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DIY Insta360 One R 3D mod vs Insta360 EVO; where to buy Insta360 EVO in 2020

DIY Insta360 One R 3D mod vs Insta360 Evo (VR180 sample videos)
DIY Insta360 One R 3D mod vs Insta360 Evo (VR180 sample videos)

Here’s a comparison between a DIY Insta360 One R 3D mod vs Insta360 EVO (the video has English subtitles).

Insta360 One R 3D Mod is still unavailable as of November 2020
Insta360 One R 3D Mod is still unavailable as of November 2020

The Insta360 One R 3D mod will enable the One R to capture VR180 photos and videos.  However, it is still unavailable, 10 months after the launch of the One R.  Meanwhile, a VR180 enthusiast named “VR evangelist” has decided to take matters into his own hands by creating his own Insta360 One R 3D Mod rig using parts from the Aerial 360 mod, which has the split lens 360 mod that will also be used for the 3D mod.

VR evangelist then compared the video quality from the DIY 3D Mod and the Insta360 EVO, and presented the comparison in VR180.  Here’s the video (please view with Google cardboard or other VR headset to see the 3D effect):

WILL INSTA360 PRODUCE THE 3D MOD?  Here’s my proposal

With such a long delay for the 3D Mod, One R owners are beginning to wonder if Insta360 will produce the 3D Mod.  One issue could be that VR180 is not yet a mass-market product.  In fact, Google, which created the VR180 format, has itself seemingly abandoned VR180.  If Insta360 creates the 3D Mod, they might be concerned about whether they will sell enough units to make it practical.

One possible solution for Insta360 is to create a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo or some similar site for the 3D Mod.  They will be able to set the minimum quantity, which will be a good test of whether there is sufficient demand for it.  In addition, with backers providing the funding, they can reduce their risk.  Meanwhile, VR180 enthusiasts could receive a bit of a discount compared to the retail price for the 3D Mod.

Alternatively, they can restart production on Insta360 Evo and bring the software up to date.

WHERE TO BUY INSTA360 EVO in stock in 2020

FYI, Insta360 EVO is still available to purchase in 2020 from B&H Photo.

If you want Insta360 to produce the 3D Mod, please let them know in the comments and please tweet the hashtag #3DMOD.  Thanks to Emanuele Ioria for bringing this video to my attention!

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Mic Ty

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  • The mod by “VR evangelist” is interesting to look at but is not really a practical solution due to the size and alignment required. Already, I find Insta360’s 3D mod solution rather bulky and impractical and I can also foresee alignment problems with such a solution as well.

    “One issue could be that VR180 is not yet a mass-market product.”

    There has been enough public interest in VR180 for at least five cameras to be released so far (LucidCam, Mirage, Qoocam, Vuze XR, EVO 3D) and lots of people in forums are asking for an ideal VR180 camera – one with good resolution and one that has a built-in display and doesn’t depend on a phone for adjusting settings.

    “In fact, Google, which created the VR180 format, has itself seemingly abandoned VR180.”

    It’s actually the other way around. Beginning with Qoocam, VR180 camera manufacturers simply didn’t bother adopting Google’s standard. After all, VR 180 existed years before Google declared it its format and I guess most manufacturers didn’t care to jump on Google’s bandwagon.

    “If Insta360 creates the 3D Mod, they might be concerned about whether they will sell enough units to make it practical.”

    If we were talking about a whole new camera, I would get your point. But what we call the “3d Mod” is nothing more than a plastic adapter that connects two lenses to the core module. There’s no electronics involved ! So it isn’t much of a risk. In fact, what that adapter would do is allow them to sell twice as many lenses ! What company would say no to that ?

    “One possible solution for Insta360 is to create a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo or some similar site for the 3D Mod.”

    A whole Kickstarter campaign just for an adapter ? I don’t see the point. Given the lenses and core module are stock items, again, only the adapter between these stock parts needs to be made and that’s unlikely to be any more complex than the drone adapter.

    “Alternatively, they can restart production on Insta360 Evo and bring the software up to date.”

