• 360-Degree Camera is Pure Magic

360-Degree Camera is Pure Magic

Madrid based post-production house La Bicicleta AD road tests the Panasonic 360 degree camera for the production of “The Magician” 

The rise of virtual reality experiences, 360 videos and the desire to achieve innovative ways to engage new audiences, has led to the launch of a fleet of 360 degree camera systems.

Ranging in sizes from golf ball to basketball, each has one thing in common; the requirement to spend hours in post production, stitching the component images together to get a reasonable image.

The launch of Panasonic's AW-360C10 has changed that forever. It is the only camera on the market suited for real “live” production in the field.

This is achieved by the camera's ability to carry out real-time onboard stiching.

La Bicicleta AD, a post production house in Madrid, were the first in Europe to use the camera for a production. The agency has 

significant experience in the field. They have been fortunate enough to try many cameras to create VR content - everything from a variety of commercial 360 cameras to camera systems configured and created specifically for special projects.

For its latest project ‘The Magician’, shot by DoP Tommie Ferreras, the company was keen to road test the Panasonic 360 degree camera to determine if the live camera stitching was as effective as that traditionally put together in post-production.

Pedro Martínez, VFX Supervisor at La Bicicleta AD, said, “Regarding the picture quality, I dare say that the sensitivity of this camera is very good. We tested it in an underground car park with very little light -  and even in such extreme conditions it performed well.”

Featuring four separate cameras, synchronised to create a single 4K image with 2 to 1 ratio, the system allows to display, record and stream 4K panoramic contents, making the viewer really feel part of the action.

The 360 camera is ideal for ‘live’ applications such as sporting events and concerts. It offers very low latency, highly precise real-time active stitching, automatic exposure and white balance control.

On top of this, it is extremely easy to install and setup thanks to its compact camera head and distant base station, making it the best and most flexible 360 camera for live events.

“The stitching is magic,” adds Pedro Martínez. “It is able to correct in real time depending on the position of the objects versus the camera. In post-production, the workflow is super easy since the stitched image is ready to work with it.”

“The stitching is perfect, but it has an aspect ratio of 2.0. When we recorded externally using the Atomos Shogun, the recording format is 1.77 UHD. As a result, we chose to carry out a simple edit in post production to crop a black section along the base of the image. Ideally, I would like to see a process in the base station that transforms the image from 2.0 to a 1.77 by stretching it vertically. This way, the image would be ready for any VR player or for streaming directly.”

The content, a series of magic tricks set in a hushed studio, is perfectly stitched together so that all participants, including around a dozen production crew watching are all rendered perfectly. 

“If I have a gripe, the HDMI output on the base station is very good, but I miss BNC outputs, in order to use longer and more reliable cables,”  added Pedro Martínez. “But in my opinion we are facing a very good 360 degree camera.”