GoPro has finally revealed the Fusion. Here are my observations and the 7 features that I predict for it. (Image credit for all photos: AOL)
GoPro announced the Fusion about two months ago. It generated a lot of excitement because of its 5.2K resolution and the spectacular stitching in the sample videos. GoPro said the Fusion will be available in a “limited commercial release” by then. Here again is the sample video:
However, since then, Garmin has announced the Virb 360 and retailers have already begun to ship them. Perhaps feeling the heat, GoPro has now shown the Fusion.
Based on its appearance, here are the features I predict for it.
1. OPTICAL FLOW STITCHING VIA DESKTOP
The Fusion’s body looks about as thick as the GoPro Hero cameras. Among 360 cameras, that would be similar in thickness to the Yi 360 VR, and thinner than the Garmin Virb 360, two other high-resolution 360 video cameras that it is competing with. For 360 cameras, having a shorter distance between the lenses is an advantage and makes stitching appear smoother.
On the other hand, the top view of the camera shows that the lenses are offset from each other, similar to cameras such as the Insta360 4K and Insta360 Nano. An offset lens design makes stitching harder. For example, the Insta360 Air (which does not have offset lenses) appears to have better stitching (in my opinion) than the otherwise similar Nano.
Notwithstanding the offset lenses, the samples shown by GoPro have seamless stitching. This seems to mean that it will use optical flow stitching, which, for 5.2K video, will almost certainly require stitching via desktop because it is very processor-intensive. On my Samsung Gear 360, which also uses optical flow stitching, stitching an afternoon’s shooting worth of videos takes several hours. I expect the same or more for the GoPro Fusion.
2. 360 AUDIO RECORDING
The top of the camera shows three holes that are probably microphones. This seems to suggest that it will have 360 audio recording.
The construction of the camera seems similar to that of the GoPro Hero5 camera. Since GoPro has been able to make the Hero5 waterproof, I am expecting the same to be true for the GoPro Fusion.
4. VOICE CONTROL
One thing interesting is that the rear of the GoPro Fusion has another hole beside the lens that looks like a microphone. There are holes also that look like they are for a speaker even though there’s no video playback ability on the camera itself. Meanwhile there is no corresponding hole on the front of the Fusion. I am guessing that the microphone is for voice control, a feature that the Hero5 and Hero5 Session have.
The video samples shown by GoPro for the Fusion seem to suggest it will have stabilization, either gyro-based from the camera, or software-based, given that GoPro owns Kolor, which makes Autopano software, which does have spherical stabilization.
6. IN-CAMERA STITCHING
The part that is somewhat puzzling to me is why the GoPro Fusion has such a large body, much larger than what it would require for a battery and desktop stitching. My guess is that it has an in-camera stitching option, and the camera’s body is for the processors needed for those functions.
7. LIVE STREAMING
If the Fusion has in-camera stitching, it likely will also have live streaming, hopefully compatible with both iOS and Android.
Do you agree or disagree with these predictions? Do you notice anything else or have your own predictions? Let me know in the comments!