Fact Check: Does Insta360’s software remove the selfie stick?

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How does Insta360 software remove the invisible selfie stick?

The Claim

CLAIM: “Using the ONE X app, users can automatically remove a selfie stick from their scenes, leaving the ONE X apparently suspended in mid-air.” (Source here)

RATING: Partly true / partly false.

Analysis

One of the most interesting advantages of stabilized 360 cameras is the ability to capture a third person view, as if the photo or video was shot with an invisible flying camera hovering a few feet away from the user.  Many people who are new to 360 don’t understand how this effect happens.

Looking at Insta360’s statement, it is true that if you use the invisible selfie stick with the One X and load the photo or video into the app, the One X will appear suspended in mid-air.

The part that is somewhat false is the causation.  Insta360’s statement could be read to imply that users can remove the selfie stick from their photos and videos by using the One X app.  If the statement is interpreted this way, then it is false.

The truth is that all 360 cameras have a blind spot — the area between the lenses:

360 cameras have a blind spot at the stitch line (green area)
360 cameras have a blind spot at the stitch line (the green area between the lenses)

However, this blind spot is by no means obvious to a viewer.  Instead, to a viewer, it appears that the 360 camera captures everything.  When you use a selfie stick that is narrow enough to fit between the lenses, it is within the blindspot and appears invisible.  In other words the invisibility of the selfie stick is simply because of the optics of the lenses.

Funny enough, one time I explained this to a new user and he refused to believe me because he insisted that the wording of Insta360’s statement meant that it was due to the software.  If you have doubts, one way to check is to look at the unstitched photos and videos.  Just change the extension of the .insp photos to .jpg, or the .insv videos into .mp4 and you will be able to see the unstitched double circular fisheye view.  You will see that the selfie stick is invisible in each unstitched image, no matter where you move the camera.  You can even use the invisible selfie stick on another 360 camera, and it will also remain invisible, without using Insta360 software.

Insta360’s current website has changed the wording of how the invisible selfie stick works, so that it now says:

“YOU. IN THIRD PERSON VIEW.  Pair the ONE X with our invisible selfie stick and the stick is gone in an instant. You’ve got a flying camera without the noise.”

This statement is accurate and does not create the impression that the invisibility is attributable to their software.

Here is a video by my friend Rick Yaeger on this subject.  Note: Peter McKinnon is NOT to blame.  He was probably just repeating what he heard or read, either from Insta360 or from a friend who was similarly confused.  Peter’s endorsement of 360 cameras is a huge help to the 360 industry, and we welcome it!

 

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