At Stambol Studios, we know the buzz about Virtual Reality in entertainment is far from over. As production professionals, you’ve probably been scoping out the gear coming onto the market and thinking about how 360 degree and VR storytelling fits into the future of filmmaking. We know you'll be looking for a broad range of products for a variety of applications – from high end studio projects to edgy indie film makers on a tight budget.
So in the spirit of democratizing the realm of 360 degree videos, we're breaking this Top 10 into two; 5 Pro and 5 Consumer picks. Keep reading for offerings from some of the biggest names in tech and electronics alongside specialist hardware creators with big potential.
Top 5 Pro
Designed with cinematic experiences in mind, Jaunt's 24 camera modules come together as ONE in a design that evokes robotic and UFO imagery. Jaunt has developed supporting hardware and software that places their product at the forefront of professional 360 degree cameras.
Introducing itself as “The World's Highest Quality Virtual Reality Camera", the EYE™ VR Camera has a lot to live up to right out of the gate. Although the maker, 360 Designs, does offer a range of 360 cameras, the EYE is clearly the jewel in their crown. 42 cameras and 24 microphones make up the epic spherical rig, intended primarily to capture sporting events and concerts as well as immersive movie-making.
The ambitious OZO also promotes itself as the world’s best Virtual Reality camera. And with a trusted name in professional photography behind it, we think the OZO may well be a contender. Eight lenses and eight on-board microphones capture all 360 degrees from a single spherical camera. Interested filmmakers should consider OZO's Storytellers Program which offers participants a deep discount on the camera.
This sophisticated brainchild of both GoPro and Google is only available to pre-screened professional film makers. The Odyssey consists of 16 HERO4 camera modules optimized for Google’s Jump camera rig. If the Odyssey sounds right for your next project, apply here.
Facebook Surround 360
When Facebook acquired Oculus, it became clear from that moment on that the social media giant would be delving into VR hardware. So it shouldn’t surprise you to see their 360 camera on our list. The Surround's 17 industrial cameras include 14 wide angles and three fisheyes to ensure complete coverage from all angles.
Top 5 Consumer
Samsung Gear 360
More than just an electronics giant, Samsung is becoming a cornerstone of the VR industry as well. The Gear 360 camera features 2 180 degree wide-angle lenses with the versatility to shoot with just one lens as desired. Handheld design is described as smaller than a baseball. Tripod included for hands-free shooting as well.
Kodak PIXPRO SP360
One of the most trusted camera brands in the world, a Kodak just had to make our list. The PIXPRO SP360 has a 360 degree spherical curved lens and produces HD video content. Control it wirelessly with an iOS or Android device.
Ricoh Theta SC
This sleek little camera does not mount to your phone, but has a thin, lightweight body that comes in 4 trendy colors. The Theta SC is compatible with iOS and Android, optimized specifically for Google Street View.
Compatible with iPhones, iPads, and Androids, the Giroptic iO makes amazing 360 degree personal videos look easy. Mounts on the top of your smartphone or tablet for the same handheld filming experience you know and love.
If the phone-mounted design is your preference, the Insta360 Nano is another great choice. Compatible with recent iPhones and leaves room for a selfie stick. Designed for easy social sharing, the Nano exports directly to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
About the WriterChristine Hart is the Content & Communications Specialist for Stambol Studios. Stambol is a VR, AR, and MR studio specializing in immersive experiences for architecture and real estate marketing, industrial showcases and brand engagement. Stambol creates inspiring and memorable virtual experiences for businesses to showcase their products and brands, engage their audience by fueling excitement, and establish a strong emotional footprint.