Saturday, September 10, 2016

CamRover is a 360 camera with realtime stitching

photo by CamRover
CamRover is a new 360-degree camera that features realtime stitching.

3D 360 music video from Vuze

Vuze posted a new sample from its Vuze Camera. This time, it's a 3D 360 music video called "Running" by Lightscape.

Straighten or realign your Ricoh Theta photos with this awesome app!

Theta Converter is an Android app that will straighten or realign images from the Ricoh Theta S and inject 360 metadata as well.

Friday, September 9, 2016

No, the iPhone 7 Plus is definitely NOT a VR or 360 camera

This past Wednesday, Apple announced the iPhone 7.  As had been widely speculated, the iPhone 7 Plus has two lenses in its camera.  One of the strangest commentaries I've seen is that because the iPhone 7 Plus has two lenses, it's actually a "virtual reality camera" in disguise.  Even more strange is that this speculation has been repeated in several media.  The speculation is false.

It is true that Apple is interested in VR and AR.  They've hired a lot of people that have expertise in VR, and they even have a patent on a type of VR headset.

Nonetheless, to believe that the iPhone 7 Plus is actually a "virtual reality camera" in disguise reflects a gross misunderstanding of what a VR camera is. 

Play Oculus Rift and HTC Vive games on your Samsung Gear VR with new VRidge for Gear VR

photo by VR Bits
You can now play Oculus Rift and HTC Vive games and apps on your Samsung Gear VR, with "perfect" head tracking.

TECHNIQUE: Three ways to add text to your 360 photo or video

Adding text to a 360 photo is a little more complicated than simply pasting the text on the photo or video - otherwise, the text will appear distorted.  Here are three ways to add text to a 360 photo or video.

REVIEW: Caseling hardcase for your 360 camera and accessories

The Caseling hardcase can fit a 360 camera with room for some essential accessories.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

DEALS: VR-Ready GTX 1060 3GB at $199 and Superclocked version at $209.99

​VR-Ready graphics cards are in such high demand that they often sell for a large premium over their MSRP.  Fortunately, two EVGA variants of the GTX 1060 (reviewed here) are currently in stock, at MSRP!

2.  EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Superclocked $209.99.
The GTX 1060 6GB had been available at $249 earlier today but got sold out.  Found the GTX 1060 6GB in stock at B&H for $249.99.

For many people, getting a VR-Ready card is all they need to make their PC VR-Ready, even if their CPU does not meet the recommended spec
The GTX 1060 3GB is NVidia's most affordable VR-Ready card.  It is a little slower than the 6GB version, but NVidia claims that it is still 10% faster than its rival, the AMD RX 480.  PC World found the performance to be closer to the RX 470, although they also noted correctly that $200 versions of the RX 480 are impossible to find (they're closer to $250).  For $200, the best card is the GTX 1060 3GB, although if you can afford the extra $50, the GTX 1060 6GB is more future-proof.

Oculus Touch price and release date leaked by German electronics chain

The price and release date for the highly anticipated Oculus Touch motion controllers were leaked by an authorized distributor of the Oculus Rift in Germany.

RUMOR: Nikon Keymission 360 probably not released before October 19

The Nikon Keymission 360 will be shown at Photokina (September 20-25) where we will hopefully find out its pricing and availability.  It will also be shown at PDN PhotoPlus in New York (October 19-22).  As with Photokina, Nikon has selected National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale to present the Keymission 360.

Given that the Keymission 360 will be exhibited at PDN PhotoPlus, and that Nikon has taken the trouble to hire Ami Vitale for that event, it appears unlikely that the Keymission 360 will be released before PDN.

RUMOR: New Ricoh Theta will be called Theta Delta

Someone at Ricoh seems to love Greek letters. Pentax Rumors reports that the new Theta may be called "Ricoh Theta Delta". Pentax Rumors also reaffirmed the rumor that it will be 4k-capable.

Some have speculated that because the Delta letter is a triangle, the name means it will have three lenses. A simpler and more likely explanation IMO is that Delta is the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet.   (This would be the fourth Theta model after the original, the m15 and the S.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

You can now pre-order the Playstation 4 Pro on Amazon!

