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Best of both VR worlds: Vuze XR 5.7K 360 camera with 3D VR180 “in the range of $400”

Vuze XR 5.7K 360 camera with VR180
Vuze XR 5.7K 360 camera with VR180

Humaneyes has just announced the Vuze XR, a 5.7K 360 camera that converts to a VR180 (3D 180) camera.   It will be “in the range of $400,” which could make it one of the most affordable 5.7K 360 cameras on the market.  Here are more details about this exciting new camera!

Vuze XR shown with mini handle tripod
Vuze XR shown with mini handle tripod

A few days ago, I posted about a major announcement.  This is it!  It’s a new 360 camera called Vuze XR.  The XR stands for Cross Reality, because this 360 camera can convert from 360 into a VR180 camera.  It’s not the first such camera, but unlike other hybrid VR180 cameras such as the Kandao Qoocam, this one has a 5.7K resolution, and will cost “in the range of $400,” making it much more affordable than other 360 cameras the GoPro Fusion ($699, 5K) or Garmin Virb 360 ($799, 5.7K).

Here is a product video:

What is VR180 and why is it so interesting?

Vuze XR in VR180 mode
Vuze XR in VR180 mode

The key feature of Vuze XR is that it can convert from a 360 camera to a VR180 camera.  VR180 is a 3D 180-degree format for photos and videos.  It’s exciting for several reasons.  First, unlike 360 cameras, you don’t have to stitch VR180 video.  Having a camera that doesn’t require stitching makes it much easier to use.

Second, it’s immersive. A photo or video in 3D 180 looks very immersive in a VR headset, more so than a 2D 360, in my opinion.  Although it doesn’t provide a 360 view, heatmaps show that many people tend to look only in the forward direction of a 360 video.

Third, it’s much easier to shoot, especially for narratives.  One of the challenges of shooting in 360 is that it requires an entirely different shooting technique.  It’s hard for the director to force the audience to look at a specific direction.  Even audiences can get confused and wonder whether they are missing out on what the director really wants them to see.  There are also other challenges.  For example, you normally can’t employ lighting because the lights would be visible in the shot.  With VR180, the camera shows only the front hemisphere, which means the director and shooting equipment can stay behind the camera and remain hidden.  That’s one of the reasons VR180 is appealing to many VR video professionals.   But even casual users will find shooting in VR180 much more familiar and similar to how they shoot with a smartphone.

Lenovo Mirage Camera Review (Google VR180)
Lenovo Mirage  (Google VR180)

I have two VR180 cameras, the Lenovo Mirage (reviewed here) and the LucidCam (samples here).  I love the photos and videos that I’ve captured with them.  But there are times when I do prefer a 360 view, such as to provide excellent stabilization (VR180 cameras don’t have the amazing stabilization of a stabilized 360 camera).  The Vuze XR, with its ability to convert from 360 to VR180, could be perfect for both types of videos.

Vuze XR Specifications

Humaneyes hasn’t revealed much about the Vuze XR.  Here’s what they’ve shown so far

Lensestwo fisheye lenses
Field of viewFully spherical or 3D 180
Video resolution5.7K
Photo resolutionTBA
Livestreamingyes.
Waterproofwaterproof housing option (?)
ConnectivityBluetooth or Wi-Fi (TBA)
Price and availabilityAround $400
Q4 2018
Vuze XR 360 camera with VR180
Vuze XR 360 camera with VR180

 

Other features and characteristics

It may have a waterproof case.  The video has an underwater scene where the stitching is not perfect but seems passable.  It seems unlikely with the current lens design due to refraction underwater.  The fact that the underwater stitching is somewhat decent suggests that the Vuze XR may have an underwater housing accessory.

