My Kuula Review!

Hi! I decided to take some time this week to continue my search for what program is best for my needs to share my 360° media. Today I’m focusing on the Kuula website.

I used the Ricoh Theta SC Hatsune Miku to capture my photos/videos and an iPad Pro to edit them. I am interested in trying out different 360° programs in order to find what fits my needs best; something quick, efficient, and optimized for social media.

Initial Thoughts

The Kuula site is a sleek and easy to use interface for designing virtual tours and standalone 360 images. I was particularly interested in some of the example images I had seen from the front page, and was excited to see the editing abilities of the application. Kuula offers you to start with a free account or activate your free 14 day trial and drop to a free account after. For the purpose of this review, I maintained the free account.

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There are several types of preset filters you can work with, as well as the ability to vary the intensity of your chosen filter.

One thing that I really liked was the ability to create “tiny planets” or “rabbit holes”. As you can see in this picture, the “tiny planet” that Kuula made out of my 360 image was fun! I had inserted my Theta in between some of the cacti leaves to change up the perspective in my shots, since I seem to gravitate towards anything that looks different than grass.

This is the rabbit hole that I made. It’s the inverse of my tiny planet, fairly unsurprisingly. I liked this one a little more, if only because the sun isn’t glaring and taking up more space than necessary.

A really cool feature of Kuula is the ability to add solar flares into your images. There are a couple different options for the type of flare you can add in, the one I picked was the “Round with rays” type. You can see below that to get a good flare, I had to make the picture basically unpalatable in terms of brightness.

Never to fear, though! As you can see here, the other side of my picture – the cactus – looks just fine in the selected overexposure. This leads me to believe that the exposure is mostly tied to the location of the solar “pin”. This is nice, as it lends the option to add in the solar flare at a high intensity and then pan away to other areas of the image that are more pleasantly lit.

To check out the “tour” I made, click here.

In summary, here are my pros and cons for the Kuula web tool:

Pros Cons
Tutorials available for most options Filters are not super aesthetically pleasing at times head on
Can take individual images or groups of images (tours) A lot of features are in the Pro edition
Solar flares are awesome! In free edition, photos are public
Filters are nice Batch upload only allows for 5 at a time, though you can add extra photos after
Quick uploading time Hotspots only work in Pro edition. Any photo linking that is done in the Free edition won’t show up. (Thanks @Waldo!)
Option to remove EXIF data

Concluding Thoughts

I really liked Kuula. I thought it was a nice marriage of Google Tour Creator and the Theta+ app, which I’ve reviewed as well and am linking here. I thought that the solar flare ability was really, really cool; definitely the best part of this application by far. All things considered, the free version was just fine and I could see that being just fine in the long term for someone.

Until next time!

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How do I move from one photo to another on the link you posted? On the link you posted, it gets redirected to an individual picture on my browser.

https://kuula.co/edit/7KwGP/collection/7lsTK

Did you mean to post the link to the collection? I’m not sure how Kuula works. Thanks.

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As far as I can tell, this should work now. The images have been linked via hotspots, though they are somewhat arbitrary.

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Thanks for the clarification and for the nice review. It seems like Kuula has more features and is generally better than the Google Tours Creator. There’s a lot that it offers in the free version.

Are you using an app on the iPad Pro? Or, are you using a web browser on the iPad Pro with a Kuula web-based app? I was just wondering if Kuula used a mobile app for editing.

FYI - Going from photo to photo is only available if the person making the tour has a paid membership :sob:. That’s one thing I don’t like about Kuula. That’s why you can see the hotspots but nobody else can. I found that out the hard way too. Spent a couple hours making the hot spots for nothing…

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@Waldo Hahaha, that makes TOTAL sense as to why I added in the hotspots and still have been asked where they are. Definitely an added bummer, I’ve edited the Pros/Cons table in light of this! :slight_smile:

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I used the web application. A quick search of the app store looks like there is no Kuula app, though it would definitely lend itself to that format.

@Waldo, wow that’s some great information. The photographer sees a different view from the audience. Wow.

It’s not clear from the price information that the “Virtual Tour Editor” refers to the hotspots.

They should make one tour available with the hotspots with the free level. The $12/month cost is fine if there is some business use, but not likely that most hobbyists would pay at that level.

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Thanks for the info on Kuula. It is easy to use and the paid price is better than a lot of other tour sites.

I noticed in the 4th photo of your tour there is a red dot by the speed bump. I have them show up sometimes in my photos. Do you know what causes them and how to prevent them?

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If you’re referring to the red dot in the picture below, it is a lens flare.

image

The reviewer @zatsune is using a Hatsune Miku Special Edition RICOH THETA based on the SC model. That is a slightly older that is a little more sensitive to lens flare. The high-end THETA Z1 eliminates this problems with adjustable aperture, but is much more expensive.

You can reduce the effect by putting the thin edge of the camera toward the brightest spot (the sun). This helps to keep the illumination of both lenses similar.

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That is the dot I was referring to. Thanks for the tip, I will try putting the edge towards the sun next time.

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You can quickly edit out the lens flare with free software.

If you want to reduce the lens flare while you’re taking the shot and try to avoid post-shoot editing.

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Some time ago I created a page with 10 viewers (including kuula) where you can see and compare how they all work. Though my review isn’t as comprehensive as yours. Maybe you could use it for your future posts: https://360photo-to-video.com/360-photo-viewers-comparison.html
Open on desktop as smartphones usually can’t allocate enough resources to display all 10 together.

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@craig thanks for the useful links.

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Wow, this is awesome! Thanks for sharing this, there are some names I didn’t recognize and am excited to try out! Maybe I should try embedding in my next review… :star_struck:

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