Virtual Reality is not a new concept, so why has there been so much talk about it recently? The short answer is that technology and affordability are starting to reach an accessible point for consumers. Motion sickness issues in early VR systems are getting resolved, and with the support of YouTube, Facebook, and other online platforms, you no longer need a full head-mounted display to view content. Simply click and drag to navigate scenes that play on your computer, or pop your smartphone into a viewer and have a look around.
Since the re-emergence of Virtual Reality, we’ve mostly seen people capturing the world we live in - real estate and location tours, behind the scenes footage, and travel and nature images that take the viewer driving, swimming, or flying.. But what does this mean for filmmaking? It’s a large step towards total immersion of our audience. 3D also tries to do this, but it’s still limited to the proscenium – an obvious absolute border. Restrictive viewing angles and frame lines on 3D films rip us out of the world and remind us we’re just watching a movie. In Virtual Reality, there are no borders. Like every advancement in film, this presents many obstacles both technical and aesthetic. For example, how do you hide crew and equipment if the camera can see everything in the room (a topic we will explore later)?
As more and more companies are racing to find new solutions to capture and display virtual reality video, the topic has quickly become very broad and complex. As such, this post is the first of a series to help you understand your options. How to set up, light, shoot, process and problem solve your VR videos. Today, we will introduce the 360 VR kits Scheimpflug carries for rent to give you an idea of why you might choose one configuration over the other.
All of Flüg's Rental Packages use GoPro Hero4 Black cameras and include (2) batteries per camera, (2) memory cards per camera, remote trigger, chargers and media reader (plus some other accessories specific to each system).
Freedom360 6-Camera Mount
This mount is the industry standard for VR. The positioning of the six cameras ensures there are no blind spots for full spherical video. Our GoPro Hero4 Black cameras in this rig will output video with a maximum resolution of almost 8k by 4k.
Freedom360 6-Camera Broadcaster
Unlike the regular 6-camera mount, this rig has a 40 degree blind spot on the bottom. The reason for this is that the Broadcaster is meant for live streaming of 360 video. The design of the rig allows for micro HDMI and Mini USB cables from each camera to be fed through the mount itself for excellent cable management. The blind spot gives you a space to hide those cables and any power supply - also useful when you are mounted below a drone or wires. Because the cameras are all orientated vertically, you can easily place your subjects between the predictable stitch lines, making the Broadcaster a standout for shooting static dialog.
Kolor Abyss Underwater 360 Rig
The Kolor Abyss is a 6-Camera rig used for capturing video up to 150 meters / 492 feet underwater. The body is made from Anodized aluminum and the domes are made from mineral glass, designed to prevent water distortion. The 7 legs act as protection from objects hitting or scratching the glass domes.
360Heros Pro10HD 10-Camera mount
The Pro10HD is another blind spot-free rig. However, the 4 additional cameras allow you to capture 360 video with a resolution of up to 12k by 6k, perfect for dome theater content or high resolution VR Head-mounted displays.
Back to Back Panoramic Rig
This simple mounting plate is all you need to capture full spherical video with only two modified GoPros and 220 or 280 lenses. Its compact size opens up a world of creative mounting solutions.
Freedom360 3-Unit Broadcaster 3X
This is the newest mount from Freedom360 and is compatible with the Modified GoPro + Entaniya lenses. Like the 6-camera Broadcaster, all the HDMI and power ports are easily accessible and the vertical orientation of the cameras is ideal for similar shooting situations while using less. But why three cameras when you can see everything with 2? It’s because the blind spot used to hide the cables and power supplies of the 6-unit have been eliminated. A third camera gives you enough redundant information to stitch that out.
Ribcage Modified Hero4 Black Camera by Back-Bone
Back-Bone offers modified GoPro cameras that allow for different lenses to be mounted, unleashing even more possibilities for Virtual Reality set-ups. We currently carry the Entaniya 220 and 280 fisheye lenses for these cameras. Because of their extreme angles of view, VR video can be captured with less cameras and minimal post work.
These are the newest addition to Flug’s VR arsenal, so expect much more information on these in upcoming posts!
The 280 fisheye is 1.07mm f/2.8 lens. Just one of these lenses is enough to give you workable VR footage with only an 80 degree blind spot – No stitching!
Hopefully you now have a basic understanding of what your shooting options are. In the next post, I’ll start getting into the technical side of how to shoot VR, including: camera settings, syncing, and media management. See you then.
Contact us to rent a 360 VR Rig or to speak with us about your next Virtual Reality project.
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