Unequivocally, 2016 is the Year Of VR. This is the year that has seen/will see the consumer launches of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PSVR, and that’s not to mention whatever VR-related goodies Google is cooking up for its I/O conference next week.
The Second Wave
While HMD tech is enjoying its first generation of products and commensurate enthusiasm, game and “experience” devs are innovating on what seems to be a daily basis. But there’s another wave following closely behind that has to do with making VR content. That wave includes VR/3D/360 cameras, software tools, and more.
There are several such cameras that none of us can afford, such as Jaunt's NEO, Google's Jump, Nokia's Ozo and Facebook's Surround 360, but HumanEyes Technology is one of the players in the consumer-level space. The company created the Vuze, a camera that promises both reasonable quality and ease of use, and 360 3D capture. It costs $799, and you can preorder it starting today. (Units will ship later this year, in the fall.)
We’ve written about the Vuze in depth already--or as in-depth as one can be without proper testing--but the message from HumanEyes bears reiterating as preorders roll in: It’s the software, stupid.
Solving Challenges In 360 Content
It should come as no surprise to anyone that capturing video in 360 degrees is just the first step in the unwieldy and difficult process of creating immersive video content. Editing can be a nightmare, and that’s largely why HumanEyes built in stitching software to the Vuze.
HumanEyes intends to solve the problem with its proprietary "Adaptive Blending" technology, which ostensibly stitches the captured images together seamlessly, without you, the end user, having to do anything. And you can preview all of it, and even control it, from your phone.
The second piece is production, and here again HumanEyes has tried to make things easy with its Vuze Studio.
“The Vuze Studio uses a powerful algorithm that automatically carries out a host of complex editing and stitching functions such as camera calibration, vignette, fisheye and perspective correction, white balance and exposure correction as well as stereo alignment for consistent parallax. This is done in moments and at a touch of a button,” reads the press release.
This process allegedly happens in the equivalent of real-time--that is, one minute of video takes one minute to process.
Such ease of use could be a huge boon to the new homemade VR content creation market, assuming it works as advertised. HumanEyes has made some other bold claims in its marketing materials that seem farfetched. For example, it claimed that the quality of the content the Vuze can produce is on par with camera systems that cost many times more. We’ll have to see that to believe it (but we certainly hope these claims hold true).
The camera comes with the aforementioned software. The whole package costs $799 and is up for preorder now.
|Type||360-degree, 3D video camera|
|Optics||-8 total 1080p HD cameras (2 per side) -180x120 FoV-Spherical: 360x180 degrees|
|Recording||-H.264-4K resolution panorama @ 30fps-Up to 120 Mbps VBR-Audio: AAC|
|Connectivity||-802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz-USB 2.0 Data transfer|
|OS Support||PC and Mac|
|Misc.||-Single-button operation-Remote control with app control (Android, iOS)|
|In The Box||-Camera (w/ standard tripod thread mount)-Power adapter-USB cable-Quick-start guide, warranty-Soft pouch, lens cloth-Carrying handle|
|Software||Vuze Studio-Automatic movie generation-Adaptive Blending (stitching)-Editing and 3D effects creation|