How to watch YouTube 360 videos in Google Cardboard

By popular demand, here is a quick guide on how to get YouTube’s new 360 videos to play inside Google Cardboard.

YouTube has quickly become the best source of 360 videos, and the quality is pretty high, provided the original video is in good enough quality. The guide is simple enough to follow, but it’s a bunch of manual steps, so there is some work involved.

Disclaimer: Downloading videos from YouTube is a legal grey area at best, so proceed at your own risk.

I’ve tried with this video:

Step 1: Download the source files, using your favourite YouTube downloader
I use Keepvid, so with my example, use this URL:

http://keepvid.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Ft%3D250%26v%3Dj81DDY4nvos

It splits the content into separate video and audio, and I’m guessing that’s unique to 360 video. Download the highest quality video version (in this case 2160p) in mp4-format and the separate audio track in M4a-format.

Step 2: Combine the video and audio files, using your favourite video tool.
I used ffmpeg, since it’s awesome. Here is the simple (and quick) command-line I used to merge the two:

ffmpeg -i video.mp4 -i audio.m4a.mp4 -c:v copy -c:a aac -strict experimental output.mp4

The merged file is called “output.mp4″ in this case

Step 3: View the video in your favourite VR video player for Android.
I used KolorEyes. It’s not pretty, but it works. It’s pretty specific about where to put the video-files, but follow that and you’ll do fine. I’m sure you know how to transfer files from your computer to your phone.

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