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!
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?
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.
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
|Lenses||two fisheye lenses|
|Field of view||Fully spherical or 3D 180|
|Waterproof||waterproof housing option (?)|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (TBA)|
|Price and availability||Around $400|
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.
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.
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.
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.