Saturday, December 31, 2016

Why I'm More Optimistic than Ever About VR

The state of VR right now is better than what skeptics would like you to believe.  More importantly, things will get even better from here.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Nico360 issues update

After two months of silence, the Nico360 team issued an update regarding its crowdfunded camera.

8 reasons why 360 cameras are the perfect cameras for most people

For experienced photographers and videographers, 360 cameras are perplexing and challenging to work with.  Paradoxically, however, 360 cameras are the perfect cameras for everyone else.  Here are 8 reasons why.

PSA: Ricoh Theta desktop app is not compatible with Adobe AIR v. 24

If you are using the Ricoh Theta desktop app, please do not update your Adobe AIR to version 24.  There is an incompatibility between the Theta app and version 24 of AIR which will prevent you from viewing photos or videos.  Until Ricoh issues a fix for their software, please hold off on updating Adobe AIR to version 24.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Which is the best 360 camera for a vacation?

If you're going on a vacation, a 360 camera is a must-have for your trip.  But there are now several 360 cameras on the market.  Which one of them would be the best?

Insta360 Air crowdfunding extended; production remains on schedule

Insta360 has extended the preorder period for the Insta360 Air, its 360 camera for your Android phone, while production remains on schedule.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Insta360 will reveal the 8k Insta360 Pro at CES

Insta360 announced that they will reveal the Insta360 Pro, an 8k 360 video camera, on January 5 at CES 2017. 

Twitter and Periscope add 360 video livestreaming for select accounts

You can now watch live 360 video on Twitter and Periscope.

(sphere) is an almost-spherical 360 lens for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras

(Sphere) is a new toroidal (donut-shaped) lens for interchangeable lens cameras, and it has an almost fully spherical field of view.

Print your 360 photos with 360 PhotoBall

360 PhotoBall is an Android app that enables you to print 360 photos on paper which you can then assemble into a ball.

How to add image stabilization to your 360 videos for free

360 videos need to be stabilized to avoid making viewers dizzy (especially if viewed in a headset).  However, not all 360 cameras include image stabilization, and the ones that do don't always have effective stabilization.  Fortunately, it's easy to add image stabilization to your 360 videos simply by uploading them to Facebook.

Vroomcam: a stabilized robot dolly for 360 cameras

Vroomcam is a motorized dolly for 360 cameras with stabilization, and can operate autonomously or via remote control.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Play HTC Vive and Oculus Rift games on your mobile VR headset with Finch Shift

​Finch Shift is a new motion controller designed for your smartphone which is designed to enable your VR-ready smartphone to play apps for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

LED light for almost any 360 camera

I found an LED light that can work for almost any 360 camera!

VR Gems: you ought to try these games!

Holo Impact: Prologue
There are literally hundreds of VR games available on the Steam store for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.  While many (or even a majority) are not worth playing, there are some excellent games that have escaped the notice of users.  In this series of posts, I'd like to highlight some very good games I've tried that are not very well known (yet).

Monday, December 26, 2016

Vacation notice; my schedule this week

Happy Holidays!

FYI, I will be on vacation from Thursday (12/29) to Monday (1/2) and I won't have access to the Internet.  I will schedule some posts on those days but I won't be able to respond to messages.

Next, I will be in Las Vegas for CES on January 4 and January 5, where I will be posting about the latest news on 360 cameras and VR.  On those days, I might not be able to respond to messages right away either.

BTW if you will be at CES and would like to say hello, I will be at the Insta360 booth (LVCC, South Hall 2, #26608) at 3pm on Jan. 5.

P.S.  If you're wondering how I took the shot above, here's the accessory I used!

The Best Free Games and Apps to Demo the Oculus Rift

Did you find an Oculus Rift under your Christmas tree?  Here are the best free games to demo your new Oculus Rift!

DEALS: $100 off HTC Vive but only for the next 2 days

Are you considering getting an HTC Vive?  If so, you're in luck because the HTC Vive team just announced a $100 discount on the Vive, but only for December 26 and 27 in the US (26, 27 and 28 in Europe).  Here is the announcement.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

DEALS: LG 360 Cam fully spherical 360 camera for $99

The LG 360 Cam is available on sale for just $99 here!

Here are the main features:
- fully spherical 360 camera
- compatible with both iOS and Android (does not require an LG smartphone)
- 16mp photo resolution
- video resolution 2880 x 1440 @ 30 fps
- can be remotely turned on from standby.

Here is my review with sample photos and videos.  At $99, this is the lowest cost fully spherical 360 camera to date.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Viooa has two hemispherical 360 cameras for drones

Viooa has created two hemispherical 360 cameras for drones to make gimbals unnecessary.

Samsung Gear 360 flies to the edge of space on top of a Mig-29

Check out this 360 video from a Samsung Gear 360 mounted on top of a MiG-29 Fulcrum jet fighter as it flies to the edge of space!

Oculus Rift tip: set it up to face away from your PC

When setting up your Oculus Rift, it's a good idea to have it positioned facing away from the PC.  Here's why and here's how to do it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Steam Winter Sale is now live with discounts on games for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift

The Steam Winter Sale has begun, with sales on games for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. 

