Hi! I’m Thierry, the CEO of Headjack, and I will guide you through this Headjack crash course. In the following twelve lessons, I will teach you how to create and build your first 360 / VR / XR video player app and distribute it to various XR platforms. 

Headjack 101 crash course for creating your first 360 / VR / AR application

I’ve spent the past decade building Purple Pill & Headjack. Both companies have worked on countless VR/AR productions and eventually merged in 2019. In my last ten years of working in the VR /AR, 360 video industry, I had various roles ranging from creative director, 3D/video asset pipeline architect, and executive producer.  

Today I’m building Headjack, a SaaS company specializing in XR production and distribution tools that help studios and developers from around the globe deliver their ideas with more impact and greater control.

Now you know who I am and why we build Headjack in the first place. Let’s go and create your first XR video app and prepare it for widespread distribution.

What will be included in this 101 course?

This 101 course starts after you have finished your first (360) video and need to review it in an app or VR headset for final distribution. During this course, you will learn the following and create your first XR / VR video app ready for distribution. In the last four lessons of this course, we have a closer look at how to create your own custom Unity video project.

Why do I need a dedicated VR video player app in the first place?

There is more than one way of distributing your video content to a VR headset or mobile device; You could opt for YouTube or Oculus Video or use one of the other web-based video players out there. Apart from losing control over your content, these platforms are very limited in functionality and branding options. On top of that, these platforms are not suitable for industries like healthcare or enterprise since these industries require tight control over who uses these apps, and content can’t be publicly available.

On the other hand, working with dedicated VR apps usually requires a developer and deep-rooted knowledge of both the creation and distribution of these apps. At Purple Pill, we also encountered this problem in 2013 while releasing our first 360 video productions. We started working on an automated solution that could fix these issues for the wider VR community and us, eventually resulting in the release of Headjack.

build VR / XR/ 360 video apps with Headjack products

Headjack takes the pain of creating an XR video player applications by providing pre-designed app templates and an app cloud build solution requiring no coding. However, if you know how to code, Headjack offers ample options to build or expand on these templates or start from scratch with our software SDK and Unity plugin.

A quick overview of all Headjack products

Before we deep dive into creating our first 360 video player app, I will start with a quick overview of all Headjack products and illustrate how they work in tandem to make your XR video app.

The Headjack CMS

At the core of all Headjack applications is the Headjack Content Management System. In this web application, you can create VR apps, manage projects, upload videos, transcode them, update them, get app analytics, and much more.

build 360 video apps with the Headjack CMS

Video Cloud Transcoder

The Headjack cloud transcoder prepares your video for final distribution from a single master. Let’s say you want to distribute your video to Quest 2, Pico Neo 3, and iPhone. Headjack cloud transcoder creates three videos, each optimized for a specific platform, so you don’t have to worry about video compressions and playback compatibility for each device or platform.

Encode 360 video for VR applications

App Templates and Cloud Build

We have built a set of Headjack templates targeted to specific VR use cases and can be built without any coding with our Cloud Build solution right from the CMS.

Headjack Link and Operator

Headjack Link and Operator are the two main companion apps of the Headjack CMS. Headjack Link is used for easy content distribution and review while Operator is used for remote-controlled playback of VR Headsets.

The Unity SDK

For a developer, it is also possible to build on top of our pre-designed app Templates or start from scratch entirely and only use the CMS as the core of their XR video application by leveraging the power of our Unity SDK in their Unity projects.

A deeper look at the Headjack App Page

Now that we have a basic understanding of each individual Headjack product let’s look more closely at the most critical page of the Headjack CMS, the App Page. The App page is the main page where you can create and manage your XR video apps, change their templates, and create or add new projects. It’s essentially the go-to page for anything that is related to a specific application.

To create your first app, navigate to All Apps > + New App

For the sake of this tutorial, I already created an app and filled it with some content. In later lessons, we will go into much greater detail on how to do this for your application, but since this is just a quick overview, we will stick with my pre-filled account for now.

Overview of the app page to build VR / XR / 360 video apps

On the top, you will find your app icon, bundle ID, and, most importantly, the Save button for your app. Beneath that, you will find the project list that houses all your app content, and below that are some app analytics, specifically for this application. You will find your unique app code on the right, which you can use to log in to Headjack Link and Operator. Below that anything related to the specific app template selected for your application. A view button to get the download links for Headjack Link and its unique six-digit login code. And lastly, you will find an overview of all the app builds you might have made with Headjack Cloud Build in case you don’t want to use Headjack Link and need an APK for sideloading.

In the following stage, We will start creating our first projects and view them inside the Headjack Link application.