Panocam has recently released its second version of a virtual reality (VR) camera, intended for professional video production. Panocam has dubbed it the HMC 3D 360 (HMC = head-mounted camera). Unlike commercial models, the HMC 3D 360 exploits the most up-to-date technology without budget restraints. On its website, Panocam boasts that they “have pushed the boundaries of immersive 3D 360 videos” with the latest camera.
The HMC 3D 360 uses 24 synchronized cameras. It shoots at 120 frames per second using stereoscopic 3D, which creates or enhances the illusion of depth in an image. The HMC 3D 360 also exploits panoramic video, a technique which uses specialized software that allows video to be captured with complete fields of view at 360°. It is shot in ultrahigh definition (also known as UltraHD, 4K). It is worn as a head mounted camera, allowing it to exploit body awareness.
Their other updated offering is the Camera on tripod – POD 3D 360. Panocam has optimized the positioning of the tangle of cameras on the POD 3D 360 to produce 3D 360° videos of a high quality. The Pod 3D 360 utilizes 18 synchronized cameras mounted on a tripod. Like the HMC 3D 360, the POD 360 shoots at 120 frames per second using stereoscopic, full panoramic 3D. It also shoots in ultra HD 4K.
To watch the 3D videos, users need to purchase a virtual reality headset (many options are available, from Google’s inexpensive Cardboard viewer to the state-of-the-art Oculus Rift’s DK2), and the Max VR Full player for $9.99. Alternatively, they can use the demo player, but this is only compatible with DK2.
Panocam 3D is based in Aix-en-Provence, France. It raised funds to build its first 3D camera through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in 2014. Backers paid around $5,000 for the first version, which included the software for stitching everything together. The first version had only 12 synchronized cameras as opposed to 24 in the latest model. The frame rate was also lower at 30 frames per second. Panocam’s initial 3D camera was the first 3D 360° camera with just one power button, one battery and many lenses