360 Camera Techniques

Insta360 One X Tips and Tricks: 22 tips to get the most out of your camera

Insta360 One X Tips and Tricks
Insta360 One X Tips and Tricks

Here are 22 tips and tricks to get the most out of your Insta360 One X (reviewed here), presented by me and my friend Shanil Kawol (How to Make a Video):

Here are more details about these tips:

1. Avoiding blur.

Insta360 One X blur (motion blur) from slow shutter speed
Insta360 One X blur (motion blur) from slow shutter speed

One of the most common questions I get about the One X is about it being “blurry.”  Actually, what users are seeing is motion blur.  In low light conditions, Insta360 One X defaults to a slow shutter speed — as slow as 1/30 for video — in order to use a lower ISO to reduce noise.  However, with a slower shutter speed, there is more motion blur from camera movement (especially if you rotate the camera).

To avoid blur, go to the in-camera video settings and use Shutter: Fast instead of Shutter: Auto, or set shutter speed manually to 1/60 or 1/125.  This will result in increased noise but to me that is less of an issue than motion blur.  If the camera is stationary, then you can switch it back to 1/30.  In any case, you should do your best to minimize camera movement in low light.

2. Removing the Insta360 watermark and removing the dark cloud.

By default, Insta360 One X will apply an overlay to the nadir that looks like a dark cloud, to disguise any stitching errors in the nadir.  it was useful for older Insta360 cameras but is unnecessary on the One X.   To remove the black cloud at the bottom of your video, go to the One X app settings, switch nadir logo to none.

Insta360 One X will also add a watermark to overcapture / freecapture / fixframe videos.  To turn off the “Shot on Insta360 One X” watermark, go to settings on the One X app and turn Official Watermark off.

3. Setting the date and time.

How to set time and date on Insta360 One X
How to set time and date on Insta360 One X

Whenever you remove the battery or the battery runs out, the time and date will be reset to January 1, 2018 or December 31, 2017. To set the time and date, simply connect the One X to your phone wirelessly or via cable.  The One X will sync its clock to your phone.

4.  Extending battery life.

The One X’s battery life is somewhat short at around 45 mins. of real-world usage, and even less in very cold weather.  You can extend your battery life by keeping a USB powerbank in my bag and connecting your One X  in between shots.  I also recommend getting a spare battery and the fast external charger.

5.  Extend battery life further by turning off Wi-Fi.

Another way to save battery life is to turn off the One X’s Wi-Fi signal, which normally remains on even when the camera is on standby.  To turn it off, go to the in-camera settings menu and change Wireless: On to Wireless: Auto.  On iOS, the app can still connect to the One X automatically via Bluetooth, and reactivate the Wi-Fi remotely.  On Android, you’ll need to change settings back to Wireless: On to use the smartphone app.  If you don’t want to keep changing the Wireless settings, you can also remove the battery but remember to set the date and time.

6. Protect the lens.

360 cameras such as the One X have fisheye lenses that protrude from the body.  Never, ever lay down the One X (or any 360 camera) on a hard surface, which can scratch the lens.  Even seemingly minor scratches will appear as increased glare on your photos and videos.   You can also keep it clean by using the included neoprene pouch which can also effectively wipe the lens as you remove the camera from the case.

7.  Avoid the stitch line.

360 camera basics: why you must avoid the stitch line

The One X’s stitching is not totally seamless for video, so you should avoid facing the stitch line toward important subject (the stitch line is the area where the lenses meet, which are the sides of the camera, for dual-lens 360 cameras such as the One X).

8.  Avoiding inconsistent exposures.

Left: with one side facing the sun, one side of the video will be brighter. Right: turn the stitch line toward the sun to make the exposure more even
Left: with one side facing the sun, one side of the video will be brighter. Right: turn the stitch line toward the sun to make the exposure more even

You may see that sometimes, your photos or videos look brighter on one side.  This is often due to glare.  To minimize glare, aim the stitch line toward the brightest light source .