The new Sony Playstation 4 Pro is now available for pre-order from AmazonUpdate: Now also available from B&H.
Just to recap, it offers the following advantages:
- if you have a 4k display, you can play games with 4k and HDR.  Older games will be patched to add PS4 Pro support.
- if you have a 1080 display, you can play games with enhanced graphics
- with Playstation VR, you will get higher framerates and/or more detail
- the HDD is 1 TB instead of 500 GB

Amazon shows a launch date of "Dec. 29, 2017," which seems to be a typo.  The actual release date is November 10, 2016. EDIT: Amazon has updated the release date to November 10.

I don't have a PS4 yet but I've ordered the Playstation VR.  I decided to order the PS4 Pro as well even though it means I won't be able to use the PSVR until the PS4 Pro arrives.  I think in this case, a little patience will pay off dividends for several years.

Sony Playstation Pro announced; will offer additional features forPlaystation VR

Sony held a Playstation Meeting today in New York, where they announced a lower price for the Playstation 4 and a new higher-spec version of the Playstation 4 which had been codenamed Neo.

- The new standard PS4 will be slimmer and power-efficient.  To be released September 15 at $299.  By comparison, the PS4 is currently around $350.
- There will be a new model called Playstation Pro targeted to hardcore gamers and those with 4k displays.  Playstation Pro will be capable of playing games at 4K and HDR (high dynamic range).  It features an upgraded CPU, boosted clock rate, and 1 TB hard drive.
- If a player doesn't have a 4k TV, they can use the extra power of the Playstation Pro for supersampling and antialiasing.
- Some existing games will be patched to be compatible with PS4 Pro.  There will be only one version of each game.  Going forward, games will work with the standard PS4, the PS4 Pro with 4k displays, and the PS4 Pro with 1080 displays.
- When the PS4 Pro is used with the Playstation VR, games can benefit from higher frame rates and/or higher detail (pixel count).
- Sony has partnered with Netflix and YouTube to provide 4k playback on the PS4 Pro.
- PS4 Pro will cost $399 and will be available November 10.  EDIT: now available for preorder.

360-degree cameras under $200

As recently as the first quarter of this year, there were only a handful of 360 cameras.  Now the market is flooded with 360 cameras.  Here are several low-cost 360 cameras.  Please note: I haven't tried any of these.  I did buy a cheap 360 camera once, and it was horrible.  I would take the claimed specifications with a grain of salt.  I would also be cautious of reviews because some of them could be fake.

Nikon Keymission 360 will be at Photokina

The Nikon Keymission 360 will be at Photokina!  Nikon Europe will be livestreaming on September 19 and will be showing the Keymission 360.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Vanish360 automatically erases people and objects from Ricoh Theta S photos

Sometimes, you don't want people to be included in the shot but it's hard to avoid it with an all-encompassing 360 photo.  Vanish360 is an Android app for the Ricoh Theta S that will automatically erase people and objects. 

HTC Vive and Oculus Rift sales growth: why I'm not worried

VentureBeat reported that sales of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift "crashed to a halt" over the past couple of months.  This conclusion has been echoed by several media outlets.  It sounds disappointing until we examine what's really going on.

Create virtual tours and add interactivity to your 360 photos with these tools is one of the ways you can add interactivity to your 360 photos

There are now many social media platforms for sharing 360 photos and videos.  However, sometimes we want the photo to have more interactivity for viewers. 

At the most basic level, one way to add interactivity is to link to an adjacent location, thus allowing the viewer to see different perspectives and get a virtual tour.  There are also platforms that allow you to add multimedia links.  Here are some of them:

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Calm Before the Storm: 12 VR and 360 announcements on my radar

Happy Labor Day to everyone in the US.  I hope you're having a great weekend.  The past couple of days have been slow, but there are a many important and exciting VR and 360 related announcements on the horizon.  Here's what's on my radar, in approximate order of imminence.

Insta360 Nano 3rd Party Tripod Adapter

The Insta360 Nano tripod adapter will be available soon.  But if you can't wait, there's a third-party alternative available.