Some of the notable games include:
- Raw Data: a cooperative online sci-fi shooter (caution: controls are awkward for Oculus Touch)
- Vanishing Realms: an adventure game
- Brookhaven Experiment: a horror wave shooter
- Onward: a team-based tactical shooter
- QuiVR: a multiplayer cooperative wave shooter
- Smashbox Arena: a multiplayer shooter

TECHNIQUE: How to hide yourself from your 360 camera

Sometimes, you don't want to be shown in the shot.  Here's how to hide yourself from your 360 camera.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Invisible" LED light for low light 360 photos or videos

I found an LED lamp that can add light to your 360 photos or videos, and it's slim enough that it's pretty much invisible even to a 360 camera.

Put a watermark in your 360 photo instantly and nondestructively with SeekBeak

You can put your logo or watermark on the nadir (or zenith) in your 360 photos or virtual tours instantly and nondestructively with SeekBeak. The logo will also be oriented automatically based on the viewer's point of view.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Wireless HTC Vive with TPCast works as promised, UploadVR finds

UploadVR got to test the TPCast wireless adapter for the HTC Vive.  After extensive tests, including asking a gymnast to do backflips, they found that the TPCast works as promised, with no noticeable increase in latency. 

Facebook and Oculus preview React VR, their cross-platform VR language

Facebook and Oculus previewed React VR, its cross-platform VR language that allows developers to create simple VR apps that can be viewed on any VR device.  React VR allows developers to create one web app that can be used across VR devices, from browsers to mobile headsets to desktop VR headsets, making it unnecessary to create separate apps for each device.

Facebook has been very bullish about VR and 360.  Recently, it announced the launch of 360 Live, which will enable 360 livestreaming on Facebook.

VR player smashes face into a wall, needs stitches (video)

A man playing a horror game on the HTC Vive was so immersed that he ran and smashed his face into a wall, requiring stitches.  Here's the video.

VR demo of Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 at CES 2017

Qualcomm is presenting a VR demo of its new Snapdragon 835 processor at CES 2017 in cooperation with Lionsgate.

Insta360 Studio app updated; new features added

Insta360 updated the Studio 360 video editing software to add new features.

The Hague 360 - a short film made entirely with the Insta360 Nano

The Insta360 Nano is a 360 camera for the iPhone, designed for ease of use and convenience.  However, it can also be a powerful filmmaking tool if used with the right technique, as demonstrated in this short video.

How to use the Insta360 Nano on an iPhone 5, 5S, or iPhone SE.

You can use the Insta360 Nano with a modified adapter on an iPhone 5 (with limits), or iPhone 5S or iPhone SE.  The adapter is inexpensive, and the modification takes less than 5 minutes.  It also works with some smartphone cases.

Correction: it appears the Nano is not fully compatible with iPhone 5 - photo works, but there are errors when shooting video.  iPhone 5S and SE have no issues.  Thanks to Skip Hunt for bringing this to my attention!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cross-platform gameplay with Fusion Wars for Gear VR and soon for Oculus Rift

There have been many new games and apps for the Samsung Gear VR in the last few months.  One of the most impressive new releases is Fusion Wars, an online co-op tank game with cross-platform gameplay.

DEALS: awesome VR martial arts bundle on Steam (HTC Vive and Oculus Rift)

​There's an awesome martial arts game bundle on Steam (for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift), with a 30% discount, and both included games are very good quality.

See a VR visualization of your Oculus Rift sensors' coverage's Desk Scene is a utility that can enable you to see each of your Oculus Rift's sensors' coverage.  Seeing each sensor's coverage would help you adjust their position and angle to optimize coverage and minimize occlusion.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Wenpod Tarzan-G: a stabilized gimbal designed for 360 cameras

360 videos need a level horizon to avoid nausea for viewers.  One tool that can enable you to maintain a level horizon is a stabilized gimbal. The Wenpod Tarzan-G, a stabilized gimbal designed for 360 cameras.

The Construct is a free virtual tour software

The Construct is a free software that allows you to link 360 photos into a virtual tour.

How to turn on the Nikon Keymission 360 without recording a photo or video

Here's a technique to turn on the Nikon Keymission 360 (reviewed here) without recording a video or taking a photo.

Create 360-degree videos of your Tiltbrush paintings

Tiltbrush, Google's VR painting app for the HTC Vive, has been updated to allow you to create 360-degree videos of your creations.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Mark Zuckerberg captures baby Max's first steps in 360 video

Mark Zuckerberg captured their baby Max's first steps in a 360 video.

CES 2017 will have many exciting announcements for 360 cameras!

CES 2017 is happening in just a couple of weeks (Jan 3 through 8, 2017) and there will be exciting announcements for 360 cameras for all users (both casual and professional).

Oculus Launches Rooms and Parties for Samsung Gear VR

Starting today, you and your friends can meet and play in VR through Oculus Rooms and Parties for Gear VR (and coming soon for Oculus Rift).

Oculus Rift headset cable extension for under $20

I was able to get extension cords that work for the Oculus Rift headset, and they were cost-effective as well!

Oculus Rift users' demand for roomscale VR exceeds expectations

It appears that Oculus Rift users' demand for roomscale VR has exceeded Oculus' expectations.

TECHNIQUE: How to do a 360 live stream of a concert's CEO Juan Santillan, in cooperation with Nokia and UploadVR, presented a masterclass on how to do a 360 livestream of a concert.