Meta Quest 2 Recording Feature Upgrade Launching in April or May
Meta wants to improve Quest’s video recording functionality within the next two months according to a Twitter post by the company’s Product Manager Clorama Dorvilias. At the moment, the Quest 2 headset has a rudimentary video recording functionality that will make the virtual reality rendering look and feel a little old-fashioned when viewed on a conventional computer monitor. A new Quest update should improve this recording functionality.
Modern gaming consoles have gameplay capture as a standard feature. This feature allows players to record the game progress simply at the touch of a button and the recording can subsequently be shared with friends or even on social networking websites. The recording and sharing functionality enables users to spread games. It’s a culture in the gaming community to share successful or some unusual aspects of the game.
The Meta Quest platform also provides the recording function. By default, most virtual reality headsets record in a square 1:1 format and at 30 frames per second. This unusual aspect ratio can be quite annoying, particularly when viewed on monitors, widescreen smartphones, or televisions as the black jars on the left and right edges of the picture which has an old-fashioned and annoying look and feel to it.
Presently, users record via a complicated workaround. In order to boost the framerate or to record in widescreen, users can connect their VR headset to a PC or SideQuest, and then they have to use the command line Android ADB commands for the recording action. However, these changes don’t remain after rebooting your headset after which you will have to retype the commands. If this procedure was available inside virtual reality via settings directly in the menu, VR users could seamlessly record their VR games in higher frame rates and with a wider aspect ratio without the complex workaround described above.
Yes, we're on this! We've been meeting with Creators (shoutout Oculus Brand Ambassadors 🙌🏾) and have been gathering all the needs/request to deliver an optimal solution. This is currently a top priority for our team to deliver on this year–Excited to get this in your hands ASAP!
— Clorama (@CreativeClo) January 14, 2022
Following a complaint by VR YouTuber Nathie in January this year about the issue, Meta Product Manager Clorama Dorvilias had replied that the feature was “currently a top priority” for its team to deliver on the feature in 2022, adding that the Meta team was “excited” to get this feature on user’s hands ASAP.
Our team can’t wait to put it in all your hands too! Feedback has been really positive from the creators who’ve seen designs. We’re shooting for a May public launch (accounting for privacy/security reviews/design/code iterations etc) but chances are high for April. pic.twitter.com/belgOTxQNx
— Clorama (@CreativeClo) March 21, 2022
On March 21st, Nathie followed up on the status of this feature and Dorvilias replied that her team was targeting a May public launch although “chances are high” that it may arrive in April.
Video Recording with Quest (2) Still a Technical Challenge
For users recording their VR games or experiences, a common command-line change is making changes to the aspect ratio from square (1:1) to a widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio that can fill up most of the TVs, laptop screen monitors, or landscape smartphone viewing. However, Quest records at an aspect ratio of 1:1 because this is the actual aspect ratio at which each eye renders. Changing the aspect ratio to widescreen, therefore, does not necessarily expand the recorded field of view but it will simply losslessly crop, meaning it will record a crop of the field of view without a loss in quality.
When shooting your videos in a more common aspect ratio, the field of view is cropped at the top and bottom instead of expanding left and right. This happens because the Oculus Quest 2 headset renders images per eye with an aspect ratio of 1:1.
Recording games at an aspect ratio of 16:9 still provides a better experience overall for some games as the recording looks more immersive and less annoying than seeing black bars on the sides of your laptop or smartphone screens. However, when recording experiences such as melee combat games, the recording will cut off the weapon as well as the top and bottom of nearby enemies and in cockpit games such as Warplanes, the recording will usually cut off the throttle and stick.
There is also a technical challenge with recording at 60 frames per second due to frame drops as the normal gameplay must not fall below this framerate mark and you won’t want to grapple with issues such as draining your batteries or overheating your headset. Meta Quest 2 uses a Snapdragon chip from 2020 that runs at half load so it will be interesting to see how Meta manages to handle these trade-offs. It won’t be an easy one.
For good widescreen recordings at stable framerates, there will be a need for VR headsets that pack more powerful chips and a wider field of view. However, until this is realized in the future, creators will have to contend with Meta’s upcoming video recording feature set to arrive in April or May and decide on what to prioritize when making recordings.