Stitch line seems to imply a waterproof housing
Stitch line seems to imply a waterproof housing

It is not clear if it has stabilization.  In the video, there is a segment where the models are riding a scooter.  As the scooter turns, the sun’s position seems to change.  By contrast, with stabilized 360 videos, the compass heading and thus the sun’s position is more or less constant.  The fact that the sun’s position changes in this video segment seems to suggest that it was not stabilized.  Even so, it would not rule out stabilization being added later, as in the case of the Ricoh Theta V, Yi 360 VR or recently, the Samsung Gear 360 2017.

via GIPHY

The Vuze XR app has animated 360 stamps and filters.  If you place a stamp somewhere in the 360 photo, it will appear to be anchored to that position as you change the view of the 360 photo or video.

Vuze XR app animated stamps and filters
Vuze XR app animated stamps and filters

Incompatible with gimbals?  For 3D 180 to be stabilized you probably need a gimbal (in the case of the Lenovo Mirage, the gyro stabilization meant that the perspective could shift away from the direction the viewer is looking).  However, the XR may be too tall to be used with any gimbal (the center of gravity may be too high).  I wondered if the handle is removable, but the handle has several buttons including power, Wi-Fi and shutter, which seems to suggest it may not be removable.

 

Pricing and availability

Vuze XR will be “in the range of $400” and is scheduled for release in Q4 2018.  Here is the official website.   Humaneyes seems to be particularly careful about the wording of the price.  It seems they want to maximize flexibility by being vague about the price.

Vuze XR will compete with a few other 360 cameras that can convert to a 3D 180 mode, including the Kandao Qoocam, which has a lower 4K resolution but has other features such as depth mapping, refocusing, and background replacement.  Another competitor is a foldable Kodak PIXPRO camera shown at CES 2018 (temporarily called 3D 360 VR camera).  I will keep this post updated as I get more new info about the XR.  You can receive free e-mail alerts here.  You can also join the growing community at the Facebook VR180 group.

About the author

Mic Ty

39 Comments

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  • Fusion still looks better. When I read your announcement I thought that I have to return my Fusion back to store, but now I can relax, everything is ok )

  • Do you know anything about photo resolution and quality? Sometimes photo with great resolution is better than poor video for headsets especially.

    • I am also curious about that. But I am equally curious about sync. With each new VR180 camera brought on the market, I wonder how well left and right images will sync in video mode as well as stills mode.

      The LucidCam for example provides horrendous results in either mode. Neither video or stills are in sync. The first Qoocam clips were also badly synched but the latest one “at the zoo” seems to be much better. However one of the stills they show is badly out of sync.

      Mirage video clips seem to have good sync and the stills I have seen did not seem to have any sync errors but none of those I saw had much motion in them so I don’t know for sure.

      That’s why I am sitting back and waiting to view user samples obtained with production cameras before choosing…

  • Hi Mic

    Been waiting for this for days now so thanks but disappointed it’s not a new Ricoh Theta which must surely be due in Q4 as in previous years and announced prior.

    Looking forward to one of your excellent detailed reviews.

    Cheers

    Konrad

  • Very interesting. I still have mixed feeling about what I see from the Mirage Camera. I noticed that now non-VR versions of the videos are labeled “720p” at max. I hope 5.7k videos will be counted as 1080P videos for the non-VR viewers. Getting viewers on board with 360 has not been easy. I think reframing videos has greatly changed the 360 camera game by giving creators ways of sharing amazing videos with everyone.

    I feel like 180 videos can have the same appeal. VR enthusiasts like myself can enjoy immersive stereo videos while others can still enjoy the same video on their flat displays. That said I think Google somewhat botched the launch of VR180 after the Mirage with how they processed and displayed the videos. There is some good VR180 stuff on YouTube including SciFi’s cosplays videos and some MMD videos as well. Now that the right tools are getting out there I’m sure its just a matter of time until the format takes off… outside of porn…

    • Google definitely screwed up their VR180 format. But the 3D 180 idea itself is viable. It just needs to be in conventional equirectangular top-bottom format for both photos and videos. Screw Google’s half-assed VR180.

