This October I talked about spherical audio for 360°/VR videos at Demuxed, a conference for video engineers. I explain the principles of the Ambisonics surround sound technique from recording to playback through a speaker array or headphones with binaural playback, and how it can be used in web applications and video players through the Web Audio API.
The slides edited into the video are slightly incomplete and miss a few important details, and I made a mistake talking about “headphones” instead of “microphones” on the HRTF slide. Other than that, I think the video can be helpful to everyone trying to understand what the Ambisonics technique is. There’s also a short recap on the talk, conference, and the Ambisonics integration into the Bitmovin video player on the company blog called 360° VR Audio with the Bitmovin Player.
Maneuver is a nice and simple (but unmaintained) plugin for remote deployments of Laravel apps over FTP and SFTP/SSH. The documentation on configuring SSH connections is lacking important details though, so here’s some examples. Maneuver uses the Bridge library under the hood, whose source code is how I found out the required parameters. The following example code demonstrates server configurations in the
connections section of the
maneuver.php config file.
Native immersive 360° VR video playback on Android with Spectaculum
Playback of immersive 360° video on Android is usually done in a WebView with an HTML5 video player. This tutorial demonstrates how to display 360° video in a native view widget to save the overhead of a whole browser stack. This is done by using the versatile Spectaculum view widget for video rendering and the popular ExoPlayer for video decoding. Both of these libraries are open source under the Apache 2.0 license and available on GitHub and the JCenter repository.
Spectaculum is a view widget for Android to display visual content in a GLES accelerated context, providing zooming and panning functionality, parameterized shader effects, and frame grabbing. It comes with additional views that save developers a lot of time and implement all functionality for displaying bitmap images, camera preview, and videos through the Android MediaPlayer, MediaPlayer Extended, and ExoPlayer. The packaged shader effects range from simple color filters to immersive 360° VR video rendering.
The Spectaculum view can be used with all sources that can write to a surface or surface texture, which is essentially every visual content source, but I recommend using one of the many available modules if applicable. Example use-cases are photo galleries and picture viewers with zooming/panning support and optional picture effects through shaders (e.g. contrast adjustment, color correction), video players with live image adjustments through shaders and 3D/360°/immersive/VR playback, and camera previews with live effects. An extensive documentation on functionality, API, usage, and modules is available on GitHub. The library is also available from JCenter’s Maven repository, and a demo app that showcases various views and shader effects is available on the Play Store.
Spectaculum on GitHub
Android’s Matrix.setRotateEulerM(…) function contains a bug and returns a wrong matrix result when rotating around the Y-axis. Googling android setRotateEulerM bug returns just 15 hits out of which only the first one is relevant: a neglected AOSP issue, marked as obsolete, that luckily contains the fix in comment #3. This bug has been reported in 2010 for Android 2.2 and still exists today in Android 6.0.1.
Left: rotation gone wrong. Right: rotation with fixed function.
Can it really be the case that almost nobody is using this function although there are thousands of OpenGL apps and games around? Why is it not discussed more frequently? Why is it marked as obsolete? Is this not a bug, but a case of incorrect usage?
GalleryGrid.js on GitHub
will follow soon is available here. It is available on GitHub (sources and distributables) and through npm and Bower. Read the docs, check out the demo or see it in production use in the picture list on LAIS.Foto.
LAIS.Foto is a voluntary project that I developed a few months ago for a friend. It is basically a self-hosted online photo sharing platform with community features, similar to Flickr. Compared to other existing platforms, it features a unique upload and download workflow with an intermediate moderation step, tailored to the principle of donating and requesting pictures.
The story began when the client asked me for my opinion on how she could build and manage a photo sharing platform with one of these online website generators provided by webhosting companies. The idea was to create a picture sharing website called LAIS.Foto, where people could donate (upload) pictures for charity and nonprofit projects that cannot or do not want to afford paid pictures for their promotion work. Members of these projects would then request and acquire (download) pictures that they want to use.
The inner workings of Bintray’s Maven repositories and their inclusion into JCenter are a bit nebulous, but with a few undocumented cues the whole system is actually pretty straightforward and easy to understand.