Is 3D video poised for a rebirth of sorts through user-generated content? Looking through it with the eyes of a 15-year-old and hearing the “wow moment”, one has to think that 2016 might finally be the year of 3D video. Low-cost and simple 3D capture, along with low-cost virtual reality headsets could be the elements that give video a third-dimension in the upcoming year.
In the above video interview, Han Jin, CEO of Lucid VR, demonstrates, the output of their 3D camera, the LucidCam, using the low-cost Google Cardboard virtual reality headset. About the size and feel of a smart phone, the LucidCam is compact, easy to use and has tripod mounts, as well as strap options (for mounting one’s chest or forehead, for instance). Taking a photo or shooting a video is as simple clicking a button. The output is a single MP4 file that combines the two 1080p, 3o frame per second videos and audio streams from the two image sensors and microphones.
The cameras feature a field of view that is 190°x120°, providing a full 180 degree view. Jin describes how it is possible to even create 360 degree views by grouping several LucidCams together in a triangle and using 3rd-party stitching software. In addition to the 16 Gbytes of internal and provision for a microSD card, it is also possible to stream via the HDMI port. There is a fair amount of onboard compression, as it only requires 25 to 80 Mbytes of storage per minute of footage (3.3 to 10.7 Mb/s).
It only took a few seconds to become immersed in the sample concert video Jin provided to see how 3D, coupled with the interface of a virtual reality headset, will open new and improved ways to use video, such as in training and education. It is the new and unanticipated applications that excite Jin the most about what he and his team have accomplished with their two-year development.
With the close of their crowdsourced funding campaign on Christmas day of this year, they are ramping up production, which is planned for July of 2016. With an expected retail price of sub $600, this could be an affordable way for anyone to capture all three dimensions of their travel adventures, sporting experiences or family moments.