For readers in the US, I hope you had a great weekend and 4th of July celebration. The last couple of weeks have been very busy for me, among other things completing the migration of 360 Rumors, which is finally complete.
Despite that, there’s still so much to talk about, including two video editing software that can stitch 360 videos on the fly, the Panono bankruptcy, a new 360 camera accessory from Motorola, and an accessory that will enable you to take 65 megapixel 360 photos in raw format.
Panono emerges from bankruptcy with new owner
Panono is the highest resolution 360 camera, with 36 sensors and 108 megapixels. I love it for its spectacular detail and dynamic range.
However, Panono costs around $2,000, making it too expensive for most 360 shooters. With limited demand for such a high cost product, Panono filed for bankruptcy two months ago, which was worrisome for existing Panono users because Panono images are stitched in the cloud by Panono.
The silver lining is that Panono has found a new owner. Its assets will be sold to the new company, which will enable it to take over the business without its existing liabilities. On one hand, this means that crowdfunding backers who have not yet received their camera will be left with no remedy against the new company (though the company did state in a press release that they might do something for backers even if they don’t have legal liability). On the other hand, this was pretty much expected and the new company will be able to maintain their cloud stitching service at least for now, and presumably continue making and selling Panono cameras.
Video editing software to stitch 360 videos on the fly
Unlike conventional cameras, the video from 360 cameras often have to be combined or “stitched,” either on a smartphone or desktop. Depending on the video resolution and length, and stitching method, stitching can take a while — sometimes several hours. However, there are two softwares that can stitch 360 videos on the fly. Magix Video Pro X is a professional 360 video editing software that can accept unstitched double circular fisheye videos used by many 360 cameras and stitch them into an equirectangular format in realtime. It has templates for three popular cameras: the Samsung Gear 360, LG 360 Cam, and Ricoh Theta. However, the controls are very simple and can be used with other 360 cameras that record double circular fisheye videos for stitching.
I tried out Magix Video Pro X and it worked perfectly with my Samsung Gear 360 files. I also tried it out on a Xiaomi Mijia Mi Sphere file, and was able to find a setting that had very smooth stitching. That is, except for a vignetting effect that became visible in the stitched output. I hope Video Pro X will add a tool to remove the vignetting to make this capability more useful.
Another software that can also stitch 360 videos on the fly is Pinnacle Studio 20.5 Ultimate, which reportedly works with either single or double circular fisheye videos (i.e., from a hemispherical or fully spherical 360 camera). However, I haven’t tried Pinnacle Studio yet to see how well this function works.
Moto 360 camera announced (prematurely?)
At a press conference in Ghana, Motorola staff showed a new 360 camera accessory for Moto Z smartphones. The announcement was captured on video, which has since been pulled, but not before it was widely distributed.
Not much is known about the 360 camera’s price or specifications other than it appears to be fully spherical and has two lenses. Because of the small distance between its lenses, I expect it to have very good stitching.
The new 360 camera follows a trend in the smartphone industry to add 360 camera accessories to smartphones.
Capture 65-MP 360 photos in RAW
360 cameras can capture 360 photos quickly but sometimes their resolution is not high enough. They can also suffer from parallax stitching errors. Pano5+1 Mark II by Rogeti is a panoramic head for GoPro Hero 5 Black which can take 65-megapixel fully spherical 360 photos in Raw format. As the name implies, it is the second version of the Pano5+1 panoramic head.
As with the original, the Pano5+1 enables you to take a fully spherical 360 photo in only 7 shots (8 shots if you want to clone out a stem from the nadir). Besides being compatible with the Hero 5 Black, the new version of the Pano5+1 has a separate head to make it easier to take nadir shots. It also has a clever adapter that enables the new Pano5+1 to be used with Hero 3 and Hero 4 cameras while keeping the nodal point the same.
This accessory is currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo but I’ve actually already received the product (this is only the second time where I backed a crowdfunding project and actually received the product before the end of the campaign). The kit is very well made with injection molded parts. Most importantly, I tried it out with my Hero 4 Silver and it worked very well. I stitched the photo in Panorama Studio 3.1 Pro and it worked with no adjustments needed, and practically no stitching errors, even with a 360 photo of my car interior, which is normally a challenging subject for 360 cameras because the tight space tends to reveal parallax stitching issues.
That’s it for this post! See you again in a couple of weeks!