LOS ANGELES — The race towards digital media’s Virtual Reality future continues with an intriguing little ball of a camera known as the Sphericam 2.
A successfully funded Kickstarter project, the tiny Sphericam 2 records 4K video at 60fps, with a full 360 degrees of coverage, and is compatible with PCs, tablets and VR headsets. In fact, its spherical resolution of 4096 x 2048 pixels was chosen to match the display of the Oculus Rift and its derivatives such as the Samsung Gear VR for ideal performance.
According to the company, other 360-degree cameras are full of compromises and are no fun to use.
“They either don’t deliver the resolution, or require lots of difficult tricks,” explains a Sphericam rep. “None of them allow completely synchronized capture of every pixel in every direction.”
“Sphericam has been engineered from the beginning, with every factor in mind towards creating a correct, best-in-class spherical image, without any hassle, in a reliable and easy way,” the rep added. “White balance, exposure, and everything else is fully synchronized [so there is no need for] messy post-production or dirty tricks, just easy results.”
The Sphericam’s tiny form factor measures only 65mm in diameter, about the size of a tennis ball — placing the lenses close together to get closer to the action, with every pixel in the sphere captured at the same moment via a global shutter — a feature that is not currently duplicated by other spherical video cameras.
The device’s six cameras record at maximum quality, delivering 2.4Gbps of raw data, for sharp images that capture the entire scene. Recording H.264 MP4 video at 60fps is slightly lossy, while recording at 30fps is visibly lossless.
Made from anodized aluminum, the Sphericam 2 offers integrated Wi-Fi streaming and a mobile app that allows users to start and stop recording, monitor the live camera view while recording, and then to transfer, view and edit the footage.
Other features include a micro USB port, eight tripod mounts, four microphones, and six Micro SD card slots for flexible positioning, quality audio and easy data transfers.
While the adult entertainment applications for this type of technology remain to be seen, the release of affordable and easy to use capture devices provide the missing piece to the VR puzzle as Oculus Rift is set to hit the consumer stage.
For more information, visit Sphericam.com.