9.  Extending dynamic range with HDR Video.

Left: standard mode. Right: HDR Video mode
Left: standard mode. Right: HDR Video mode

You can increase the dynamic range of the One X using HDR Video mode, which I believe uses Sony’s DOL-HDR (digital overlap high dynamic range) technology. The One X will take two different exposures (one normal exposure, and one underexposure) and combine them in order to capture a wider dynamic range.  Because the exposures are not completely simultaneous, camera movements in HDR Video mode can show ghosting.  Therefore this mode is best used when the One X is on a tripod.

10.  Third person view.

One of the most useful features of the One X is being able to capture a third person view.  To use this feature, simply use the One X with a monopod or selfie stick that is slim enough to fit between the lenses of the One X, such as the Insta360 2nd-generation invisible selfie stick.  The selfie stick or monopod will appear invisible, creating the illusion of an invisible flying camera.

11.  Aim the front of the One X.

It is often said that 360 cameras such as the One X have no front or back because they capture a fully spherical view.  Actually, all 360 cameras have a front side, and whatever is facing the “front” of the camera will be the first object visible in the 360 video.  For stabilized 360 cameras, the view will also often be stabilized toward the front of the camera.  It is therefore useful to be aware of the front of the camera, which in the case of the One X is the side with the LED display.

12.  Editing without keyframes

Direction Lock: Although I've changed direction, the video is still aimed at me.
Direction Lock: Although I’ve changed direction, the video is still aimed at me.

On the One X, you can create overcapture videos and pan the video electronically via keyframing.  However, if you are in a hurry, you can avoid keyframing by point the front of the One X to your subject.  In post processing, turn on the Direction Hold option.  The resulting video will show whatever the One X is pointing at, without the need to keyframe.

You may be wondering if this technique defeats the purpose of using a 360 camera.  No it does not.   First, you’ll still have incredible stabilization, beyond what is possible for any non-360 camera.  Second, you can capture a third person view, which is also impossible for a non-360 camera.

13. How to save videos on the One X.

When editing on the One X app, you can save your edits by pressing back from time to time.

14.  Frozen app or camera

After you record a very long video, it may take several seconds for the camera to write the video to the memory card, and it may appear frozen.  Just give it up to a minute to save the video.  If it’s still frozen, then remove the battery and reinstall it.

The One X app may also freeze occasionally.  Simply close and reopen the app.

15.  Snapshots

How to take a snapshot from your 360 video or 360 photo
How to take a snapshot from your 360 video or 360 photo
You can take a snapshot from your 360 video and share it as a regular non-360 photo either on the phone or desktop.  To do this, use the One X app or Insta360 Studio to open the video, reframe the video (e.g. using the Viewfinder mode), and press the square outline button.  This will export a framegrab to your phone’s gallery or photos.

16.  Turning a 360 video into a 360 photo

How to get a 360 photo from your 360 video
How to get a 360 photo from your 360 video

You can get a 360 photo from your 360 videos with Insta360 Studio for One X (tutorial here).  On the upper right corner, switch to equirectangular view (rectangle icon) and then press the camera icon near the play button.  You can directly upload this equirectangular screenshot to sites such as Kuula.co to view it as a 360 photo.  For sites such as Facebook which require 360 metadata, use Exif Fixer to add 360 metadata.

17.  Better colors.

There are two ways to get better colors on the One X.  The first way is to use manual white balance, which will keep the color temperature constant from scene to scene, which looks more professional.  To do this, use manual exposure mode, and in the settings you’ll see white balance as an option.  Instead of AWB (auto white balance), choose a white balance that looks most neutral.

Another way to get better colors is to turn off log mode unless you will apply a LUT (lookup table) in postprocessing.  You can download the official LUT for One X here.

