Ricoh Theta V (more info here), the newest and most significant version of the Theta, has the best audio recording capabilities I’ve seen among 360 cameras, including 3D spatial audio with the in-camera microphone. However, to use the spatial audio on YouTube and other sites, you need to use a newly released app.
The Theta V’s in-camera microphones can record 3D spatial audio that records not just the horizontal but also the vertical position of the sound. However, the spatial audio is specially encoded and until now, you could only hear it with the Theta app. Now, Ricoh has released an app to enable spatial audio to be compatible with YouTube and other sites. The new app is available for download here (look for “movie converter app,” available for Mac or Windows).
How to get Theta V spatial audio
1. Stitch the double fisheye video using the regular Theta app. The output will be equirectangular and the file name will have an “_er” suffix to represent equirectangular. This file only has a mono audio track.
2. Drag the equirectangular “_er” file into the Movie Converter icon. This will create a .mov file in the same folder, but with spatial audio compatible with third party software. There will now be four tracks, one of which is silent (see this crop from Adobe Premiere Pro):
When you upload the .mov file to YouTube, it will have 3D spatial audio. You can check out the sample below. For best results, you should wear headphones or at least earbuds.
I think the audio quality is amazing (even with the wind noise), especially considering these are just in-camera microphones. You can hear the deep rumbling of the engines, the exhaust scraping the ground on one of the cars, and someone wolf whistling in the background. IMHO, it sounds very close to what it sounded like when I was there. I haven’t heard better in-cam audio from any other 360 camera (not even the Virb, which also has 360 audio). It’s a pleasure to listen to it! How about you? How do you like the audio quality? Let me know what you think in the comments! Ricoh Theta V is available on Amazon and B&H Photo.
I just picked up the V. How are you watching the videos in order to take advantage of the spatial audio?
Also as an aside, I have both the V and the Insta360 ONE, and I really like the Theta software MUCH better than the Insta (iPhone 7+). The Theta software is much more refined, and the workflow is much more logical.
Hi Scott. If you mean the Theta app vs. Insta360 ONE app, yes I also prefer the organization and design of the Theta app, which I also think is more logical.
Hi, Mic. Sorry for the confusion.
I meant are you watching the video with a headset (Gear VR for example) and headphones?
Hi Scott. You should be able to hear the spatial effect even just from your PC speakers and without a headset. But the best effect is when you are using earphones.
Just received the RIcoh Tehat V with the additional Audio Technica “soundfield” tetrahedrical microphone.
I tested recording both with internal MEMS microphones and external AT microphone, but the resulting MP4 files only contain a mono audio track.
How the hell can you get a MOV file with a 4-channels Ambix spatial audio soundtrack?
When I drop the original file onto the just-downloaded Ricoh Theta computer program, it prompts for converting to another MP4 file, also with .MP$ extensio, which contains the equirectangular vidoe, but the audi remains mono…
My Ricoh Theta program is version 3.1.2 on a Windows 10 64 bits machine…
Hi Angelo. Sorry the instructions weren’t so clear. I’ve updated the post with clearer instructions and a screenshot showing that after processing, it will have four audio tracks (1 of which is silent).
a little tip: do not move the camera around for this kind of 360° movie. it’s kinda the idea that the user does it.
Thanks Robbie. Yes I used either a tripod or tried to hold the camera carefully so the camera was stationary in all the scenes. (Some of them i didn’t have time to put on a tripod so I just held the camera as carefully as I could).