      • Without a doubt! It is sad to see Google drop the ball. VR180 videos are amazing (look at the Amaze 3D app on Occulus or Daydream platforms)! With YouTube being such a big player in the video hosting game it is sad to think that I’m not looking forward to using it for VR180.

        That said I noticed that SciFi is using the Z CAM K1 Pro for their VR180 videos and they look great! They play as 1080p on 2D displays as well. If only Google did not make it a pain to view them in VR… They will fall behind the VR video game at this rate…

    • For some reason, I can’t even download the VR180 versions from YT anymore. All I get is the 720p 2D version

        • Exactly! I have the Lenovo camera, and every 4K video I uploaded to Youtube from it starts off as 4K, but within a few hours its been downgraded to 720p by YT, its maddening.
          @Mic, have you experienced this? The worst part is there is no way to reach out to YouTube to ask about this, apparently I’m not “eligible” for the ‘Email Creator Support Team”.
          I’m strongly considering returning the camera at this point.

          • Not only 720p but 2D only !

            The way they had it just a few weeks ago was working fine and we could download the 4K 3D version. Now, the 3D version is so well hidden that nobody will even know the original is 3D VR.

            One thing I should add however is that the recent demo clip for the new VR Photo Converter does come up as 3D VR only (no 2D version) but again – at maximum 720p resolution.

            Hopefully, YT will restore it to the way it was as, right now, they are killing their own new medium.

  • Interesting indeed! And being a Vuze, which is already available in Europe, will it also be available here?

    Perhaps i’ll skip Mi Sphere and wait for Vuze XR.

    Tried to order Mi Sphere from Aliexpress but the order proces didn’t work.

    • Hi Frank. Yes I believe i will be available in EU and UK too. What I don’t know is whether they can stick to their Q4 promise. The Vuze was delayed many months.

      • > What I don’t know is whether they can stick to their Q4 promise.

        Statistically, it doesn’t look good. Lucidcam was at least a year late. As I remember it, the first VR180 cameras were slated to show up in Q4 2017 yet only the Lenovo Mirage showed up… but in May 2018. And the Yi – announced for spring – is now held back till around October.

        And what about that LG VR180 camera announced in June 2017 ? Not even a word about it yet.

        Probably more VR180 cameras will be announced by the time the Vuze XR hits the market.

  • I was expecting to see a “surprise” entry in the VR180 arena but definitely not from Human Eyes. I thought the most likely next contender would have been Insta360 – given they did produce at least two 3D 180 prototype in the last few years.

    The Vuze XR design seems to be a strange mix between the Kodak “Butterfly” and the Qoocam. It converts to VR180 like the Kodak does but has a handle like the Qoocam. It does appear that the lenses are more forward of the handle than those on the Qoocam when in VR 180 position and therefore less likely for the lenses to see the fingers wrapped around the handle.

    But we still need to see clips and stills to judge IQ and sync. In spite of the increased versatility of those two-mode cameras, I still prefer a straight VR180 camera in a regular rectangular body with an LCD display at the back – such as Yi is proposing.

    • Hi Francois. For me, i’m a fan of 3d 180 format, but there are times when i want maximum stabilization, or sometimes i dont want to have to aim the camera. For that reason i like the versatility of cameras that can convert from 3d 180 to 360.

      • I get that. But then you already have a gazillion 2D 360 cameras ! 😉

        I do realize companies might feel it’s less of a risk to produce a camera that offers both options because they can reach both markets.

        But personally, I still feel I would choose a camera like the Horizon over the Vuze XR s I don’t have to be holding my phone to check what the camera is seeing.

        • Yes but I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of a consumer, who likely will buy only one camera. It is better for the consumer to have the option for both 360 and 3D 180. Even myself, in casual situations, I would prefer to have just one camera. I don’t want to have to choose between a 360 camera or 3D 180 camera. I want a camera that can do both!

          • For some, yes, they might prefer the twin modes. And I can imagine someone wanting a 360 camera appreciating the fact that he would also get a VR180 camera at the same time.

            But then, there is also the choice of handling one camera with a built-in display/touch screen and having to handle both a camera and a phone. I prefer to have access to all the controls right on the camera. I also happen to prefer the form-factor of a camera. But I understand why some might prefer to have both cameras in one body although I think it’s mainly a marketing ploy on the part of the manufacturers.

            Anyhow, it’s the overall performance of each of these cameras which will be the determining factor…

    • Hi Axel. For the sake of the Vuze XR, I hope that both photos and videos are simply in top/bottom equirectangular format. I’ve lost faith in Google VR180 format… they seem more intent on using it as a trojan horse for Daydream than making a user-friendly format…

      • I am not clear why you would choose top/bottom over SBS with images that are essentially “square” (same width as height). It seems to me it’s much simpler to view directly in 3D when they are SBS…

        • SBS is a format for traditional 3D, which to me is dead, even though i like it. I believe VR must distance itself from being seen as ‘another version of 3D’ if it is to survive.

          • As a 3D photographer for many years, needless to say, I strongly disagree. SBS is the most logical way to place a left and a right image – makes it much more universal for viewing. I don’t see how VR180 can distance itself from 3D when it is in fact exactly the same. Anyhow, that’s how VR180 is promoted: as 3D ! There is no getting around it. Seems to me that placing the images top and bottom reduces the resolution with 3D 180 images since it leaves much of the image area blank. It’s only required with 3D 360 where the entire image area is filled.

          • The problem with using sbs is that it becomes more difficult to integrate with vr footage. For example google vr180 videos are in sbs format. So if i want to mix 3d 360 with vr180 i have to convert the vr180 into top bottom first. Why not just make them all top bottom? And sbs is not convenient for google cardboard unless i want to see a distorted view

  • > Mic wrote: For example google vr180 videos are in sbs format. So if i want to mix 3d 360 with vr180 i have to convert the vr180 into top bottom first.

    I fail to understand why one would want to combine 3D 360 with 3D 180 since VR180 only has a front view. Therefore, cuts from 360 to 180 would be problematic as one could be plunged in the dark at any time unless one were always looking towards the front….

    > Why not just make them all top bottom?

    Because there is a loss of resolution when VR180 SBS is converted to top/bottom. Also, keep in mind that VR180 was conceived to appeal to the average user in terms of size and cost of the camera. Most 3D 360 cameras are out of reach of anyone but pro photographers. So I doubt that most people owning a VR180 camera would also own a 3D 360 camera.

    > And sbs is not convenient for google cardboard unless i want to see a distorted view

    As I mentioned before, I have been viewing all manner of VR and 3D content using the Nibiru OS and this allows me to view regular, 180 or 360, 2D or 3D. All I need do is specify the format and it tags it. Thus I have been playing 3D 180 and 3D 360 as well as regular 3D and 2D without any problem. I think Google Cardboard and Daydream have just complicated things rather than made them simpler.

    Yet another factor is stills. They are much simpler to view as SBS and can even be freeviewed on a computer monitor.

  • Oh, well… I was expecting something like 16K 360 (video) camera, in size no larger than Insta360 Pro, without active cooler, with possibility to record continuously at least 3 hours (can be external powered, would welcome powering from some power bank (any voltage needed, but small cross section profile) – not only AC), with internal docking for M.2 SSD … this would be something exciting…

    Now, for events, I uses six 4K Gear360 (2016) – as it has removable battery and very clear sound rec., with my custom made passive cooling system (powering from standard 5V power banks (11300mAh – 20000mAh), and with 256MB uSDXC card, I can record continuously up to 18h 40min.) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KYLA0WxXYY.
    This year I have used additionally Insta360 Pro, but its active cooling system is very annoying especially during some quiet events – like religious services – here is Latin Mass in extraordinary form (it has been served as it was before year 1968) I have recorded last year (with three Gears 360): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UkSRP47MUo.

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