Using the Samsung Gear 360 (2016) panoramic camera with Visual Vocal

The Samsung Gear 360 camera is a cute little panoramic camera that works surprisingly well for very quickly capturing monoscopic panoramas. By default, this camera works with an app available only on Samsung Android phones. However, using the Google Street View app, you can use the camera with other devices, including most Android phones and iPhones. 

Here are the steps for Samsung Android phones:

  1. Install the Samsung Gear 360 app.
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  2. Click "Connect to Gear 360".
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  3.  Follow the instructions on the lower half of your screen to pair with and use the Gear 360.
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Here are the steps for non-Samsung Android phones and iPhones (with screenshots specifically for the iPhone). As of this writing, there is also a YouTube video that shows these steps:

  1. Install the Google Street View app.
  2. Turn on your Samsung Gear 360 by pressing and holding briefly on the button labeled "Back".
  3. Press-and-hold the menu button until the top display says, "Gear 360 Manager".
  4. Tap the menu button again - the top display should now say "Remote Control".
  5. Tap the menu button again - the top display should now say "Google Street View".
  6. Tap the record button (the button with the red dot on the top of the Gear 360).
  7. Open settings on your iPhone.
  8. Look for and select a WiFi network whose name begins "Gear 360..."
    • If you need to to enter a passcode, the code should be displayed on the small top screen of the Gear 360.
  9. Open the Google Street View app on your phone.
  10. To take a photo, press the camera icon in the lower right hand corner of the app.
  11. After picture has been taken, you can see it by dragging up from the bottom of the app to see the recent gallery.
  12. Pan around your image to check its quality.
    • It is best if the Samsung Gear 360 is level when taking a picture. Viewing panoramas that are tilted is a less than optimal experience.
    • The Gear 360 uses two camera to produce a 360 image. The stitching of these two images is quite good although you may see some artifacts if objects are too close to the camera and aligned with the seam between the two camera. For best results, close objects should be fully visible to either the front or rear camera.
  13. After you are done taking pictures, switch your phone back to your default WIFI network so that you can upload the images.
  14. Download the images from your phone's camera role via your favorite method.
  15. The panoramas generated by the Samsung Gear 360 are quite high resolution, in fact higher than is necessary for current mobile VR. Because of this, we recommend you resize these images to make them smaller. 
    • By default, the panoramic images created by the Samsung Gear 360 are a resolution of 7776 x 3888. While not absolutely necessary, we recommend a maximum resolution that is as close to 4096 x 2048 as you can achieve for a given panorama. For more information of recommended resolutions and panorama file types, please refer to our Helpdesk article, What Kinds Of Content Can Be Uploaded To Visual Vocal?
  16. Drag-and-drop the images into the Visual Vocal web portal. The image type should be set to "MONO Spheremap" (the default setting).
  17. You may need to experiment with which direction the camera is pointed to ensure that your end-users initial view of the scene is the view you desire.

Have fun!

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