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Z Cam’s 3D180 camera for Google VR180 will have 6K resolution; here’s a sample

Almost a month ago, I wrote about Z Cam’s 3D180 camera, which became the newest camera to be certified as compatible with Google’s VR180 videos.  Z Cam has now shown a framegrab from the camera.  The framegrab is equirectangular format, so it’s a distorted version of what users would actually see, but it seems to show good level of detail even in shadows.  It is quite impressive.

Z Cam's 3D180 camera is certified for VR180
Z Cam’s 3D180 camera is certified for VR180

Besides showing the screenshot, Z Cam CEO Kinson Loo also revealed that Z Cam’s 3D180 camera would have “6K” resolution.  The 6K resolution figure is ambiguous because the video is 3D and it is 180 degrees.  6K 3D 360 video is 6000 x 6000, but because this camera is 180 degrees, it seems to mean 6000 x 3000, or 3000 x 3000 per eye (or possibly 2880 x 2880, which is actually 4K per eye).

In any case, the impressive low light performance and 6K figure are features I did not expect, because it seemed that VR180 is intended to appeal to the masses, so I had lower expectations.  Are all VR180 cameras going to have a similarly high resolution and similarly good performance in low light?  If so, that would be really awesome for consumers.  But I’m also wondering will people have smartphones that are capable of 6K playback? My Samsung S8+ with Snapdragon 835 can play 5k videos smoothly but can’t play 6K smoothly.  Perhaps that’s one more reason to use YouTube, i.e., to be downscale it and stream the video instead of trying to play it in full resolution.

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  • I am a bit confused about the VR180 standard and I cant get too excited about it. Basically this seems to be a return to 3D just like a few years ago it was all the hype, but now, using ultra-wide angle lenses to use with VR headsets. I feel its like a compromise, like a “compact half-360 system”. If they had done this a 360 3D standard with 4 compact lenses, I think would have been much more interesting than just 180 degree capture. I dont think this is compelling enough concept nor a breakthrough of any kind, like 360 really is. Half of a new thing, is not a new thing! I think VR180 will come and go, just a fad. 360 is the future, either with 2 opposite cameras or 4 opposite cameras (to shoot 3D). Miniaturize this enough and in a couple of years this can be integrated into phones directly. Now THAT would be exciting!!!

    • Yes it’s not a new technology but it’s fits really well for VR right now.

      360 videos look terrible in VR headsets even 4K footage looks like 360p or less. VR180 is the only solution to bring some hi-res immersive content to VR headsets until devices won’t be able to play smoothly 8k-12k content. And the second problem is hiding lighting and accesories on the stage – until soft like Adobe Cloak won’t go live it would be such a tedious process to shoot 360 videos.

      And how often do people turn around when they watching videos in headset? My expirience people look straight most of time, they just lazy 🙂

  • It is quite exciting. I can see 180 3D being easier to work with than 360 and usable in more situations. The few 180 3D videos I have seen look amazing. I considered the Pixpro two pack in the past to have the best of both world but the lack of support from major sites held me back. I can picture using 360 for situations with no single subject with action happening around. I want to look into using 180 3D for more normal videos that will look great in VR but can fall back as normal videos. That said I might be getting a head of myself!

  • I think this is going to be a very popular format. 360 3d is great in principal but the reality is that mobile platforms cant playback the videos at 4K ( 4096×4094 : 60FPS) let alone 6K and beyond… So with the current industry standard being 3840×2160 the quality suffers.

    With 3D180 mobiles can playback much higher resolutions at 60fps so the quality is MUCH better. Add the fact that most users don’t actually look behind when viewing 360 content, 3D180 is starting to make sense. Its no wonder the adult industry have ditched 360 and now use 180 and the format of choice.

  • I think 180º is the way to go in VR. It takes far less resources and power to capture and process the footage. Research from Google confirms that most users will look straight ahead anyway most of the time. Storytelling is far more easier in 180º because the focus is givin at all times. I would love to see more development on sound and the delivery of content. Making cameras seems straightforward and an evolution from this point on. Deliver high quality content to the masses is another challenge: “dumb” VR goggles where you use your smartphone are not going to cut it. Smart goggles like Occulus Rift have a pricetag that is not compelling. There should be a new platform where content can be shared and viewed in high quality.