At CES yesterday I had the chance to take a look at the new ‘affordable’ 360 camera called Vuze. The camera shoots at resolutions up to 4k per combined, sporting 8 x 1080p cameras capturing footage at up to 30FPS – all in a package supposedly costing less than $1000.

If you’ve followed the VR space over the last 2 years, you’ll have noticed there seems to be no shortage of technology companies touting their solutions to capture and process 360 video for use in virtual reality headsets. There aren’t too many that could be classed as aimed at ‘regular’ users at a price they might consider paying however.

Enter Vuze, a new camera powered by the folks at HumanEyes which claims it’s ease of use makes it perfect for the modern ‘Soccer Mom’ who wants to capture her family’s memorable moments in immersive spherical formats.

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The definition of affordable is of course entirely subjective, and at a target price tag of between $800-1000, you may wonder if your parent’s would agree with the categorisation.

Nevertheless, the Vuze packs a fair amount of equipment into it’s diminutive shell for the money – sporting no less than 8x1080p sensors mounted at an approximation of an ‘average’ human IP –  on each side of the square shell. The array is capable of shooting spherical video at a combined resolution of 4k at 30FPS. It has SD Card storage and offers live, onboard video compression which crunches as it caps.

The unit is neatly designed, with dimensions (12x12x3cm, weighing less than 280g) small enough to fit into a pocket. The multipurpose ‘minipod’, which doubles as a selfie stick is also nicely conceived.

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Vuze comes with an end to end processing pipeline with stitching software, designed by HumanEyes, to be easy to use with as little fuss as possible. Once you’re done editing and stitching (HumanEyes claim a near 1:1 processing time – so for 1 minute of video, it should take roughly one minute to stitch), which will of course vary depending on the editing computer you’re working on. One you’re done, export to the Vuze smartphone app to view the results.

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The one issue you may have noted reading these specs is that the camera can capture at no more than 30FPS. Whilst there is yet to be any proper consensus as to the best, minimum target frame rate for 360 3D video shot for VR, it’s fair to say ‘the higher the better’ is the rule of thumb. Which leaves the Vuze’s 30FPS running at half Gear VR’s display refresh rate looking little lacklustre.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to gauge the quality the camera is capable of, so judgement on this front must be reserved for now.

The Vuze package is neat it’s approaching affordability, and if Vuze makes it to market soon, it’ll be one of the first solutions of it’s kind you can actually buy.

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  • MasterElwood

    30fps for 800 bucks? No thank you. Also: 4k? No thank you. 4k look like shit when stretched to 360.

    • Anton Bar

      Not sure why you’re saying this. What device did you use to watch 4K in 360, what camera created that content, what was the bitrate? Without details all this sounds a bit unreliable to me.

      • MasterElwood

        GearVR – Note 4 and S6. EVERY 4K 360 video looks blurry as hell. Even professional created videos with RED arrays. 4K is just not enough for 360. Carmack says you need at LEAST 8K for (at least) good looking 360 videos – double that for stereoscopic.

        • Anton Bar

          Try LG G4 with VR Player on any VR Headset and you’re going to be surprised :)

          • MasterElwood

            It’s not the player – its the resolution. You can’t stretch 4k resolution all around you and expect a sharp picture. 4K looks like shit on a CV1 also. Its physics.

            Carmack did some good talks about that subject. Just listen to them.

          • Anton Bar

            Don’t assume I didn’t listen. Check out the limits of H.264. Many players can’t handle 4K. iPhone 6 can play 1K only. 6s plays 2K. LG’s play 2.5K… No mobile phone (maybe except the last Sony’s) can play 4K. So yeah, it’s also the player. I saw several demos at CES, and LG’s did a great job in my opinion. It’s not just physics, it’s your exaggerated expectations mostly.

          • MasterElwood

            If a player can´t handle 4k – then the video doesn’t look worse. It stutters – or the player doesn’t play it at all. If it looks bad but fluid – then its the video – not the player.

            BTW: All Samsung Galaxy S and Note from 2014 and 2015 can handle 4K Videos up to 50Mbit perfectly fine.

          • Anton Bar

            This is a whole bunch of bs. Clearly you’re clueless and didn’t try any mobiles first hand. Check out the limits of H.264 before you post this. I’m done.

  • Victor Mendoza

    Well these cameras are not yet aimed for the massive market, still a bit expensive but probably affordable for a business that make more money with them