We may not have hover-boards or flying cars yet, but one thing seems set to change in 2016 and that’s virtual reality filmmaking. You’ve probably heard VR thrown around a lot, whether it was back in the early 90s when it first seemed like it might take off, or more recently with the explosion of devices such as Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. However, the difference now, is the technology has caught up with the ideas and VR filmmaking can now be a reality (pun intended, not sorry).
Virtual Reality at it’s foremost seems to accommodate more to the video games industry, with Playstation set to release their first VR viewing device later this year. That said, there will be a way to utilise this tech to enhance cinematic experiences. Youtube launched ‘Youtube 360’ last year, which is a new way to view videos on their platform. If you’re viewing on a computer/laptop you can move around the video around on a 360 axis to choose exactly what to look at or if you’re on a mobile phone you can tilt it to move the screen around. Now as filmmakers it begs the question: how do you tell a narrative this way? How do you direct the audience to look at what you want them to?
How many Bjorks does it take to change a lightbulb?
Now at Raindance we’re firm believers that no matter your budget, if you have the talent and perseverance you can make a movie, so I’ve put together this list of Virtual Reality filmmaking kits and software, from the affordable to the expensive. Whether you’ve got the cash or not, there’s something out there to help you make a Virtual Reality film.
Theta m15 – $299.95. This funky device allows you to film up to 5 minutes of 360 video, with just the one camera! There’s a more expensive version which shoots up to 25 minutes at a time.
Bublcam – $799.00. The bublcam allows you to film timelapse videos and share them at a click of a button. It even looks like a space age volleyball, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Elmo360 – From $1,399.95 (camera and mount, more for software included). This VR rig uses four elmo BiC MS-1 wide angle cameras to create a 360 video, without any blind spots. It links with an android/iphone app which allows you to remotely control the cameras.
Gopro Odyessy – Around $15,000. Youtube have teamed up with Gopro to make this 16 camera rig which works with their Jump software. This
flying saucer camera films full 3D in every direction for that added bit of immersion but sadly isn’t available to the public yet. Industry professionals can sign up to be notified as soon as it’s ready to be released.
HypeVR – Another camera that is yet to be released, is being created by red dragon. This rig consists of 14 6k Red Dragon cameras, which screams expensive, and can shoot at a massive 90 FPS for an ultra high resolution.
Already have several cameras? These are for you.
Elmo360 – From $399.95 (mount only). This is the same rig as above, just without the cameras!
Pro6 – $495.00. The pro6 allows you to mount 6 gopro cameras for 2D 360 videos. It’s compatible with drones and for a bit more money there’s even an underwater version.
Freedom360 Mount – From $499.95. This rig fits six go pros and is the original 360 degree video mount for Hero4/Hero3+/Hero3 cameras. It can film in all directions, with no blind spots, but does not film in 3D.
So you’ve got your footage. Now you have to stitch it together into a 360 video.
Autopano Video – 299,00 €. Autopano from Kolor allows you to stitch videos with ease, and then allows you to put in their app ‘Eyes’.
VideoStitch Studio – free trial version (with watermark)/$875.00. This software boasts a live preview and automatic calibration to allow easy stitching.
Now the fun part.
Kolor Eyes – recently bought by Gopro, Kolor have an app for viewing 360 videos for windows, mac and smart phones which best of all is free.
Google Cardboard – a cheap, easy headset that you assemble yourself and put your smartphone in to view 360 videos.
Samsung Gear – £95. If you have a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, you can get this gear to view apps, games and videos in VR.
Oculus Rift – preorder for $599. Coming in Q1 this year, Oculus Rift is a pricey headset for videogaming and viewing videos.
Playstation VR – previously known as Project Morpheus, Playstation are working on a headset to go with their PS4 console. Whilst this headset is primarily targeted at games, they plan to use it with video content too.