Editing 360 photos and videos can seem daunting, especially for anyone who’s new to the field. Expensive software, hours of hard work and exaggerated amounts of coffee can intimidate anyone. Thankfully, there are more than a few apps for quick & easy VR editing on the go. So, for anyone who wants to dip their foot into the field of VR media editing or even experts who simply need a quick fix, here’s a list of the leading VR editing apps on the market today.
We checked out the best free apps that don’t require any sign-up for their basic features. We used several devices, some were more successful, while others didn’t really see eye to eye with the apps. The reviews reflect our personal experience with the products. Since these are free apps, you can easily try them out yourself to see if they fit your needs.
Collect (Android & iOS)
A simple to use free 360 video editing app. All the basics are here: trimming, arranging clips, music and more. You can either save the videos to your device or share it online.
• Rearrange, trim clips
• Speed up or slow down clips
• Apply filters
• Add music
• Add customizable watermarks
• Re-center focus
• 4K res
• Limitless video length
• Share on social media
This app only works with videos and is quite simplistic in its functions, but with its cool interface, speed control and tiny planet feature you might find yourself spending far more time than you expected just swishing your finger around the screen to view your video in every angle possible.
Insta360 One (Android & iOS)
An app by one of the world’s leading 360 camera manufacturers. Unlike what you may think, the app isn’t limited to Insta360 cameras users. You can upload files taken with other devices, but there are some unique features that work specifically with an Insta360 camera. The app itself is both an editor as well as the company’s social media platform, where you can check out other people’s uploads.
• Animate still 360 photos
• Upload logo
• Apply filters
• Add text and stickers
• Add pivot points
• Turn 360 videos into classic-sized 1080p video
• Capture slow-mo videos in 240FPS as well as time lapses
• Erase selfie stick for “flying camera” effect
• Capture smooth videos without camera stabilizer
• SmartTrack to lock on to a key subject
• Share online with a single click
• Switch to VR view mode (split screen) in a single click
• Go live in 360 on 360-supporting online platforms
Getting to the editor itself requires a bit search. The obvious plus sign in a yellow circle at the bottom right corner allows you to upload a new photo or video to the platform, but not to edit it. Instead, you need to go to the Album category in the bottom bar, press the file icon on the top right corner and choose a file from there or press the camera icon bottom right to take new shots, if you got an Insta360 One camera (we tried using Insta360 Air, but it only worked with its own designated app). It doesn’t seem like you can stitch together several clips nor create a slideshow. While technically you can move from photo to photo within the editor, doing so caused us some issues and when exported they are saved individually.
The app has a great tutorial that shows all the interesting features of the video editor, including pivot points, ratio change, smart track, and stabilizer, although you have to go through it all every time, no skipping to specific subjects. We tried using the smart tracking, but it didn’t really work for us.
The photo editor has some great filters and a lot of stickers to have fun with. They’re smooth and easy to place, move around and change their size. You can also change the viewing type of the photo between fisheye, perspective, tiny planet, and crystal ball. You can also test you images in Gyroscope and VR modes right from the editor. When exporting the photos, you have several viewing options – screenshot, 360 photo and spin view. The last one lets you choose one of 8 different animations for the photo (like 360 pan to tiny planet or couple, etc.).
Theta+ (Android & iOS)
The Japanese giant that produces the Theta 360 camera, a leading model in most top 360 cameras lists, has its own editing app and it’s not limited to the Theta camera users. What used to be two separate apps, one for editing videos and another for photos, is now a single app. Unfortunately, it’s still not possible to edit photos and video together.
• Clip trims
• Mirror ball, little planet, equirectangular, and rectilinear formats
• Time lapse
• Works with any 360 camera
• Save to camera roll
• Share to social media
The app has plenty of great features and a fairly intuitive interface. The great surprise is the variety of viewing options (mirror ball, little planet, etc.), the time laps creator, and the animation option – you can choose to animate your photos (a sort of swooping movement that shows the pictures from different angles and can focus on different elements in them) or even create a customized one yourself. It’s important to note that the time lapse feature does NOT create the photos but combines existing photos to a single video that can range from 2 to 15fps. That means that you’ll need other tools to take the pictures for your time lapse.
There’s also a very versatile text editor. But a problem we’ve encountered with the texts is that once you unselect it, whether by accident or not, you can’t re-select it, make changes to it, or move it around, only delete it. It should also be noted that when adding a text and as long it is selected, you can no longer move around the image, which means you need to already face the place you want the text to be when you add it. There is also a character limit per line that does not change even if the text is enlarged, and words will be cut in half if they exceed the limit and separated between two lines.
You can only edit one video at a time, which means you can’t connect clips together. You can work on one picture at a time or choose several photos to create a time lapse. You can theoretically create a slide show like this, but the minimum is 2fps and it’s quite fast. The pictures are added by the order they are marked from the folder, but they can be rearranged or removed as you wish. No other editing option in time lapse besides FPS.
V360 (Android & iOS)
A free 360 video editor for mobile devices that enables the essentials such as trimming and connecting clips for sharing on social media.
• Combine multiple clips
• Trim videos
• Automatic sorting by parameters
• Music library and import ability
• Sound control
• Add text
• Adjust focus point
• Quick video export to camera roll or SD card
• Sharing to social media with 360 metadata
V360 tends to be a bit less intuitive and more complicated, but it does have some interesting features under its hood, like more customizability in text styling and duplication options. Photos and videos are edited separately. Transitions between clips and branding removal requires an upgrade to a paid premium plan.
VeeR Editor (Android & iOS)
The VR media sharing platform has launched a free editor app in late 2017. The “Edit Photo” options allows individual photos editing (no video), and the “Edit Video” option allows you to edit both photos and videos (together or apart) to create slideshows or clips. Media is saved on your device and can be uploaded directly from the app to VeeR, Facebook and other social media. Check out which 360 cameras are compatible with the app on their Google Play or App Store page.
• Edit several clips or photos simultaneously
• Rearrange media by dragging and dropping
• Stitch multiple clips with transitioning effects
• Animated stickers and text
• Filters and manual adjusting
• background music from VeeR library or your own, volume control
• Photo slideshow
• Customize watermark
• One click switch to split screen mode
• One click sharing on social media
• Supports 2K resolution for all models (specific resolution limits for different mobile devices might apply)
• Import/export up to 4K resolution videos
Our first (and second and third) experiment with the app were… horrible, to say the least. For reasons that are beyond us, most of the app’s features simply declined the pleasure of appearing at all and those that did were far from functional. Holding on to our last shred of hope, we switched to a different device and could finally see the light. It really is an intuitive app and a great starting point for first time photo editors and even more experienced ones who want to create a simple clip or slideshow on the go.
There seems to be only one possible transition between media, but other than that, the app is smooth with more than enough extra features for its free price tag. It should be noted that the app allows only 2:1 ration photos. When trying to load others you get a warning but also an option to proceed anyway, which resulted for us with far lower quality photos. The “Tips & Tricks” option on the main menu directs you to VeeR’s blog which have some great tips for creating 360 media but also covers other subjects.
Now that you have your amazing VR content, you can create your very own compatible HTML-based VR experience. DoublX does not require any app or coding and allows you to create professional trackable online media with analytics capabilities so you can follow up on all the new leads your gorgeous 360 photos and videos will be sure to attract. You can even connect your own domain to get a fully personalized and customizable VR experience.
So, what are you waiting for?