HereSphere is a cutting edge VR video player that enhances immersion. Features include an autofocus depth algorithm, software IPD adjustment, head-tracking, spatial audio, lens distortion and alignment corrections, online video streaming, and video tagging with advanced search features.
All Reviews:
Positive (20) - 95% of the 20 user reviews for this software are positive.
Release Date:
Feb 26, 2021
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Early Access Software

Get involved with this software as it develops.

Note: This Early Access software is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to use this software in its current state, then you should wait to see if it progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“HereSphere is an experimental application focused on pushing the limits of VR video immersion. It accomplishes this through newly developed projection algorithms, such as distance-based head tracking, IPD correction, dynamic auto-focus, and many more currently in development. These algorithms need to be tested and improved with user feedback.

Stereoscopic VR videos can be perceived differently from person to person, based on factors such as interpupillary distance and one's sensitivity to motion sickness. Having the opportunity to test this application with a wide variety of users is essential to improving these algorithms and advancing VR video technology.”

Approximately how long will this software be in Early Access?

“HereSphere will be in Early Access for the foreseeable future (2021). There are many features that will require a lot of research, experimentation, and time to implement.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The full version should be able to play most standard video formats, with a user-friendly interface and improved visuals. Rotation stabilization, eye synchronization, motion interpolation, and full parallax stereoscopic rendering are possibilities, though much more research and development is needed before guaranteeing results.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“HereSphere is capable of playing standard flat-screen, equirectangular, and fisheye videos in monoscopic, side-by-side, and top-bottom stereoscopic formats. It supports a continuous range of field-of-views, as well as 6DOF and emulated spatial audio for VR video.

Multiple flat-screen videos can be played simultaneously with the multi-screen feature, with audio that will automatically focus on the screen in front of the user.

The media library feature allows searching, time-stamped tagging, and sorting by rating, with boolean operations and equality/range comparisons. The media library will remember video resume times and keep track of video play count.

Web streaming is also supported for websites that implement the DeoVR API. If the website contains video tags, then those are also loaded and can be searched/sorted. The categorized tags menu streamlines the tag searching process by listing all of the available tags, and has buttons for boolean search operations. Some websites will support presets that will enable the auto-focus algorithm, which enhances the clarity of an image by maintaining convergence and makes objects appear more solid and life-like.

The timeserver API allows the application to send playback information to peripherals.

Only Windows Media Foundation is supported at the moment.”

Will this software be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“HereSphere is currently expected to increase in price as more features are added, so the price of the game at release may be higher than in Early Access.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“The community feedback, bug submissions, and feature requests will be used to improve the application. Information on whether an algorithm improves the immersiveness of a VR video will be used to iterate and improve the projection methods. Users are encouraged to join the HereSphere Discord channel at https://discord.gg/NbdaYGV to actively participate in the development process.”
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Notice: Requires a virtual reality headset. See the VR Support section for more info.
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About This Software

HereSphere is a cutting edge VR video player that enhances the immersiveness of stereoscopic VR videos. HereSphere's comprehensive projection system allows for incredibly accurate projection of equirectangular and fisheye videos. It can correct lens distortions, camera stereo alignment errors, video stitching and production errors, and even adjusts the image to match the viewer's IPD, head orientation, and position with its state-of-the-art autofocus depth algorithm.

HereSphere comes with the following additional features:
  • Stream online videos from websites that implement supported web API's, or stream directly from download links
  • An advanced timestamped file tagging system with media library search tools, playlists, and autoseeking that will automatically jump to the desired tags
  • Image post-processing tools, such as sharpening, color adjustments, and tone mapping
  • Key-framed settings that can be set to different values for different points in time, allowing the player to load the ideal settings for each scene
  • Emulated spatial audio, which shifts the stereo audio signal depending on the orientation of the viewer
  • Simultaneous playback of multiple flat-screen videos, with audio that automatically focuses on the video in front of the viewer
  • Local timestamp server to synchronize peripherals
  • Support for motion controllers, gamepad, keyboard, and mouse

Current VR video technology uses two stationary cameras with wide-angle fisheye lenses to capture stereo video. Projecting the recorded images onto a VR headset display comes with several challenges, which HereSphere seeks to overcome.

First, the fisheye lenses produce optical distortions. These distortions are typically handled in post-production by converting the fisheye images to an equirectangular format. However, the wrong lens profile may be applied during the conversion process, leading to unwanted distortions in the final image. HereSphere handles this issue with its wide range of lens profiles with adjustable FOV's, which it can convert between lens profiles. It even has the option to use custom lens distortion curves, allowing it to handle any raw fisheye lens or equirectangular conversion.

Second, the positions of the stereo cameras are locked in at the time of recording. To properly perceive depth and scale, the human visual system depends on the convergence of our eyes (the angle at which our eyes need to rotate to focus on an object). If the distance between the stereo cameras doesn't match the distance between the eyes of the viewer, then the convergence angle required to focus on an object will not match reality for the viewer. In addition, if the viewer rotates or moves their head, their eyes will no longer be in alignment with the position and orientation of the stationary cameras. This leads to double-vision, eyestrain, and an inaccurate perception of depth and scale. HereSphere solves this issue by using a mathematical model with real-time depth detection to adjust the projection to match different IPD's, head orientations, and even tracks the viewer's position to emulate motion with 6DOF.

Third, there will be errors in the alignment and orientation of the stereo cameras relative to each other, as well as manufacturing errors in the placement of the camera photosensors, and post-production stitching errors. Our eyes can be incredibly perceptive, so a fraction of a degree off in rotational alignment, or a fraction of a millimeter off in positional alignment, or a few pixels off during the stitching process, can all lead to eyestrain, depth perception, and scale issues. HereSphere uses a comprehensive list of stitching and alignment settings to correct these errors. The depth detection algorithm outputs distance readings and can be used with an anaglyph view mode that allows the viewer to easily see and adjust the images to be perfectly aligned with convincing depth.

When all of these issues are handled, the resulting image becomes incredibly clear, free from eye-strain, and the sense of immersion is greatly enhanced.

HereSphere relies on Windows Media Foundation and hardware accelerated decoding for video playback. In order to play h265/HEVC videos, the HEVC extension for Windows must be installed. h264 videos must not be greater than 4k resolution and can only have 8-bit color depth, due to the limitations of hardware accelerated decoding of h264 videos.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 8.1 or newer
    • Processor: Intel i3-6100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 960 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 400 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 10
    • Processor: Intel i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 400 MB available space

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