One of the services I want to provide is the ability to record longer form 360/VR video. Six independent GoPros with internal only batteries gives me a record time of just over an hour before needing to recharge them. Makes it hard to sit them there for a two hour concert doesn’t it! I found some great USB power packs that work great! IXCC Power Bank 20000mAh. Two USB ports handle two cameras.
I use three power packs to handle all six–I can run the GoPros for most of a day with this setup. Next thing I wanted was easy mounting and portability. They need something to mount to, preferably in the nadir viewpoint of the cameras, which I would be normally masking out during post anyway. So I designed a holder that mounts underneath. Putting my 3D printer to work for 25 hours, and I have a nice one-piece battery holder. This is much more elegant than taping the batteries to the tripod.
Incidentally, by “tripod” I mean that I use either a mic stand, or standard production light stand. 360 cameras don’t normally need to be on a pan/tilt tripod.
Recently, I entered some of my “cropped 360” photos into a local photography exhibition. Cropped 360 photos are flattened single viewpoints of a 360 image, able to be presented to a 2D photo world as traditional photography is. Of 4 images I presented, one was chosen for the print exhibition, where it will be hanging on a wall amongst many fantastic photography art from the best in the area. I shot this with a Ricoh THETA S camera, and manipulated it through their software to create the final effect. Here is the finished image selected for the exhibition, along with the happy news I received in my e-mail:
This is the control panel of a TV Production Switcher, specifically a Grass Valley Kayenne, from the US Mobile Unit I work on as a broadcast engineer. Of the 4 images I entered, this was the one I least expected would get it, and it turned out to be the only one to make it. I’m humbled to share the wall space with truly great photographers and amazing photo works. I also see this as an opportunity to promote 360 photography to the public, showcasing another use of the technology. Below is the original VR viewable version of the scene:
The exhibit takes place at the Pennsylvania Center for Photography in my town of Doylestown, PA. They will also present everyone in an online gallery. Visit them at http://www.pacenterforphotography.org/
And if you’re curious, here are all four of what I submitted:
I recently started experimenting with some new tools of Veer. My subject was an old abandoned historic stone house in my town of Doylestown, PA. I used a Ricoh THETA S camera on a 12′ pole to poke it inside the barred window openings to get a rare look inside. I created the tour with Veer’s new “VR Experience” tools that allow me to have clickable hot spots, graphics, etc. to guide viewers around the house. I think it works very well, and will be very useful for things like museum tours and real estate showcases. Looking forward to doing more with it.
My latest 360 video, experimenting with a public sing-a-long event at what was the home of the great lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II in my town of Doylestown, PA. Recorded with my new 6 camera GoPro Hero5 Session rig in a 3D Printed cage. Stitched with Autopano Video, and edited with Final Cut Pro X. It was an important talk to capture, with messages of peace from the son of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun.
Just completed the final testing of my much improved 360 camera system, and with great success! This new setup allows me to capture 8k video in full 360 degrees. The 8k resolution allows for very high quality video through VR headsets, Google Cardboard, etc.
Above and below is the new system in action to record the video featured here. For technical specs, it is 6 GoPro Hero5 Sessions in a custom 3D Printed housing. Each camera records 2.7k video, which are post-stitched to make a single 8k equirectangular video of the entire 360 degree scene. This video can then be edited to add transitions, titles, and even patch the nadir (remove the camera tripod mount). The resulting output can be up to 4k to post on services like Vimeo & YouTube.
Because of the original 8k quality, these 4k converted videos present excellent quality in VR headsets like Google cardboard via a mobile phone. Starting with high resolution is the key to sharp, crisp 360 video, which I am now capable of providing to clients. Video below, which is a calming look at a unique historic property located in Doylestown, PA.
Very excited today, as my self-imposed “launch date” has arrived! The official launch of my efforts to build a better mousetrap–in this case a production lighting instrument. Two years of development, applying for a patent, 3D printing prototypes. Making mistakes, do-overs, learning new skills……and I’m ready!
Introducing the “CL360,” a specialized lighting instrument for the emerging markets of 360 degree video, photography and VR/AR production. What has been absent in this new world of 360 content is an easy and efficient way to light the entire scene. Lighting either has to be hidden in plain sight, just expected that it will be seen, or simply not dealt with, using only ambient lighting. My creation solves this problem by providing an even light source that illuminates the full view of the 360 camera, while being “invisible” to it. Accomplished by a now Patent Pending design. The design allows for quick setup suitable for many applications such as video conferencing, interviews, documentaries, real estate, etc.
I plan on using this blog space to discuss specific examples and applications for the product. In the meantime, please visit the landing page at http://cameralight360.com which also features a demonstration video.
Also, if you happen to be attending NAB next month, I will be there with the prototypes! I will be arranging one-on-one demonstrations with meeting space at The Embassy Suites-Convention Center April 10 & 11. Details on the website. Looking forward to posting more about this device, and how it can contribute to this new world of producing 360 content!
Main photo: the CL360 Video light in use to record a Bluegrass band. Thanks to The Doylestown Jam, of Bucks County, PA.
I was honored to be asked to be part of a panel discussion on emerging 360/VR technology, and how to use it to tell a story. Many smart people working in different aspects of VR/360. Had a fun time talking about my product development, and learned a lot from others embracing this technology in its pioneering stages.
And a video of most of the presentation, recorded in 360 (of course!).
Now that I’m getting used to the dual Kodak rig, time to get to some experimenting. A beautiful clear Labor Day morning in my little town. Decided to try for a time lapse of the sun rise.
As I found out, the dual controller wrist remote only works with the cameras in either Photo only, or Video only. No other modes can be dual triggered with the wrist remote. A bit disappointing, but it is what it is. So I set up both cameras to same mode (2880 1:1, Time Lapse 30sec). Then, just press both records together! Any frame slippage could be corrected in the PixPro Stitch Software later. Both cameras ran about 90 minutes with full batteries, enough to get the following video. I was very happy with the results, and hope to do this again here when the leaves start turning–but capture the entire day. Working on an extended battery set up for this to happen.
The main idea behind this page is to eventually support a product I am developing for a part of 360 Video/Photo Production being currently ignored – lighting. I have developed a process, currently in the patent stage to make this part of 360 content production easier. Design is done, patent underway, and product branding and presentation next. More to report as things evolve!
First time using the KODAK 360SP 4K setup for a shoot. Two 4K cameras synched to a wrist strap. Didn’t think I was going to like this over the phone app I’m used to with the THETA, but it worked well once I figured it out. Actually tells you everything you need to know. The KODAK set up is far from “point and shoot,” but the price you need to pay for more serious video/photo quality. I also found out my ’09 iMac is not able to deal with the 4K video, or even the photo res from these cameras. Since I can’t find any issues on Google, then this one is on me with my old Mac. Time for the upgrade! 4K takes a lot of processing! You can tell by the heat given off by these, and other cameras. When I put the KODAKs back in their case after the shoot, they were pretty warm! My Ricoh THETA the same way, and it’s not even 4K. Just a lot of processing to do the spherical video. I’m still confident about the results from the KODAK’s, just need more Mac processing power!