    I heard rumors of an Evo2 and that could be the reason why they are stalling with the One R 3D edition. But the truth of the matter is that the real problem with VR180 is that not a single manufacturer so far has come up with a design that fits user demands. And that is a camera that not only offers good resolution but also has a display to not only preview the scene but to allow adjustment of settings without having to use a phone.

    So far, only Yi offered that with their Horizon, which every VR180 fan was eagerly anticipating but which was cancelled at the last minute. I think one error that was made beginning with the Qoocam was that manufacturers assumed that VR180 enthusiasts would prefer a camera that includes a 2D 360 option over one that has a built-in display.

    One advantage that the One R 3D edition has over previous solutions is that it would not only work with the 180 lens module, but also with the other ones – including the 1-inch module for regular 3D photography. But on the other hand, alignment of the two lenses may be problematic and may need to be done at the editing stage.

    No matter what Insta360 ends up doing, other companies are currently developing next generation VR180 cameras that will be introduced in 2021.

  • I hope you are right. I had no idea that there are other companies working on new VR 180° cameras as it always seems the industry is continuing to try to kill 3D in all it’s forms.

  • Thanks Francois. The 3D mod does require electronics to connect each part of the split lens 360 mod to the Core. It isn’t a lot, but it does require mass producing a new part.
    I agree that the Yi Horizon was an ideal design for VR180. It is so sad that it didn’t get produced.
    As for next generation vr180, i look forward to seeing them.

  • Few days ago I was also looking at One R Aero-Drone mount hacking. The ribbon cables in that mount are long enough to easily connect core module with split-lens halves in any convenient inter-ocular configuration. But the hardware assembly is only part of the problem. As mentioned in the video comparison, One R camera still doesn`t support VR180 format in its software. Until Insta360 implements their very good stitching and amazing motion stabilization software algorithms to also perform on-the-fly Left and Right video-image parts auto-alignment, there is very little incentive to fiddle with it. And, as I was afraid, the comparison between One R 360 lenses and Evo shows that both produce rather mushy images. One R video has nicer colors, while Evo resolves a bit more details (as seen with the rooftop TV antenna capture in the top right part of the first plaza sequence), where in One R recording the antenna is completely not recognizable). Hopefully 1″ module will produce One R video with much better image resolution. So we definitely need #3DMOD full implementation to get higher quality stereoscopic recordings.

  • I have been looking into the One R but have held back in part due to the lack of VR180 support. It is not a deal breaker but it would be very nice.

  • Insta360 CEO said they were working on separate 1inch mod for the 3D mount (since the current one will not work) Is this no longer the case?

  • Michael S: It’s not so much the industry that attempts to kill 3D as the many tech reviewers that seem to want to badmouth 3D at every opportunity. But meanwhile, research is continuing and products are being developed. So, yes, you will see all sorts of new 3D products in 2021 – not just VR180 but other stereoscopic systems as well. I will be writing about them shortly.

  • The 3d mod is just a connector really. There isn’t that much expensive tech inside something like this. Its like selling a cable practically. I think the hold up really is the firmware they need to support to release that thing.

    Even if they just release it with one resolution per pair of sensors and don’t support mis matched sensors, that would be a big deal. I am so glad I didnt buy two One inch mods up front back in February when they had a date for release of the 3d mod. If they do release this, i have a huge order because NOBODY makes a stereoscopic rig. I just sold a sony dev 50 for more than i paid for it because this stuff is getting so rare.

    I hope the community hacks this thing just like they did for the gopro cameras. I have been shooting twin synchronized hero 4 cameras for years now and its a huge deal for a 3d shooter to have perfectly locked in sync. The gopro omni did it with 6 hero 4 cameras, then gopro didnt update the dual hero for the hero 4. It works amazingly well, but its a hack from the community.

    If the 3d mod ever does come out, i am going to saw it in half instantly so I can vary the stereo base. I debated messing with the evo, but the quality there just isnt good enough for general 3d. Its vr180, but I dont exactly want to see the floor and the ceiling all the time and waste all those pixels. Then tilt my head back and forth like some dog just to see the corners.

    I think the ideal design is one 180 degree camera in the dead center to give a 2d view of the extreme angles, then two wide angle lenses like a gopro FOV to give high res in the central area that is still very wide angle, just not this crazy 180 degree fov. Sometimes i want vr180, but not that often.

