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How to Edit VR Footage in Premiere Pro and Export for YouTube


Immerse yourself in the exciting world of VR filmmaking with this quick video editing technique.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen VR filmmaking and video production go from a fun curiosity to a booming industry — and software manufacturers like Adobe are taking notice. Let’s take a look at how to edit VR footage in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Step 1: Import Your Footage

How to Edit VR Footage in Premiere Pro and Export for YouTube - Import VR Footage

Equirectangular VR footage is essentially just video footage that can can be “stitched together” to form a 360-degree video. Outside of resolution and pixel stretching, there aren’t any differences between equirectangular footage and “normal” video. You can easily import VR footage into Premiere Pro by simply hitting Command+I on your keyboard or double-clicking in the project panel.

Step 2: Adjust Your Settings

How to Edit VR Footage in Premiere Pro and Export for YouTube - Adjust Settings

You can easily preview any video in Premiere Pro by double-clicking it in the project panel. By default, your equirectangular video clip will pop up in the preview panel. It’s going to look distorted — and it’s supposed to.

To change the way your video looks in the preview panel, click the small wrench icon near the bottom right of the preview window. Navigate to VR Video > Settings. From this menu you can adjust your video footage for your individual project. If you shot “normal” equirectangular footage like that captured from a Theta S, your settings will be monoscopic, 360 horizontal, and 180 vertical.

Step 3: Set Preview Window to VR Mode

How to Edit VR Footage in Premiere Pro and Export for YouTube - Preview Window

Now that your settings are correct for your video project, it’s time to set your project into VR mode. You can do this in one of two ways:

  1. Click the wrench icon and select VR Video> VR Mode.
  2. Or, select the VR Mode button from the button menu, which can be found by selecting the “+ icon.”

You can navigate around the preview window in VR mode by using the sliders along the edges of the frame or by clicking and dragging in the frame. If you’ve used YouTube VR, you’re going to be familiar with the way Premiere VR previewing works.

Note: You can preview VR footage in the Preview and Program Monitor. 

Step 4: Edit Your Footage

The next step is to edit your footage. While VR editing is certainly a newer way to create a video masterpiece, it’s still just video footage in a timeline. As long as your video footage is equirectangular, you can slice, trim, and color your footage in a very similar way to normal footage. Just keep in mind that transformational effects like warp stabilizer will not work for 360 footage.

Step 4: Export VR Footage

How to Edit VR Footage in Premiere Pro and Export for YouTube - Export

Using a third-party metadata tool used to be the only solution for exporting VR footage to YouTube and Facebook. Now, thanks to Adobe’s 2016 update, you can apply the necessary meta data directly in Premiere. To export your footage, select your timeline and hit Command+M or navigate to File>Export>Media. This will pop up your export window. Once you select your desired codec, navigate to the Video tab and make sure the VR Video checkbox is selected.

Want to learn more about editing VR footage in Premiere Pro? Check out this helpful video tutorial from the team at Adobe: