bring up the menu.  You should see the option for “Gyro calibration,” which toggles the stabilization effect.
8.  To export the video, tap on “Export to phone.”  You can also tap on “Edit” on the bottom to use the video editor to trim the video or add music.  (At this time, in version 1.6.4.12888, I can’t seem to export a non-stabilized 360 video).WHERE TO BUY
Notwithstanding the limitations, Xiaomi Mi Sphere’s image stabilization is an incredibly useful feature, which catapults the Mi Sphere to the top of my recommended list.  If you’d like to buy one, you can buy one here from GearBest, which ships to around 260+ countries around the world.  They also ship pretty quickly. I paid $9 for expedited shipping and got my order in less than a week (I’m based in Los Angeles).  Thank you very much for using the link above to support 360 Rumors at no additional cost to you so I can do more tests and reviews!

About the author

Mic Ty

52 Comments

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  • Thanks Mic,

    Do you have to have a Galaxy S7 to stitch photos or just video? (Not really interested in video at the moment).

    Also did they add an intervalometer? I have been hassling them for it!

    • Hi Adam. For photos, I have had no problems at all from any Android or iPhone that I’ve tried. It stitches photos at full resolution without complaints. There’s no intervalometer in the app right now. I’ve asked too. I hope they do add it, for Street View shooters, etc.

      Best regards,
      Mic

  • I was pretty excited about this update, but I have to say, I’m a little disappointed so far. I’ve shot two videos since updating, and both videos, which are comprised of me holding the camera up while driving, if I watch the video without stabilization, its of course shake, but it stays put. If I turn on stabilization, after a few seconds everything starts to slowly rotate, so we end looking in a completely different direction and, worse, everything has rotated on the z-axis by 90 degrees, so everything is sideways.
    So frustrating!! The stabilization is so good, but I feel like I’ll never be able to use it. I wonder if the gyro in my camera is broken?

    • Hi Brian. Mine has an issue like that as well. If you compare 4:00 of the video and 4:30 of the video, you’ll find it’s tilted. But I found that at my workplace, the gyro doesn’t drift. I think the drifting is due to power lines near my house. In your car, maybe it’s the car engine itself? Perhaps you could try testing it in an isolated area (no power lines, no large bodies of water) on a tripod.

      Best regards,
      Mic

  • I hope the compatibility with smartphone will increase
    (At least high-end like OnePlus 3)
    If they keep on updating app (like Insta) will be great.

  • Salut la version de mishpere 16…1288 apporte un léger défaut sur les vidéo. Un effet de vague et d’ondulation sur la vidéo apparaît (regarder la vidéo à 4 min sur la table ou est entreposé les perches monopod ). Cela fait pareille cher moi . J’ai du réinstaller la version misphere1.6.0.11.908 . Le problème disparaît mais mes vidéo sont de moins bonne résolution. De plus je suis obligé d’insérer un métadata 360 pour qu’elle soit prise en compte sur pc et facebook. Espérons que ce défaut soit corrigé . Dite moi si c’est pareille pour vous? MERCI

    • Salut Yoann. Oui, je vois l’ondulation, mais je pense que c’est un compromis acceptable pour obtenir la stabilité. Peut-être que vous pouvez installer les deux versions et utiliser la version plus récente lorsque vous avez besoin de stabilisation.

      Hi Yoann. Yes I can see the undulation, but I think it is an acceptable compromise to get stabilization. Maybe you can install both versions and use the newer one when you need stabilization.

      Best regards,
      Mic

  • Mine arrived in the mail today, as far as I can tell the stabilization works with my Nexus 6P (gyro calibration and phone gyro options are both available on export). So far I’m very impressed, pictures and video are way sharper than my Theta. Build quality feels great too, if they keep adding new features to the app it’ll be tough to beat at this price point.

    • Thanks TeflonJon! That’s great to know! Can you test the export to see what resolution you’re getting?

      Best regards,
      Mic

      • No problem Mic😊
        They appear to be 3456×1728 and 2304×1152 respectively, same resolution as the unstitched files according to the file details in my gallery.

        • The exported files sizes are approximately 75% of the unstitched file sizes, so clearly there’s some compression going on, but they still look very good (and I’m able to edit them in the Theta+ photo and video apps 😊)

        • Thanks TeflonJon! The good news is that your photos and videos could look even better because those are not the maximum resolutions. You may want to check your camera’s settings for the resolution (on the app’s shooting screen, click on the settings icon on the upper right). The photo resolution is up to 6912 x 3456. The video resolution is up to 3456 x 1728. Best regards, Mic

  • Can you export full res video on iphone 6s without stabilisation? Gonna buy something. I prefer the xiaomi to the samsung, but will I be able to use it fully with an iphone?

    • Hi Rich. The iPhone 6S can export stabilized video but not at full resolution. For iPhone, I think the best alternative right now is the Virb 360. Next to that is probably the Gear 360 2017 (for image quality) or Insta360 Nano (for convenience and social media). I will post a comparison using the Xiaomi at its iOS resolution limit (2304 x 1152).

