Vuze +: Bringing 3D to Everyone

13 Jul , 2018 News VeeR VR

Vuze +: Bringing 3D to Everyone

From flat videos to 3D films, worlds behind the screen get more and more stereo and real in front of us. Meanwhile, the emergence of 360-degree contents presents us with the possibility to actually enter the scenes. Virtual reality that takes advantage of both stereo 3D and 360 degrees would kill it in giving audiences the immersive feel of physical presence in another real world. But there is a technological challenge: to simulate the binocular disparity between two human eyes, 3D production requires at least 2 cameras to shoot scenes at a same angle. And so while 360-degree contents aim to capture scenes at all angles with multiple cameras, 3D+ requires at least 2 times the cameras 2D panoramic content shooting needs and 4 times the cameras regular photography needs.

Normally, such setup would cost at least 30k dollars, and the big amount of footages would also make the post-production cost high. Help by Director Ziren Wen, as an example, costed 5 million dollars for only a piece of 5-minute-content. Therefore, 3D content shooting has never been able to reach mass adoption. The good news is that an Israeli-based company, Human eyes, is trying to change the situation. Vuze series they designed sell at as low as 6499 RMB, overcoming the barrier that 3D production cost has always been way higher than average consumers’ purchasing power, bringing 3D+ one huge step toward mass adoption. This year, they newly launched Vuze+ at 9599 RMB in Chinese market, and it’s said to be able to achieve 4K+ 3D footage shooting and surprisingly high frame rate. Now we would test the camera’s performance in a real world setting.

Unboxing Time

As we unbox, we could see that there’s not only the camera but also a storage box, a charger, an adapter, a USB cable, a piece of lens cleansing cloth, a small handle, and a pair of foldable VR glasses. Basically, the camera comes with all the accessories that we’d expect.

The Vuze+ camera

Judging from the appearance, the Vuze+ is actually not much different from Vuze: it looks like digital product in the 90s Sony’s portable CD player Discman.

It has bull-nose edges and an elegant black appearance. However, be warned that although the mild matte texture does feel comfortable when you touch it, it’s very easy to leave fingerprint on it – not gonna be friendly if you hate it.

Vuze+ has 4 sides, two fish eye lenses for each side to shoot stereo contents (simulating two human eyes).

The maximum aperture for each lens is F2.4, and it can shoot 360 3D videos with up to 4K 30FPS.

Opening the protecting cover, we can see the slot for memory card, a Wi-fi swtich, and a USB port.

The shutter button and the camera switch is on the top of the camera. The blue light starts to flicker as we press the switch button, showing that the camera starts.

 

Performance test

Because there’s Vuze+ doesn’t have a built-in screen, we use the app Vuze Camera to remotely control the camera. Users can download the app from App store ( for IOS) or google play (for Android). The app only has English Version so far.

We first need to insert the micro SD card (requires a  specification higher than UHS-I to support 4K 3D footage shooting) and turn on the camera’s Wifi (Flickering blue light indicates it’s on).

Then we opened Vuze cameraapp on our smartphone. It prompted us to connect to Wifi. As the we get successfully connected the blue light next to Wifi button would be on for a while, and then we can control the camera via the app.

On the top bar of the App, from left to right, the icons are to enter menu, check if the camera is horizontal (green when it is), change parameters, connect sides, auto/manual modes, and remaining capacity of the battery and SD card. In the middle of the screen is the preview of what the camera is capturing, and the two icons at the bottom refers delay controller and the switch for browsing function.

On the screen, we can switch between photo and video shooting by sliding to left and right. Before capturing, users can touch the left and right ends to switch between different camera views.

So far only the Android version supports changing the cameras’ (or a single camera’s) parameters, such as aperture, in real time. Hope the IOS version can catch up soon.

Notably, neither of the Android and IOs apps can do real time monitoring when shooting videos, which is still quite an inconvenient factor for users, we are looking forward to seeing the feature added.

You can enter the Media Gallery by touching the thumbnail icon on the left of the color bar on the bottom or through the menu button on the top-left corner. You can view the image thumbnail in the Media Gallery.

We tested the camera’s performance under low-light settings. We can see obvious hot pixels on the images, but the video quality is not bad overall.

Check ou the test footage here:

Human eyes launched underwater suite Vuze VR Underwater Case at the beginning of the year, enabling divers to capture their favorite scenes in the ocean. It uses Anodised aluminium as its main material. You can hold it by hand or fix it on a tripod when diving.

Due to financial limitation, we didn’t get to test this product in person. However, the good news is that there are tons of underwater contents on VeeR that are shot by Vuze+, from Semporna to Maldives. Check them out!

Because photos or frames are stitched into 360-degree contents by overlapping captures of neighbor cameras and identifying matching features, it introduces a concept called safety distance.

When objects to capture are too near to the camera, there would be too few matching features captured, which may subsequently lead to distortion. The minimum distance to ensure there’s no distortion is called safety distance. Normally the safety distances are 1-1.5 meters for 360 cameras. The safety distance for Vuze+ is around 50 cm according to our own test, which means it’s a pretty good one among consumer level cameras!

The picture we took when testing the safety distance.

Stitching and post-production

Due to limited phone capacity that doesn’t support stitching 4K 3D contents, we need to download from the official website(www.vuze.camera/vr-software) and install the editor Human Eyes VR Studio.

The fastest way to connect to your PC is to insert the SD card directly (the transferring speed is dependent on the port’s capacity). For the first time, you can also use the USB cable that came with the camera to connect (speed is slower). Turn on Human Eyes VR Studio, click on register, and the serial code would fill in automatically.

After we’ve successfully registered, we’d be free to edit our images or footages. Because there is no bottom and top cameras on Vuze+, quality of the sky and the ground after stitching might not be satisfying. If there concerns you, we recommend more professional editing softwares for repatching.

Comparatively, the algorithm for auto stitching is not ideal, stitching lines still noticeable. For most of the times,users would need to manually stitch the images together, which raises up the difficulty.

Conclusion:

Pros:

  1. Light and portable; easy to use
  2. A very budget-friendly 3D VR camera for the mass
  3. more real immersive experience
  4. simple but elegant design
  5. real time preview before shooting
  6. 4K stereo 3D 360 videos and photos
  7. 3D spatial audios
  8. IP65(dust- and water-proof)
  9. Streaming functionality; outputting rtmp in real time

Cons

  1. Can’t do real time monitoring when shooting footages
  2. The app doesn’t support one-click auto stitch
  3. Can’t preview works on the app
  4. The quality of images is yet improve
  5. The responding speed of the app is not very stable; the app becomes laggy when the phone gets as near as around 1.5 meters away from the camera, and thus it’s not perfectly convenient to use a smartphone as a remote controller

Although Vuze+ is not a product that lets you produce Hollywood-level movies with just a thousand dollars, it’s a huge step toward the accessibility of 3D VR content production for average families.

It has great size and weight, is easy to carry, and is very suitable for creators who would like to get a taste of 3D stereo content production and spacial audio. But to some extend, it does require some level of proficiency in operation and post-production, making it not entirely friendly to absolute beginners.

In the end, we wish that Vuze+ would do greater and greater in Chinese market, as although its hardware is revolutionary, much improvements are yet to make for the software to catch up.

VeeR VR is a leading VR content platform with the mission of empowering everyone to create and share virtual reality content. Within a year of its establishment, it’s become a phenomenon sweeping through the 360 community, and has been featured on Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR and HTC Vive. While we believe that VR is the future of storytelling, we want to encourage all VR lovers to create beyond boundaries.


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