This isn’t going to cut it
What good is revolutionary technology if you can’t show it off to your friends? As kindergarten taught me, the more you share your new toy, the more fun you’ll have with it. So if you’ve recently purchased a cutting-edge Gear VR headset, you too may wish to share your experience by capturing screenshots to distribute digitally. You’ll also need screenshots to submit apps to the Oculus Store. We at Foundry 45 have uncovered many different methods of acquiring screenshots, each with their own strengths and limitations.
Method 1: Bluetooth Keyboard Option
The most optimal option is quite self-explanatory. Connecting your phone to any Bluetooth Keyboard and pressing the Print Screen Key (or Function + Print Screen in our case) while the phone is in the VR headset will snap a screenshot. Pictures will be placed in your phone’s gallery and accessible via USB. At Foundry 45, we recently purchased this Bluetooth keyboard from Amazon, and have discovered this to be the most user-friendly method available for obtaining screenshots. The high resolution pictured quality combined with the ease of the process dignify this method over any other current solution. We officially give this option the Foundry 45 Seal of Approval.
After buying a Gear VR headset and a VR compatible phone, you might not want to rush to purchase another gadget. Especially when the same quality screenshots can be captured through free, albeit more difficult methods. If you do buy one, make sure that the keyboard you purchase has a Print Screen button! If it doesn’t, you might end up hating your keyboard more than this guy.
Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BugexqConq8
(Note: You may be able to use a regular keyboard with a USB adapter. Though we have not tested this method, we did come across this tweet that details the process. Looks like this method requires a cable with a male USB end and a female USB end.)
Method 2: Native Video Recording / Screenshot function.
Oculus responded to their users’ communal requests by launching an update to all Android 5.0 phones which enables them to record and screenshot within the Gear VR headset.
In order take screenshots using this method:
- While viewing inside the headset, hold the back button to bring up the Universal Menu.
- Select Utilities from the Menu (seen below)
3.) Select the Screenshot option.
4.) You will return to whatever application or menu you previously using.
5.) You are given 5 seconds to set up the shot. A small red dot on the screen indicates when the picture will be taken.
6.) After you channel your inner photographer, you should hear a shutter flash. The screenshot will be stored in your phone’s gallery and the Oculus folder in your phone’s internal storage.
The screenshots from this method are unfortunately low resolution (1024x1024px). Also, while this method works great for snapping pictures of apps run through the Gear VR Menu, some VR experiences don’t accommodate this function as the Universal Menu is not accessible while the app is running.
On the video side of things, there are also a few hindrances that keep the process from being entirely intuitive.
- This function only records video, not audio!
- Unlike the red dot from the screenshot option, there is no recording indicator when capturing video in this method.
- Video recording will stop any time an app is exited, opened, or when the Universal Menu is opened.
- Any streaming service like Netflix will completely negate any recording function from the VR headset. Pirates be warned!
Method 3: Android SDK tools/ Adb route.
Despite its moderate learning curve, this process has proven to be the most effective way for us to capture screenshots from the phone within the Gear VR headset without the purchase of additional hardware. If you’re not afraid of the command prompt, prepare to have your mind blown.
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WAxDlUOw-w
Step 1) Download the Android SDK Toolkit on your PC/Mac
Install using these instructions!
Step 2) Enable USB Debugging on your Android
a.) Select the Settings Cog from the top swipe-down menu
b.) Select About Device
c.) Tap “Build Number” 7 times to enable Developer Mode
d.) Go back to the previous menu
e.) Select Developer Options
f.) Enable USB Debugging
Step 3) Connect to your Android through Wifi
a.) Connect Android to PC via USB
b.) Open Command Prompt on the PC
c.) Ensure Device is connected by typing:
d.) Should see Phone serial listed
e.) Turn on Phone Wifi
f.) Find Out Phone IP address by typing in PC:
adb shell ip addr show wlan0
g.) Among all the information, locate the IP address.
h.) Should be in format: 192.168.1.111
i.) Type in:
adb tcpip 5555
j). Disconnect the USB cable
k.) Type in this sequence with your IP address:
l.) Ensure Device is connected by typing:
Step 4) Snap Some Shots Baby!
Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiccRcnjPtE
a.) Place the Phone in the VR Headset and run any app you want.
b.) Record your first screenshot by typing and entering in the PC:
adb shell screencap /sdcard/screen1.png
c.) Record your second screenshot by typing and entering in the PC:
adb shell screencap /sdcard/screen2.png
d.) Continue this process until your heart’s content.
e.) To access these files, simply reconnect your Phone to Computer via USB! They’ll be in DCIM/Screenshots
f.) To disconnect Phone from Wifi, type:
Obviously, technical expertise will benefit you while accomplishing this task, but if you stick closely to this guide, you can complete every step without any prior knowledge. Though being user friendly isn’t this method’s strong suit, learning something never hurt anyone (Except maybe Oedipus). Be conscious of how your headset is tilted while you enter the screenshot function because it will affect the picture. Because this process isn’t optimized for VR quite yet, screenshots will be doubled (like below) as this is what the actual phone screen is displaying. The same is the case for the Bluetooth Keyboard method, but simply cropping the image can solve this problem!
Feel free to come to us for all questions and needs related to this cool Virtual Reality tech!
You can call us the Ora-cool
If you’re interested in creating your own Virtual Reality application for your trade show or recruiting efforts, be sure to contact Foundry 45 for premiere content!
Written by David Andriate
Digital Media Specialist
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