Live Planet camera system live streams in VR

Posted on August 10, 2016 by UNITED PHOTO PRESS MAGAZINE

With 16 lenses, this camera stitches together 360-degree footage in real-time for viewing on multiple VR platforms.

Creating 360-degree video can be time-consuming.

Taking footage from multiple cameras and stitching it together is the first step, then the producer has to think about how to encode it for viewing on different VR platforms.

Reality Lab Networks wants to simplify this with an all-in-one system called Live Planet. It consists of a camera, cloud-based platform and software.

The camera stitches and encodes footage in real-time within the unit itself. Then, the stereoscopic 4K footage is sent to the cloud, which does the transcoding required to deliver it to platforms includingOculus, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard, Gear VR, Facebook 360 and YouTube 360.

As for the camera, it's made up of 16 lenses with synchronized sensors behind each, shooting 4K at 30 frames per second when live streaming or 60 frames per second when recording to the onboard 512GB storage unit. Connectivity options at the base of the camera include Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB, HDMI and SDI output.

The prototype unit seen in the video above is a little larger than the final production model, which will weigh 1.5 pounds (600 grams).

Other companies are working on streaming live VR content, including NextVR -- though its camera system is not generally available for purchase. On the other end of the cost spectrum, the $499 Giroptic 360cam can also live stream footage, but at a lower resolution.

Pre-orders for the Live Planet camera will start at $4,995 (roughly AU$6,700and £3,800) for the first 500 units with a full retail price of $9,995 (approximately AU$13,300 and £7,600). Expected release is the fourth quarter of 2016.