  • The real cost for the 3d mod is the firmware to make it work. Then the cost of maintaining the firmware as updates happen. Then the cost of updating all the apps that process the data for each combo of the mod sensor you want. So, they have to write code for twin 180 lenses, then twin 4k mod, then the twin one inch mod. Then support all those different things.

    Then you have a big problem of, how do you view the stuff you just shot. If you shoot with twin one inch sensor mods, you cant use vr180 to view it, you need a normal stereoscopic viewer to view it. I have done this forever, so currently i use whirligig to play everything back. I have a bunch of 3d rigs and they all have their desired method of warping the image to look good. Shooting the 4k and one inch mods are tough because they are so wide that you really need to warp the final video. That is really easy in Whirligig, but how do you sell something that nobody has whirligig. I know Youtube made a solution for this and allows you to enter your H and V – FOV so they can distort and replay stuff correctly with an HMD. This isnt getting much traction at all. I mean, zero, I literally have never heard anyone else mention it. You need to imbed your horiz and vert FOV into the video, which youtube actually does. This is all great, but now you are getting into the difficult territory of how do you support this when you simply release the 3d mod. VR180 was an easy format to release because all the players software makers understood the concept. If you have 3d videos with the 4k and One inch sensors, you dont really want to see square versions, you want those to be warped and stretched around you in playback on an HMD. Just about every player i have seen is terrible on varying the types of playback except Whirligig where you can set your warping and distance to anything you want. Its just not common though. So, playback is really a hard sell if you use 2 of the 3 sensor mods you can use.

    You could release the 3d mod, but maybe you need a disclaimer that says, you probably wont know how to really play this back in a headset right, so this is a pro only option. Shooting 4k or One inch without any warping will not be great on all the players i have seen except whirligig where you can dial in the right distortions. All these players have a square placed way out in front and you cant see anything. Whirligig lets you wrap the image around you and correct the fisheye distortions and it looks very good. It may be the type of thing they could release and say, “No software support”. Process your final files on your own. Save them from having to update the Studio app and even think about all this. I am going to use my own software either way, but people seem to want to edit on their phones which is something i never expected to see.

    If you are excited about VR180 stuff, i would wonder why you are excited about the 3d mod other than it saving you just a little money if you have the other 3d mods. It lets you do VR180, but you can buy a camera now that does VR180 now. You don’t need crowd funding? You would get a VR180 camera just like any other one you could buy. You are saving the few people that want VR180 and the other mods. They still have to buy the 3d mod and another sensor. Ok, it would help them, but you dont end up with a camera better than anything else.

    Twin one inch sensors is something that nobody remotely approaches in 3d right now. But, then you are stuck with 1 processor for 2 sensors. We really want each of the one inch sensors to output all its quality. With the One R processor that already has overheat issues, you are going to have to limit the output of each of the one inch sensors a lot. At best you are getting 4k 30fps per One inch sensor.

    Its a tough problem with firmware, software, and playback support for the variety of options that come out of releasing the 3d mod.

    • Good point about the single processor for two One-inch lenses. Probably the ideal solution would be a second generation core module that can handle the two one-inch lenses.

  • Steve, you are so right and you have certainly soured me on the 3D mod if it ever does as all you points are so true. The testing in this article shows no great improvement over the EVO or VUZE when not shooting with the inch sensor.

  • @steve, thank you for the mention of Whirligig! I looked it up and will start playing with it. Your points are all valid and appreciated, and I hope someone picks up the twin-one-inch-sensors ball and runs with it, in a device with sufficient processing capability. A dual 8K/1″ sensor camera would be fantastic for archiving important events while we wait for the display hardware to improve. I’d even be fine with a dual 8K with current sensor sizes, like a split QooCam 8K or similar. For now, for sub-$1000, non-custom-built devices, I find the EVO to be the best bet in that it does H.265, but it’s still lacking.

    • Thanks for the comments.

      I cant say enough good stuff about Whirligig. That software blew me away in the complete flexibility and approach they used. It solves any real problem you may have when viewing 3d material as long as you can align the video correctly yourself first.