18.  Easy way to remove the Micro SD card.

In my tests, I found that using a USB 3.0 Micro SD Card reader was the fastest way to transfer files to my hard drive.  However, the Micro SD slot on the One X is very deep-set, and it is difficult to remove when you have short fingernails.  An easy way to remove them is to use another Micro SD card to push the Micro SD card in the camera.  If you don’t have an extra Micro SD card with you, you can press the farthest edge of the Micro SD card, which is a little easier to push.

19.  Time saving tip when downloading videos

Even while downloading videos from the One X to your phone, you can shoot a video at the same time.  You don’t have to wait for the video to finish downloading.

20.  Faster rendering

You can render videos faster on your phone by turning off the power saving mode on your phone.  Some phones also have a Performance Mode, which may also accelerate the rendering speed.

21. No-stitch editing

You can edit overcapture videos without stitching them first using either the One X app, Insta360 Studio for One X (version 3.2.1) or Adobe Premiere.  Here’s a tutorial for Insta360 Studio for One X;

Here is a tutorial for Premiere:

22.  Avoid accidents

Avoid accidents by using a counterweight.  When using the Insta360 One X outdoors on a tripod, there is a chance that it can be toppled by a gust of wind or by a passerby, which could destroy the lens.  You can reduce the chance of this happening by using a counterweight, such as an ankle weight.

Do you have any other tips for using the One X?  Share yours in the comments below!

About the author

Mic Ty

19 Comments

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  • Thanks for Tip #1 it really helps me out – but by the way … I had none of these blurry effects in my GoPro Fusion.
    is this a Software related Problem ? I have a feeling this comes from flow state, when turning off it is better

    • Hi Michael. Fusion is less susceptible because it automatically uses a higher shutter speed. Turning flowstate on or off will not change the amount of motion blur.

      Best regards,
      Mic

  • Hi Mic,
    The One X seemed to be always waiting for the “Power ON” signal/command from the app. Though this is good if we want to power ON the camera using our phone but I think it will drain the battery.
    1) Will this eventually drain the battery if I leave the One X unused for a period of time (e.g. 2 weeks or more)?
    2) Is there a way to turn off this “standby” mode totally?

    • There is a workaround. If you turn on Quick Capture (in the in-camera settings), then pressing the shutter while the camera is off will automatically turn on the camera and have it begin recording video.

  • Do you notice a shutter when moving the camera around? Not a blue but a shutter like on a shaky selfie stick? And that was while using the one the one x comes with.

  • Mic you are always so good for all your informations. I’ve got a question about the one x. Is it better to always use hdr for photos or the use of manual settings is a better way to shoot! And I did’n know that we can take photos from our previously recorded video. That’s help.

    Thanks a lot and have a good day.

    • Thanks Steve. When it is bright, hdr is a good idea. In low light or when it is not bright, it is better to use standard mode

  • Hi Mic, is there some tips & tricks to make Insta One X default storage on Android phone’s external micro sd card ? cuz the file soo BIG to fit on internal phone storage.

  • What is a cheap way to protect the camera lens from scratches? I intend to use the Insta 360 while snowboarding, but I’m worried by falling over and scratching the lens: I’m not willing to throw 500+€ in the bin for one single fall on the board….

    • Hi Roberto. The new Venture Case is coming in about a month. Or you can use the Dive Case but there will be an oval in the nadir.

  • Hi Mic,

    I found each time when I took 360 picture without connecting smart phone the pictures appeared too dark. I know there are ways adjusting the iso and exposure etc using the smart phone, but it will be time consuming to connect the phone every time when I want to take a picture. Is there any way to change the default exposure setting so that I can take brighter pictures when I just switch on the One x? Thanks in advance for your advice.

    Jack

    • hi Jack. Sorry the exposure settings on One X are not ‘sticky’. if you turn it off, the settings will go back to default. One workaround is to use HDR photo mode. Then choose the bright exposure.

  • Thanks for the tips. After I leave the camera on and it shuts off by itself, I am not able to turn the camera on unless I remove and replace the battery. Is this normal?

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