      Best regards,
      Mic

  • Hi, I dont have an S7 or S8 but I have already bought the camera. Im looking for som alternatives.
    First of all, I have Autopano Video Pro but I dont know how to stitch my videos in full resolution.
    I also want to know if the app can run on an emulator for Windows. Can I select an 820 processor in the emulator?
    And I notice that Xiaomi is going to develop a computer app for this camera. Is it true? When is it going to happen?
    Thank you

    • Hi VMGM. One alternative for now is to shoot at 2304 x 1152 (you can set the resolution in the app). Maybe your phone can handle that resolution. Yes it seems that they are working on a desktop app. I don’t know when it will be released…
      Best regards,
      Mic

    • Hi,

      I have been able to stitch near perfect videos at full 3800×1920 resolution. This what I did. Make three small videos, rotating some degrees the cámara on the tripod.
      Extract first frame of the three videos (Photoshop). Name the files 1,2,3. Make copies and name them 4-1,5-2,6-3.(they are the same but we will use only back fisheye lens).
      Load six files in autopano giga. Hi and edit circular crop In image 1,2 and 3 use left lens with 810mm and posición correctly. After that do the same for 4,5 and 6 with the right lens. Now you can detect. You get a perfect fuse of the six images.
      Go to edit, once opened now from property of the lenses delete files 2,3 and 5 and 6. Now you are left with only two images (read lenses) this how you will stitch in the future. Now save as template. You have created was is needed for stitching.

      Try: copy an original video (not stitched) to a copy. Load both into autopano video, sync, now stitch (using the template). You get perfect full resolution results after Rendering. Good luck

  • Hello,

    I have bought the Xiaomi Mijia360 very excited, and now I am angry, since I can not sew at full resolution 3456×1728. I have an Iphone 7 and only export to 2304 × 1152. I’ve also tried to sew using Muvee, but it does not work with this camera, it only works with the Xiaomi MI, and I’ve also tried sewing using Autopano Video Pro, but it’s also not possible since the 190 degrees are little space to get a seam if someone You have succeeded in sharing the template.

    Then I do not know what to do, given that I want to get video at maximum resolution and that it is stabilized. Do you recommend buying a Samsung S7? And that’s a big added cost, not knowing what’s going to happen.

    Any new solutions?

    Thank you

    • Hi, I used autopano video to get full resolution video with very good quality. Read answer on previous post. Or send me email and will answer

  • Hi Mic, thanks for your great explanations. I got a Mi Sphere and a Xiaomi Mi5, but I can’t get the export to phone to work properly. The images are stitched, but can’t be rotated.
    I am on software V1.6.6.13395 now, with firmware V1.3.97.85.5.13333. The Mi5 is on Android 6.01, MIUI 8.1.2.0

    Can you perhaps point me in the right direction?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Hi Mic,

    Lately with my Xiaomi 360 Mijia I have captured photos and in the end I notice the horizon line is misaligned. Compared to the photos initially, something seems not to be okay.

    Have you noticed something like yours?!

  • I agree this is a very good cámara. I have also been able to get full resolution video stitched externally with autopano. Image quality is stunning. I have many examples. Just been on holiday in Scotland and made some really nice photos and videos.

    I bought Xiaomi red mi pro phone due to problems as people mentioned. This has hardware acceleration as this seems to be needed for Stitching in the phone. Very good performance for approx. 200€

  • Would love to be able to apply motion correction in the original non stitched videos and allow external software to do the stitching in full resolution. Or let the app generate full resolution video stitching.

  • So apparently, in order to get stabilized footage, I need to run the footage through the app. And from what I gather, there is no way to do this yet on a pc?

    My question is then, how long does this take to render the footage on an galaxy S7?

    If I were to fill my 128gb card, how long would it take to render all of this on a phone?
    I mean, if I would have to dedicate my phone to this process, it can’t take very long and still be practical.

    Also unrelated, how does it handle with overheating? My goal is to run this continuous off of a power bank, if possible. How long can it run until a cool down break is required (assuming night/room temp conditions)?

    • Hi Bart. The current version of the PC software can render with stabilization.

      It is not practical to wait until the 128gb card is filled up. That’s almost 400 minutes of video (it uses around 3.25GB per 10 minutes). I imagine it would take many hours to render that.

      The amount of time before overheating depends on the ambient temperature, air circulation, and the speed of your memory card. In a small room with no fan and closed doors and windows (i.e., no ventilation and no air circulation), with a temperature of around 72 Fahrenheit, and using a Samsung EVO Select micro SD card, I was able to record 1 hour 35 minutes before the camera shutdown from overheating. Under the same conditions but plugged into a USB outlet, I recorded for 1 hour 45 minutes.

      Best regards,
      Mic

      • I plan to attach it to a shoulder mount on my water pack, power it off a power bank and run it as long as I can while I’m at music festivals. I do it already with my gear 360, but I currently lack the stabilization and the night vision isn’t that good. So I’m looking for an upgrade. I don’t mind letting it cool down between dj sets, but I will easily fill 128gb in a night.

        • OK that sounds like a great opportunity to use the Xiaomi. If I may suggest, you might also be interested in the Virb 360. The Virb 360 also has stabilization but it will take much less time to render the stabilized videos because they are already stitched in-camera. The desktop app just adds stabilization using the video’s metadata.

  • Hi Mic,

    I take many 360 photos from Xiaomi camera today. However, the existing apps is allowed to export the photo to mobile one by one. Is there any quick way to export all photos to my mobile once?

    Thanks, Sam

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