      I think VR180 is an option, but i am not happy that it seems to be the only 3d option. What i would love to see is the industry adopt an in-betweener standard. VR120 would be the real solution that i think everyone really wants, but they don’t know it yet. The gopro hero has a fisheye lens like most action cameras and it shoots what any photographer would say is an extremely wide angle. For 3d, that super wide angle is wide enough. The key is, you simply arent wasting pixels all over the place. You can focus those pixels on where you really want and 99% of the time, thats not straight up and straight down, which is a waste of so many pixels, you just dont get clarity on what is in front of you. I mean, i like it sometimes, but the masses probably would love VR120, where it corrects for the curvature of a 120 degree field of view in a 16:9 aspect. This is what i have been doing and the sharpness is massively better than the EVO. Basically, the EVO and my custom gopro hero 4 blacks shoot very different senarios. They have the same resolution, but with my gopro rig (which is synced using Orangkucing Lab – another amazing product) i can see so much more clarity using the gopro and you still get a very wide angle view. The same type of shot using an Evo, its amazing that you cant even make out a face when the person is 8 feet away from the camera. I find i never look straight down or straight up, so its just wasted resolution.

      The challenge is, getting the players to conform. Playing back 3d content really needs a way to format it. The HMD boom is key to this working, but we only have the VR180 standard now. Most good players can do 3d, but they are weak in the ability to control the distortions and other stuff when its not vr180. VR180 is absolutely perfect for the first new VR type standard, but we need more. We do badly need a VR120 standard. That way, you can export your equirectangular stuff out and play it back not only dewarped, but partly wrapped around the viewer in an HMD.

      I need to make a video that shows the difference between the resolution of my Evo, vs the Gopro twin rig i have. When you simply give up that complete 180 degree FOV for a slightly more narrow 120 degrees of something like the gopro hero, it doubles your resolution on the more narrow area. The thing is, 120 degrees wide is still crazy wide. Nobody ever shot home movies with a circular fisheye. Nobody really did much with fisheye lenses until gopro came along either. So, the super crazy wide FOV of a gopro is plenty wide enough. The problem usually is, the players can do it right. Whirligig can for sure.

      My problem now with the One R is, people are really interested in 8k for 360. So, even if they came out with an 8k mod for the One R, the CPU would not be able to handle it. So, we would instantly need a One R v2 with a bigger CPU. I think covid may be the big reason it got delayed, but I can say that I still would be totally thrilled if the 3d mod came out and I would get it. It seems like from a marketing point of view, getting it out before christmas would be a big deal.

      • Great thoughts on 3D Steve and I totally agree with you that a 120 degree field of view in a 16:9 aspect ratio looks great in a VR headset. Just viewing my old 3D content made with the now discontinued FUJIFILM REAL 3D W3 camera look fantastic but as you said finding a good viewing app is the problem. As long as 3D stays a niche market that won’t generate millions in profit and the haters continue to demand that their preferences are the only way to go I doubt we’ll see much movement in more consumer cameras outside of smaller Chinese startups.

      • “I think VR180 is an option, but i am not happy that it seems to be the only 3d option.”

        There will be more options being offered next year. I will be writing about them soon on this website.

        “What i would love to see is the industry adopt an in-betweener standard. VR120 would be the real solution that i think everyone really wants, but they don’t know it yet.”

        A lot of people shoot straight 3D with varying fields of views and they view the resulting images on glasses-free phones or tablets or in digital 3D viewers. If the goal is to view the images using a VR headset however, I don’t see the point in restricting the FOV since you only end up with blank space in the viewer.

        “For 3d, that super wide angle is wide enough. The key is, you simply arent wasting pixels all over the place”

        I fully agree since I mostly shoot regular 3D and there are few occasions when I actually wish to record the entire scene as is done with VR180. It all depends how interesting the entire scene is. But if you are 0nly shooting a narrower FOV, then a VR headset may not be the best way to view the resulting images. A viewer such as the Cinera offers you instead a high resolution image that puts all those pixels in front of you rather than spreads them out over a wide field such as VR headsets do.