Monoscopic vs Stereoscopic Content

360 video

There are different ways to record 360 videos in VR. The most common way is through a single point of view camera which records all the angles and proceeds to stitch them together. A more elaborate recording strategy is using a different camera for each eye giving a perception of depth.

Monoscopic Videos

Also dubbed spherical videos or 360 videos, are the most common video types you encounter when viewing VR online. Websites such Youtube, Vimeo, and Facebook all include monoscopic immersive videos.

Thanks to the head tracking embedded in either the VR headset or your phone, whenever your head moves, these videos give you a feeling as if you are inside the scene. In a way, this content is a full 360 panorama. Since monoscopic videos use limited resources it is possible to make them quite crisp and high definition. While these videos may not allow the full 6DoF or even 3DoF, they are still a staple in VR. monoscopic content still possess a cool factor that intrigues both VE newbies and veterans alike.

Stereoscopic Videos

On the other hand, Stereostopic content is a bit more complex as it requires more advanced hardware and software to capture and compile the video. These types of videos require a technique called stitching. The issue is, if there is even a slight flaw during the stitching process it would make the video completely unwatchable as these artifacts would be magnified in a 3D environment. As a result, this content can’t be of as high quality as monoscopic videos, since the resolution decreases because of the stitching requirements.

In order to avoid flaws in stereoscopic videos, the environment needs to be controlled and planned for the capture of this type of content. As a result, these limitations make stereoscopic videos not ideal for news gatherings, live events, and other scenes with a large amount of moving parts.

What stereoscopic videos are good for, is creating an additional depth to the picture. Because each eye is receiving a slightly modified image, your brain is tricked into thinking the image has depth.

This technique has been used for ages and is especially prominent in the Nitendo3DS, which uses stereoscopic technology to create the 3D effect. Instead of projecting a different image on each eye separately (like in a headset), the Nitendo uses a parallax barrier, which ensures the images hit your eyes at the right angles. This creates the prominent 3D effect that the Nitendo advertises.

As you might have guessed, most games for the Vive and the Occulus are stereoscopic, as they provide a perception of depth as you play around in the simulation. However, if the user happens to be blind in one eye he can still experience the wonders of VR. While he might not have as great of perception of depth as users with sight in both eyes, there are still many cues that will trick your brain into accepting 3D.

Overall monoscopic and stereoscopic videos are very similar in the fact they are both 360 content. The slight difference is stereoscopic videos provide that extra dimension best compared to wearing 3D glasses at a theater. However, the trade off is resolution and complexity. So would you rather watch a crisp high def 360 video with little to no artifacts, or would you rather feel depth at a lower resolution with some possible anomalies?

If you liked this article make sure to follow us on twitter @thevrbase and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest VR trends and news.