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.