360-Degree Cameras Becoming More Popular

Augmented/Virtual Reality – With the maturation of augmented and virtual reality, the need for 360-degree content is increasing. Users want to immerse themselves in a world that is different in every direction. To do this in CG is one thing – to do it with video is another. That is why we are starting to see new 360-degree camera capture devices popping up with some regularity.

We have reported on a number of very high end solutions such as the ones from Fraunhofer HHI (OmniCam uses 10 1080p cameras and stitches a 10,000 x 2,000 pixel image), Panocan3D (using 6 pairs of 1080p cameras to acquire stereo 3D images with a final resolution of 4096 x 4096 and Next VR (six 1080p cameras stitched together to create a 3D 2560 x 1440 images). There are also low cost solutions out there like the new Bublcam (which uses four cameras to capture at 720p/30 or 1080p/15 and stitched into a 3840 x 3840 images) , the Giroptic 360cam (three 2048 x 1024/30 cameras) or Centr Cam (four 1080p/30 cameras).

Kogeto_camera_3Now comes news of two new 360-degree cameras. In the low-end category is a new Kickstarter opportunity from Kogeto. The company hopes to develop the JOEY, a 4K 360-degree camera that will retail for $850 ($750 for early backers) around December 2014. They think it will be good for panoramic video capturing, live broadcasting, film production, security and videoconferencing capabilities. So far, the campaign has exceeded its $40K goal.

The camera looks more like a blender than a capture device. It uses a single 13 megapixel sensor and the optical apparatus to capture a 3840×720/30 fps resolution image in a 360-degree torroid. Lower resolution versions are still being developed that can support constrained bandwidth connections.

It does have one advantage – it does not require the stitching of multi-camera solutions that need to correct not only the geometry, but must match the entire color space of all capture cameras as well – a not insignificant task.

As illustrated in the captured image below, image processing will be needed to navigate the video. However, the video can be easily edited in most non-linear editing software like Final Cut Pro or Premier. During capture, the company has its own proprietary toolkit with control via a built-in LCD touch screen. Capture and processing is supported via a SnapDragon 800 QuadCore processor.

Joey image

The camera will have only 2GB of internal memory, but can support external memory of USB2 or USB3 connections. The company will offer what it calls the J-drive in 2 or 4 TB configurations that uses the very fast transport lanes featured in USB 3 (up to 32 GBps). That will provide up to 175 hours of continuous recording. Content can also be played back via HDMI (version not specified) to a 4K display. There is also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

The company thinks this will be fun for consumers and useful for people interested in doing video conferencing, for example, or immersive video entertainment. The company’s web site ( features a panoramic player for iOS or Android to allow mobile playback of your 360-degree video – plus social sharing options.

The Joey is the company’s third product. The first product, Lucy, was launched four years ago while Dot, the second product, a hardware attachment for capturing 360-degree video on the iPhone, made it into International Apple stores.

Joey also offers two-way conferencing with voice and facial recognition to provide an interesting new solution for business conference calling, video production and security. Joey’s optic technology is already proven in educational environments, as Kogeto’s technology is currently being utilized in schools to aid educators in monitoring classrooms. Recently, Kogeto’s HD Joey cameras captured the premiere of the international blockbuster film Divergent, as well as the ongoing production of its upcoming sequel, Insurgent.

Another product was also announced by an organization called the Astronauts Guild. The partners are: Roham Rahmanian, Founder | Supervising Producer, Scott Connolly – Founder | Head of Production, and Ian Spohr – Founder | Creative Director. The company has developed both 180-degree and 360-degree cameras for shooting first person, live-action virtual reality experiences.

The Astronauts Guild is a collective of dreamers, doers, artists and technicians. A group of talent which is equal parts production company, creative collective and technical development firm. The Guild takes on projects in the entertainment industry which require an advanced knowledge of production and cutting edge technology to achieve a creative end.

We contacted the company to learn more, but they were unable to provide any details on the rig. – Chris Chinnock