Updated, 1/18/2018, 10:00am PT: Corrected spelling error of Jim Malcolm’s name.
HumanEyes introduced a new version of its Vuze VR camera called the Vuze+, which includes advanced features for "prosumers." The new camera features improved lenses, better audio capture hardware, and stronger dust and water protection. The Vuze+ is also able to livestream.
The Vuze+ VR camera shares the same basic platform as the standard Vuze camera. Like the original Vuze, the Vuze+ includes four pairs of 4K cameras to capture 360-degree 3D footage in ultra-high-resolution. Both cameras also share the same rounded square shape, which provides equidistant spacing for each pair of cameras. At first glance, its hard to tell the two Vuze models apart.
Most of the differences, such as the improved microphones for better spatial audio capture or the redesigned lenses that improve the image clarity, are internal. HumanEyes said that the new custom lenses are used to provide “better edge to edge sharpness and stronger contrast,” which helps reduce chromatic aberration.
The biggest physical change to the outward appearance of the new camera would be the larger buttons with bright LEDs that you can still see under sunlight. HumanEyes also reinforced the Vuze+ so that it can withstand slightly more rugged terrain. The standard Vuze camera features IP64 certification, which means that it can handle light splashes without any concerns. The Vuze+ features the somewhat higher IP65 certification, which means that dust won’t get into the camera. It should also withstand a blast of pressurized water, like the splash of a puddle while moving at high speed.
The Vuze+ can take a good splash, but it is not safe to fully submerge the device. HumanEyes said that it is building a dive case for the camera, which would enable divers to take the camera to down to 100' below surface level, but that case won’t be cheap. Jim Malcolm, General Manager – North America at HumanEyes, told us that the camera case would cost $2,995 when it becomes available at the end of the month. “Making a case with eight polished glass domes with full field-of-view is not easy to do,” said Malcolm. “It takes a lot of labor to polish the glass.”
HumanEyes doesn’t expect many amateur divers to purchase the water proof case, but it is working on an affordable solution that would enable rentals of the camera, case, and accessories for occasional use.
Malcolm told us that the biggest change with the new generation Vuze camera is the ability to livestream your surroundings. The original Vuze camera featured internal storage to capture the moment, but it wasn’t possible to use the device to broadcast live over the internet. Now, with the Vuze+, you can stream your 360-degre 3D feed through Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, or any other service that supports RTMP streaming.
“The VR camera market has steadily grown, but only few camera options allow users to shoot in true VR with 3D video. Additionally, once a video is shot and produced, many users don’t have a way to easily share their VR stories, which has been the key missing component in helping drive VR adoption,” said Humaneyes Technologies’ CEO, Shahar Bin-Nun. “The Vuze+ VR Camera addresses this issue and expands the VR ecosystem from true VR capture to production to consumption, allowing anyone to create and share truly immersive VR experiences.”
The Vuze+ camera’s livestreaming function has limitations. When you’re capturing full video, the camera doesn’t need to tether to a host device. However, to use the livestream function, it must be connected to a PC.
“It’s still a technology that’s going to require a computer between the camera and the internet because the camera still is capturing 1GB of data for every 1 minute of recording, so we do leverage the computer to do that,” said Malcolm.
The Vuze live stream functionality isn’t just for sharing your experiences on social media. It also serves as a live preview screen to help you calibrate your shot. HumanEyes created a companion application that lets you adjust the contrast, brightness, and tone of each camera sensor individually. The Vuze Camera App can also stabilize the horizon of your video so that it doesn’t make people sick when they watch your content from a VR headset.
The Vuze+ also includes a Bluetooth wireless adapter, which you can use to access the preview screen. The Bluetooth connection will eventually support wireless microphones, too.
Livestreaming is a standard function of the Vuze+ camera, but HumanEyes said that you could buy an upgrade for the standard Vuze camera for $199.
The new Vuze+ isn’t any more powerful than the previous model. It still captures 3D 360-degree video at 30 fps. However, the new model can consolidate its power to four cameras, which eliminates the depth from the scene, but captures the monoscopic 360-degree video at 60 fps.
HumanEyes also introduced a content publishing platform called HumanEyes Zone, which makes it simple to share your video creations with others. The HumanEyes Zone is a WebVR app that enables you to share your content with anyone with an internet connection by sharing a URL.
The HumanEyes Zone is like the Vicarious platform. It enables you to combine images, videos, and text elements to tell a story in VR.
The HumanEyes Zone isn’t a free service, though HumanEyes gives you the first two months to try it before you buy. HumanEyes offers three hosting plans: For $10/month or $99 for the year, you can get the basic plan, which includes 5GB of storage. The Premium plan includes 15GB of storage for $14.95/month or $149 for the year. And the Pro plan gives you 30GB to work with for $19.95/month or $199/year.
The Vuze+ camera is available now for $1,200.