w much of the required equipment for VR pro-
duction and delivery remains too costly and un-
reliable to engender widespread adoption and
growth to match the interest in VR on the con-
sumer end. There is currently a large number
of manufacturers drowning creators in a sea of
confusing options. To help VR content creators
contend with the deluge of information and
product announcements, this article will focus
on VR streaming workflows and toolkits that
have worked well together in various VR/360
productions I’ve done.
But let’s start with a quick overview of camera options and other components before we
look at how they fit together in different VR streaming setups.
VR/360 cameras now come in all
shapes and sizes. You’ll find them
configured in rigs utilizing an array
of cameras in a premade or custom
harness, or as a complete camera
unit featuring built-in stitching.
For video streaming, you can
use either type of camera setup,
depending on your particular project needs or budget. You must determine which camera fits your intended purpose, since each has its
own strengths and weaknesses. For
example, you may want a rig that is
small and compact to cover an outdoor sporting event, as opposed to
a larger rig that has greater resolution and coverage.
There are many uses for streaming VR. Some current implementations include product launches,
brand activations, and concerts.
Choosing the right camera can
make or break your production.
A good, general-purpose camera
rig might consist of four to eight
GoPro HERO5 Blacks with a Free-
dom360 or 360RIZE array (Figure
1). Alternatively, you might build a
360 rig with Blackmagic Design Micro Studio Cameras in a harness
also available from 360RIZE.
Two things to be aware of with
GoPros are their tendency to overheat and their limited battery life.
If you’re going the GoPro route, I recommend
adding a fan and a battery-based USB power
source to keep your rig running reliably longer.
Right now, all-in-one cameras are gaining
cachet, since they add simplicity, synchronization, and automation to the capture process. Selecting the right camera is key, since
each system configuration has its strengths
and weaknesses. I recommend using the ImagineVision Z Cam S1 (Figure 2) featured in Case
2, since it delivers high-quality capture overall
with its fantastic optics and fantastic reliability
while offering end-to-end features that make
GoPro Black cameras in
a 360RIZE harness
Z Cam S1