Virtual reality is tech’s hottest topic right now, but very few consumers have access to the gear to watch VR content, and even fewer have the tools to make their own. Vuze wants to change that with its $799 VR camera.
The device uses eight wide-angle 1080p cameras to stitch together 4K footage. In fact, Vuze is confident enough in its technology to claims 3D quality comparable with Nokia’s Ozo or Facebook’s Surround 360 – cameras that cost tens of thousands of dollars. The sample footage doesn’t look that good, but still impressive for its price.
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You might be thinking, “but aren’t there 360-degree cameras for much cheaper?” The Ricoh Theta S is $350 and the LG 360 will cost $200, after all. Aside from Vuze’s 4 there’s a difference between 360-degree video and VR, and that basically amounts to the presence of 3D.
Standard 360-degree cameras can’t create true virtual reality footage because they typically consist of two wide angle lenses facing opposite directions. 3D requires two adjacent lenses facing the same direction to imitate the view from the two eyeballs in your head, using parallax to provide depth information and make for a much more realistic final image. The Vuze has two lenses per side, meaning it can create a stereoscopic image for every direction you look.
The camera processes the footage automatically, at about one minute of rendering time per minute recorded (it can film up to one hour on a full charge). That said, you can also export the video to stitch it yourself with included Vuze Studio software.
Studio can use advanced stichting effects to help make seams invisible, and also features 3D effects and other editing tools. There’s also a smartphone app to help you control the camera from a distance.
With the disclaimer of not having tried it ourselves, Vuze seems like solid product given the price and sample footage – not to mention it’s pretty much the only consumer-oriented 3D VR camera so far. The camera is available for pre-order now, including a VR headset and clever tripod that doubles as a selfie stick of sorts. You’ll have to wait a while to get yours though; the camera won’t ship until October.