With few exceptions, the traditional camera market has a product for pretty much every price imaginable. Virtual reality cameras, on the other hand, tend to be either a few hundred dollars (e.g., Ricoh's Theta series) or somewhere in the five-figure range. HumanEyes is aiming to fill in that gap with its decidedly prosumer Vuze VR camera. Originally shown at CES, the full kit is now available for preorder for $799, with an estimated ship date of sometime in October.
Though bigger than a Theta or or Samsung's spherical Gear 360, the Vuze is still small enough to pocketable (depending on the size of your pockets, at least). It has eight full HD cameras, two on each side, each with 120-degree horizontal / 180-degree vertical fields of view. That setup allows it to capture stereoscopic 360 videos in 4K resolution at 30fps. An accompanying iOS / Android app is used for controlling the camera.
"Near real-time" processing for 4K 360 video
HumanEyes is touting the Vuze's "point and shoot" capabilities and that extends to post-production. The company says it will have "near real-time processing" (i.e., about one minute of processing per minute of footage) through its Vuze Studio app, that stitches the footage together using a variety of techniques, including a proprietary algorithm it calls adaptive blending. Based on the test footage available, the Vuze's stitching isn't quite seamless — you can definitely spot the lines where one camera's footage begins and another ends. But at this point, getting stitching right is a very labor-intensive process (trust us) — HumanEyes is optimizing for speed here, for those that are trying to capture and share either more amateur or more time-sensitive footage. (You'll also be able to export the footage and stitch it yourself.) A short film shot with Vuze, Summertime, will debut during the Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off this week.
At just under $800, Vuze isn't competing with the high-grade professional cameras like Nokia Ozo ($60,000) or the more makeshift rigs offered by GoPro ($5,000–$15,000) or envisioned by Facebook (approximately $30,000). If anything, its closest competition in terms of price is the Gear 360 ($599) or the Theta S ($349.99) — neither of which capture stereoscopic 360. But those are the cameras available now, and given how quickly the field is evolving, things could look very different by the time the Vuze launches this fall.