Latest addition to 360 degree camera market expands POV options
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 March, 2015 - We’re stoked the action sports camera market is expanding beyond the GoPro standard format of wide angle and branching into 360 degree capabilities. The most recent introduction to this new class of cameras are the V.360° and the 360Fly.
For this review we got our hands on the V.360° and figured out its strengths and weaknesses. It’s a strange, futuristic looking device (a cross between electric pencil sharpener and lifeboat emergency beacon) that delivers strange, futuristic images. What you do with these images and how you use them is really wide open. They are like nothing we’ve ever seen before in an action camera. And that’s the appeal of the V.360°, these fresh new angles.
Using the camera:
I’m not a technobrat, so there was a fairly steep learning curve to figuring this one out. There are no buttons on the camera so all commands are issued from a remote (or a from an iPhone/Android/Tablet app.) This takes some getting used to, but those fluent in GoPro button commands should have no trouble learning it.
360 degrees makes it easy to catch the best area of what you filmed. With standard field of view most of us amateur filmmakers inadvertently crop out part of the subject. With 360 degree view you can choose what part of the action you want to keep, and what part ends up on the cutting room floor.
Shooting with it is fun. For ocean filming you can hold the camera in front of you, mount it on your board and record your rides. Once in the editing bay you can take a clip and choose what part of the 360 degree view you wish to use, a cool feature since you can change the POV from, say, your face in the barrel to looking out of the barrel - all without having to rotate the camera.
And this is the biggest appeal of a 360 degree camera, being able to pan in post-production. Since not all of us are Mark Mathews and able to juggle our GoPro while in the barrel, the 360 degree option can make the average surfer’s rides look more dynamic.
To start filming your clips in the water use the remote switch, a small thumb-sized waterproof cylinder. For land-use the camera is activated via iPhone, Android or tablet. Note: There was a bit more lag between camera and my iPhone5 than experienced with a GoPro.
It uses GoPro style mounts but weighs more than a GoPro, so be careful how and where you mount it. A heavier camera needs a sturdy mount.
For editing, the mobile app works great and users can circle through clips to decide what shows up in the field of view. Unfortunately, the app editing option can’t edit in highest resolution. To edit at higher quality, filmmakers must use Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier. Note: iMovie automatically ‘stacks’ two 180 degree sections of the 360 degree clip. We could not find a work-around for this to use in iMovie (our preferred editing software), so be sure you’re savvy in Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier.
Your clips will display in either a kind of donut format (officially called ‘shot glass’) or in a very wide panoramic display. Each takes some getting used to as they look quite different from how we’re used to seeing video clips.
The clips are recorded on a MicroSD card. Note: make sure that you use a CLASS 10 MicroSD card or the action images can glitch and skip.
The camera utilizes a very high quality, 4K/16 Megapixel imager capable of capturing 360 degree video in full HD (6480 x 1080 pixels) which is comparable to three full 1080p images laid side to side.
It’s shock, vibration and dust resistant as well as water immersion resistant to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes - enough for your average surf session.
The V.360° includes built-in GPS sensor to tag locations, and has a barometer/altimeter.
The 360 degree field of view is made possible with the camera’s Snapdragon 800 processor. The processor's signal processor (ISP), 2.3GHz quad-core Krait CPU, Qualcomm Adreno 330 GPU and video processor allow the V.360° to capture, de-warp and encode 360 degree images at higher frame rates with lower latency.
Summary: It’s a totally new way of thinking visually when capturing images and the V.360° opens up heaps of possibilities for filming. It also compensates for some of our camera person shortcomings, but you need to work on your editing skills to take advantage of this. It’s best uses seem to be skateboarding, biking and all action sports with some light surfing.
What We Liked:
360 degree capture
Room for error while recording
Fresh look to standard action sequences
Remote is intuitive and super-easy to use
If the camera is on, you won’t miss a shot
Camera allows user the ability to do dolly shots
180 degree wide angle view is visually impressive
What We Didn’t Like:
Water spots on the lens are hard to avoid because the lens is so big
Because of the shape of the V.360° you end up picking it up by the lense
Bottom seal is counterintuitive to align and lock (but works fine)
Editing software is not up to speed with older iPhones and doesn’t work well on iMovie
Slightly heavier than other action cameras, so there is more force to break free of weak mounts
This Camera is Best Suited For:
Surveillance (don’t laugh, but you’ll see these everywhere soon)
Experienced clip creators who want a fresh, different look to their clips.
Amateur clip creators who want to learn to create in a visually unique format.
It must be said, that we’d love to see Pipe footage or see this baby in the hands of a tube POV master like Mark Mathews at, say, Shipstern’s. Once that footage goes live, this camera could become the go-to action sports cam. Whether 360 degrees is the new standard in POV or just a cultural blip on the radar, we’ll have to wait and see.
Price is $449.00