Cubic VR FAQ:
Q: Does Cubic VR replace cylinder panoramas?

A: No. Cubes are in addition to cylinders. Use the right tool for the job. If there isn't anything interesting on the ceiling or floor, don't bother showing it (and shooting it, and stitching it, etc.). Cubes will turn out to be much better for high-fov panos than cylinders, though, which use disk space and memory poorly.

Q: Cubic? I thought I heard "spherical"?

A: While noted by some media outlets as 'spherical views', they are describing the experience instead of the technology. This is Apple-developed technology, and is based on cubic texture maps.

Q: If the image is based on a cube won't the seams show?

A: No. The user experience is completely seamless. There are no visible seams or corners. The file size is efficient. The quality is fantastic.

Q: Is Cubic VR reverse compatible with QuickTime 4?

A: Yes. Cubic VR will play in previous versions of QuickTime. The user will not be able to look all the way up and down. Also there may be a slight distortion to the images as the cylinder based player attempts to show the cube faces. But it is a great advantage that users will be able to still view the content.

Q: Does authoring cubic movies cost anything?

A: No. Once you have an equirectangular image like the ones from Panoscan... the only authoring software you need to start making cubic VR from a Panoscan image is a freeware program called MakeCubic PPC. It is available from Apple for free. There are no fees associated with using the software. More authoring applications for creating cubic movies are in the works from third party vendors as well.

Q: Can a cubic movie have hotspots?

A: Yes

Q: How many images does it take to make a cubic VR with Panoscan?

A: One. Panoscan can capture a fully immersive 180 by 360 degree image in one pass. You may decide to take more for creative reasons but a full cubic movie can be made from a single Panoscan image.

Q: How do I retouch a cubic movie?

A: This is a strong point for the Cubic format. Once a the equirectangular image has been converted to a cubic movie you may export the cube faces as pict files from the movie player for easy retouching in photoshop. (Click Here for instructions.) Because the cube faces are 90 degree by 90 degree planar views they look relativeley normal. This makes retouching easy. For example, cloning out the camera would be very difficult in an equirectangular or fisheye image because of the extreme distortion at the edges, but as a flat cube face it is easy to edit the bottom face which looks like a normal picture.

Q: How do the file sizes compare with spherical and tall cylinder files?

A: The cubic format is much more efficiant than the cylinder format for images over 120 degrees VFOV. When compared to spherical format the cubic format is approx 20% larger than a sphere with the same resolution at the horizon. However, the superb quality of the new QuickTime VR player renders a better quality image than most of the other spherical players available today. This means that a smaller cubic VR movie usually appears to look better than a larger spherical movie in the other players.