Pixvana will launch the beta for a new suite of tools designed for virtual reality professionals to stitch, edit, publish and distribute 360-degree content in Q1 2017. Spin Studio includes Spin Publisher and Spin Player, which soft-launched in September, and the new Spin Stitch, Spin Story and Spin Finish.
Spin Stitch syncs and stitches clips from VR rigs and integrated cameras, with adjustments for center point and horizon line, along with interactive mask editing that allows users to review the stitch in both browser and headset. Spin Story combines VR clips in full stories with trimming, and sequencing timelines, transitions, and effects. Spin Finish offers a wide-range of color correction options, including exposure, lift gamma gain, 8-way selective color and sharpness for VR masters. Spin Publisher generates one-button encoding of VR content using Pixvana’s Field of View Adaptive Streaming (FOVAS) technology, which adjusts in real time. And Spin Player helps users deliver VR video experiences to targeted audiences across all major headsets with low-latency playback.
Sean Safreed, co-founder of Pixvana, told UploadVR Spin Studio is the first platform that provides all the tools an independent creative or agency needs to start with camera clips from a VR rig and get a final delivered experience without using multiple cumbersome desktop tools.
“The tools work with the desktop Chrome browser, so an artist can work from anywhere,” Safreed said. “Our delivery system manages the whole process of encoding and streaming without complex encode parameters or CDN configuration. The Spin Play app is easily customized and configured from Spin Publish—no developer required.”
Pixvana was founded by Safreed, Forest Key, Bill Hensler and Scott Squires in Seattle in December 2015. The team brings decades of experience in video apps, streaming media and visual effects to the table.
“Forest Key was the driving force behind the decision to pursue VR,” Safreed said. “The founders all saw that VR, AR and MR — what we call XR (encompassing all three) — would be an entirely new medium and 2015 was like the dawn of television or cinema all over again.”
Key said that by leveraging high-performance GPU clusters in the cloud, Spin Studio provides on-demand scalability and real-time interactivity for a seamless content creation and delivery process, even with ultra high-resolution content. Spin Studio can stitch and encode as users upload, and can process up to 16K footage in full color and HDR.
The company has raised $6 million from Madrona Venture Group with participation from Vulcan Capital to make Spin Studio a reality. Safreed said the funding is going largely into development of the product. The company currently has 18 employees, the majority of which are software engineers and designers.
Safreed believes having a one-stop platform for creation and delivery using Spin will vastly accelerate the turnaround time for creators looking to make stories in VR. He said one of the biggest challenges to designing new story mechanisms is the speed that creators can put together experiments. If shooting and posting can be done in minutes or hours instead of days or weeks, the process of defining new story structure, tropes and methods of storytelling will benefit the entire VR landscape.
“None of our tools are one-for-one replacements for current tools, but our stitcher will deliver results similar to other desktop stitching tools and the story creation is similar to a basic video editor with great color and sharpening features,” Safreed said. “The publish tool is not really like other tools in that it lets the user build playlists that appear as categorized galleries in a headset. The Pixvana Play app is designed to be user configurable with just a simple log-in.”
Safreed said there will be a basic free tier for Spin Studio, and Pixvana will roll out pricing later in 2017 for the full suite.
Pixvana has been working with several major content, media and VR companies on encoding and delivery tests. In October, Valve announced that they’re working with Pixvana to improve the 360-degree video experience via the Steam store.
Erick Geisler, creative director at G2, said having a platform that can stitch, edit and stream 8K and higher resolution is a big breakthrough.
“This is the first time we get to see the full quality 8K master without compromise,” Geisler added.
“Being able to transport our fans and sponsors into the stadium and behind the scenes with high quality VR video is a transformative way for us to showcase our unique match day experience,” said Kyle Sheldon, vice president of marketing for Seattle Sounders FC.
Corey Rosen, vice president of creative marketing at Tippett Studio, said on both commercials and installations, his company wants to deliver every pixel of detail that its artists have crafted.
“Pixvana’s streaming solution is an ideal fit for our visual effects-heavy productions,” Rosen said.