The future of Virtual Reality has been the standout feature at most of the tech shows we’ve seen so far this year. There’s been plenty of talk about the headgear, ranging from the pricey Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive, to the cheaper Google Cardboard-based VR goggles that make use your smartphone.
VR goggles have become immensely popular with many brands, such as Samsung’s GearVR, priced under-$100. Then you have your uber-cheap Chinese-branded VR goggles, like Shinecon, which will only set you back $20 on AliExpress (this writer recently purchased the Shinecon VR headgear, and it was pretty decent for its price).
Along with the headgear, there’s also been a ton of 360º action cams and rigs flooding the filmmaking market.
Since 2015, we’ve seen Nikon’s Keymission 360, the single lens 360Fly, the light field cinematic VR Lytro Immerge, Kodak’s 4K action cam the PixiPro SP360, Ricoh’s 4K action cam the Theta S, the Youtube 360º live-streaming ALLie camera, GoPro & Google’s rig Jump & Odyssey (which holds 16 Hero4 cameras), Nokia’s alien looking OZO, to the HypeVR which holds 14 RED Dragon 6K cameras, and a slew of other VR solutions released or slated for release in the near future.
You can even 3D-print your own VR camera rigs, like the GoPro rig we have linked on our Free Stuff page.
Founder and CEO of 360 Designs, Alx Klive believes 360º live streaming of sports, concerts and live events is the next evolutionary step of the television and film industry. His company produces a range of high-end professional 360º cameras (such as the Eye procam pictured above), rigs, and live streaming solutions for VR.
Klive has a history in capturing large-scale events, early in his career he crowdsourced a project that documented the turn of the Millennium in 24-hours as it crossed each continent.
He founded his new company in 2015 and has already worked with a number of broadcasters, internet and production companies, capturing pro-quality VR footage for live events. Such as this year’s Oscars, Coachella, SXSW, and even the recent Eurovision Song Contest (which you can watch the footage of below).
A recent client of 360 Designs wanted a customised rig that would capture high-resolution VR video, and deliver test footage in a short timeframe.
“We employed a large number of Blackmagic Design Micro Studio 4K cameras, and by running the same number of PIX-E5 recorders, we achieved a perfect result without any trouble.
We had used PIX-E5s before on smaller rigs, but configuring and running the number we did for this client was a challenge. I don’t feel we could have done it reliably without the ability to save and load settings across the different recorders. The rig we used had to travel with all the recording monitors pre-mounted. We were very happy with how they performed on the project.”
The issue of recording high-res formats in VR hasn’t gotten a lot of press, but unless you don’t mind changing umpteen SD cards constantly, then it’s worth thinking about employing an external recorder like Video Devices Pix-E5 portable 4K video recorder monitor. We took a closer look at the device in an earlier article, and found it to be a solid performer with a small form-factor and priced well within an indie budget.
The company also deploys the device to record the ISO feeds from each camera during live 360 event productions.
“We’re able to build the recorders directly into the rig, typically using cheese plates, and use SDI to capture the uncompressed output from the cameras,” Klive said.
“We wanted 4K ProRes 422 HQ recording. In a standard configuration, we’re capturing one 4K camera per recorder, and we build custom wiring looms to bring SDI and power to each recorder.
“We’ve also created a remote control system that allows us to trigger all of the recorders at once. We appreciate the file naming options, and the ability to save and load settings across different devices. We’re typically using a lot of recorders at once, so this aspect was key for us.
“When you are running ten or more recorders at once, and every one is critical to your production, you really need that confidence. For field use, they’re a tough product to beat.”
The Pix-E5 is currently available to purchase online or at Video Devices dealers worldwide.
Available in Australia from:
Level 1, 108 Johnston St, Collingwood, Victoria, 3066
Phone: +61 3 90059861
For more info, check: videodevices.com/pix-e5
Read our feature article VR & FILMMAKING: THE FUTURE OF CINEMA IS IMMERSIVE.
Watch 360 Design’s Demo Reel below.
Excerpts from Press Release.