Insta360 released their One RS 1-inch 360 camera, a 360 camera with two 1-inch sensors. You can download a sample video and sample photo here (for personal viewing only).
I’ve been very impressed with the video quality and I think it has the best video quality for a 360 camera under $2000 (see my review). But some people have told me they were still on the fence after seeing samples on YouTube. That’s probably because YouTube uses very aggressive compression. Similarly, many have been curious about how well the 1-inch 360 performs for virtual tours. To see how good the One RS is, you can see the original quality by downloading a sample video and photo here for personal viewing only. Please do not upload anywhere.
Viewing the sample video
What is INSV format? How do you view Insta360 files?
The files are in INSV format, which is a modified version of an MP4 file with additional metadata for Insta360 cameras. The .INSV files must be put in the same directory in your hard drive and should be opened in the latest version of Insta360 Studio (available for download here). If you can transfer them to your phone, they can also be opened by the Insta360 phone app.
Why are there three files for a single Insta360 video?
If you’re new to Insta360 cameras, you might be wondering why there are three files. That’s because one file is used for the front lens, another file is for the rear lens, and a third file is for the low-res preview. As long as you have Insta360 Studio installed and the files are in the same directory, opening any of the files will automatically load the matching files.
Can I rename the files?
It is absolutely critical that you do not rename the files and they must all be put in the same directory. If you rename the files, Insta360 Studio won’t be able to pair them with each other and your video will be unplayable.
You CAN organize the files. You can create separate subdirectories for scenes and put the related files there. You’ll know they are related because they’ll have the same numerical suffix, such as “001”. The other way to organize the files in insta360 studio is to click on the right panel and click on the Project Management. You can create different versions of a video file and name it however you want.
Can I edit these files in a video editor?
Yes. After installing Insta360 Studio, Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro will be able to open INSV files. For other video editors, you have to stitch the videos first, then open them in your preferred editor that supports 360 videos. Alternatively, you can reframe the video in Insta360 Studio then import them into your preferred editor.
What is reframing?
Reframing means to convert the 360 video into a non-360 video where you can control the camera angles and keyframe camera movements.
What is the best export option?
The best quality export format is Prores 422 but it will take up around 10 times as much space as MP4. As for the resolution, you can export at 1080p or any other resolution. If you export at a higher resolution than 1080p, the video will be upscaled but there will be no additional detail. On the other hand, if you upload 4k video to YouTube, there will be less compression than if you upload the same video as 1080p.
Viewing the sample photo
The sample photo is a 9-shot bracket in Raw + INSP. Here is a FAQ for those who are new to Insta360 cameras.
What is INSP format? What is DNG?
DNG is a format for Raw files. Raw files are unprocessed photo files. They are preferred by photographers because they allow much greater latitude in adjusting color temperature and exposure. They usually also have more detail and dynamic range than JPG files. INSP is a modified JPG file with additional metadata for Insta360 cameras. As with the sample video, you need to copy the DNG files and the INSP files into the same directory then use the Insta360 Studio app to open these files.
Why are there 18 files for each photo?
The sample photo was shot as a 9-shot bracket in Raw + INSP. Nine of the files are bracketed DNG files. Nine of the files are bracketed INSP files. The bracketed shots can be merged into a high dynamic range (HDR) photo. *For HDR enthusiasts, yes I understand that this is tonemapping, not true HDR. But if you are interested, you can use merge the DNG files in a 3rd party HDR software that can generate a true HDR file.
Why do the files look like double circular fisheyes?
If you use Photoshop to open the DNG files, they will look like double circular fisheye files because the photos are still unstitched — one fisheye image is from the front lens and the other is from the rear lens. You need software to combine the two images into a single 360 photo. Insta360 Studio can stitch them for you or you can use third party software such as PTGui.
When I open the photo, I see two images. What’s the difference?
One image is labeled HDR DNG and is a stitched and merged (tonemapped) image from the DNG files. The other image is labeled HDR and is stitched and merged from the INSP files.
How do I export the photos?
You can export the files individually or using batch export. For individual exports, click on the yellow share button on the bottom right. For batch exports, right click on the files you want to export then go to File… Export.
For bracketed photos such as the sample I provided, you have the option to “Export all exposure photos,” which means you’ll get not only the stitched and merged HDR file, but also the individual bracketed photos. The bracketed photos can then be merged in your preferred HDR software.