First look at Vision Pro spatial video in new Apple demos

Watching a Spatial Video recording on Vision Pro (Source: Apple)

Apple has shown off its Apple Vision Pro video features in more detail, with a few venues invited to watch 3D video shot on iPhone on the upcoming headset.

As the promised Spatial Video recording for iPhone 15 Pro finally arrived in iOS 17, so Apple has been allowing a select group of people to try it out. Under similar controlled circumstances to its previous Vision Pro demonstrations, users were able to shoot some video and then watch that back plus prerecorded examples.

All were similarly impressed, and Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal and her Tech Things blog suggests that more people will shoot 3D video with their iPhone than with the headset itself.

Sushi as you’ve never seen it before

“At the demo, I recorded a sushi chef holding a piece of sushi,” writes Stern. “When I watched it back in the Vision Pro, the sushi and the chopsticks really looked 3-D.”

“They were clearly in the foreground, hovering closer to me than the rest of the imagery,” she continued. “Of course the lighting was perfect when recording — we’ll have to see how it does in imperfect conditions.”

Stern says that one of Apple’s examples of a recording of a family “was so lifelike and cozy that it almost creeped me out.”

As impressed as she was, she adds “guess who isn’t wearing a clunky face computer to her two-year-old’s birthday party? THIS MOM!”

More sushi, less resolution

CNET also got the ability to shoot video of a chef preparing sushi. “And now it’s a VR experience I’m watching in beautiful 3D on Apple’s Vision Pro headset,” writes Scott Stein.

However, even while calling his own video and Apple’s other examples “undeniably vivid,” CNET‘s Stein said it was “a tiny bit disappointing that the videos can’t be recorded in 4K resolution.”

“Apple’s Vision Pro headset has astounding quality and resolution, which became clear once again as I looked at iPhone photos in the headset and zoomed in on them, or viewed panoramic photos in a wraparound mode that made it feel like I was in a vivid immersive recreation of a location, similar to a 360-degree photo,” he continues. “The spatial videos look really nice, but I felt the desire to see them in more fluid 60fps, 4K or both. Maybe someday.”

“There’s no recording limit on the videos, so you could theoretically make a spatial video 3D feature-length film,” says Stein.

But at present, the videos can only be trimmed in the Vision Pro headset or on the iPhone. They can’t be edited in Final Cut Pro, though Apple promises that this will change during 2024.

Killer app

TechRadar is more impressed, with reviewer Lance Ulanoff saying that “I now realize that spatial video could be the Vision Pro’s killer app.”

As well as needing iOS 17.2, “Apple makes it possible to shoot stereoscopic or spatial video, but only when you hold the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max in landscape mode.”

“To simplify matters, Apple is only capturing two 1080p/30fps video streams in HEVC (high-efficiency video coding) format,” continues Ulanoff. “Owing to the dual stream, the file size is a bit larger, creating a 130MB file for about one minute of video.”

“[Spatial] video may make the most compelling case yet for, if not owning a Vision Pro,” continues the publication, “then at least wishing you did.”

Apple Vision Pro is due to be released early in 2024, though Apple has yet to announce a more specific date.

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