Editing Your Own 360 Content using Windows 10

As more and more of our users are exploring the potential of using their own content on their ClassVR headsets we are seeing an increasing number of requests for a simple editing tool to help tweak, trim and tinker with user generated content.

Fortunately, if you are using Windows 10, there is an incredibly simple tool built into your OS in the form of the Photos app. The easiest way to launch the app is to simply right click on the image or video in your file browser, select ‘Open With’ and then choose Photos

Image of File browser on a PC
Chris Bass, Educational Specialist

Chris Bass
Avantis Educational Specialist (UK)

When the Photos app opens (depending on the RAM of your computer, this can take a few moments) you will see the preview of your video playing and a few simple options. To the top right of the page you will see a dropdown option entitled ‘Edit & Create.’ This is where the main options for editing videos within Windows are stored. Let’s look at these in more detail.

Preview of Video image

Trim

The first (and simplest) tool at your disposal is Trim. This easy to use tool allows you to clip the start and finish time of your video.

Trimming Your Video

Using the white markers at the start and end points of the video you can drag the time points to change the length of your clip. This is especially useful if you have sourced videos online, or if you have shot a video yourself and need to edit out the first few seconds of footage (just in case you don’t want your students seeing a close up of your face while you figure out the buttons on your new 360 camera!)

When you’re done just click ‘Save a copy’ which will save a new video file in the same location as the original. This means that you can retain the integrity of the original file and your changes don’t affect the source footage. It is a good idea at this point to save the original file in a different location in order to prevent confusion and avoid editing the wrong clip.

Add Slo-Mo (Video editing only)

The next option you will see is ‘Add slo-mo’ which will allow you to add in a point of slow motion in your video. To do this you have three options, indicated by the slider at the top of the screen.

Adding Slow-Mo to your Video

The slider moves from ‘original speed’ on the far left to ‘Slower’ in the middle and ‘Super Slow’ on the far right. The Slower option will give you two orange markers on your video timeline; these can be used to highlight a portion of your clip that will run in slow motion, from a few seconds to the entire clip – the choice is yours. Super Slow works in a slightly different way. You will get one marker that can be used to select a single point of the video which will then be slowed down to a point where it is almost a freeze-frame.

As before, when you are done you can select ‘Save a copy’ which will save a fresh copy of the clip to the same folder as the original. At this point, if you plan to keep editing, it is a good idea to rename the file to easily keep track of your changes.

Save Photos (Video editing only)

The next option is an incredibly simple, yet very useful tool that allows you to save a single frame from your video as a .jpg photo. Using it couldn’t be easier – just find the point of the video that you want to use, click ‘Save a photo’ in the top right corner of the screen and hey-presto, your photo will appear in the same folder as the original video. These will be in .jpg format, meaning they can simply be dropped into the ‘My Cloud’ or ‘Shared Cloud’ section of the ClassVR portal and shared with your students or added to a playlist.

Saving Photos

This is extremely useful if you are looking at a video and want to study a particular point without having to rely on pausing or replaying a live video.

Draw

The Draw Function

Now it’s time to get creative. The Draw function allows you to write or draw on your photos and videos using four very simple tools. You will have access to a ballpoint pen, a pencil, a calligraphy pen and an eraser. Simply select the tool you want to use, find the section of the video you would like to write on and then use your mouse to draw directly onto the clip. You can change the size and colour of your pen or even use the anchor button to attach your drawing to a particular point in the video (in the example below I have attached an arrow to one penguin in the video to keep track of him throughout the clip.) Unless anchored your drawing will stay on the screen for a few seconds before disappearing.

Draw function

When you click ‘Save a copy’ you will get a message saying, ‘Letting your ink dry.’ It is worth noting that, depending on the amount of drawing you have added, this process can take several minutes.

Another point to bear in mind when adding ink to your videos and images is that when viewed through the ClassVR headsets the drawings you do will appear significantly larger than they do in the preview. So start small, otherwise your amazing creations may end up being too big to be useful!

Create a video with text

This feature of Photos will feel quite familiar to anyone who has used Windows Movie Maker in the past, and functions as its spiritual successor for simple video editing. Choosing this option will create a project using your photo or video that can be further customised in a number of ways.

Create a video with text

As the title suggests, one of the options here is to add text, however you can also add filters (if you want a black and white or sepia feel to your video,) trim your footage down, add music or narration or even add in other photos and videos to build a larger project that can be exported as a complete file.

Add 3D effects

The final option offered to you by Photos is a great way to easily add a fun 3D flair to your footage. As the name suggests, this feature allows you to add a variety of 3D effects (compete with sound, if you want it) to your footage. From explosions to sparkles you can add in as many as you like throughout the length of the clip. As with the drawing feature it is a good idea to start small with these effects, as it can become difficult to see if the image is too large. You can even test out how the effects will look in real time by using the play button and tracking bar at the bottom of the page.

Adding 3D Effects

The best way to get accustomed to all of these tools is to get stuck in and have a go yourself. Why not take a 360 photo, extend it into a video using the ‘create a video’ function and narrate a news report? Or film your own school tour, complete with music, narration and amazing 3D effects?

The video I’ve worked with for this guide will be available in the community in a playlist called ‘360 Editing’ if you need a working example of some of the tools I’ve mentioned above. Similarly, if you create a masterpiece of your own, we’d love to see it – so get sharing!

As always, we’d love to hear from you – if you’ve used Photos to create something brilliant then let us know on social media using @ClassVR on Twitter or facebook.com/classvr