About this project
Jeffrey Martin is an American from Chicago living in Prague. He is the Founder of 360Cities, and has created several world record panoramic photos, including London 80 Gigapixels, Strahov Library 40 Gigapixels, and Prague 18 Gigapixels.
"Jeffrey and co have built an impressive team and have a good-looking roadmap on the Kickstarter page, too." Cory Doctorow, Boingboing
"The Sphericam is [Jeffrey's] invention and it looks pretty amazing." John Biggs, Tech Crunch
Did you ever wish you could film everything around you at the same time, and truly capture the whole place, as you experienced it?
Now you can.
Sphericam is a self-contained, battery-powered video camera that captures FOUR synchronized fisheye videos which can be viewed on your computer or online as a single, seamless 360-degree movie. It has a built-in monitor which allows you to see what you are shooting.
Who might want to use Sphericam? What kinds of things can I shoot in 360º?
- Concerts, parties, clubs
- Advertising (creative)
- Music Videos
- Sports (it could be mounted on the referee, in the middle of the action)
- Documentary filmmaking
- "Google Streetview" style Geographic photography
- Skiing and Snowboarding
- Extreme sports
- Security, Military, Law Enforcement
- Fleet Management
There are surely many applications which we haven't imagined. Please get in touch with us if you'd like to discuss an application which we haven't mentioned here!
Sphericam has 8 patents pending for innovative solutions in the capture and display of 360º video.
Note: Youtube videos are in the "unwrapped" 360 format. Videos can also be viewed in a normal perspective with interactive navigation. Read below to learn more!
The world is just barely ready for a futuristic device like this. People will stop you in the street and ask what on earth you are doing. You will feel the same way photographers did in the mid-19th century - someone with a great new power of capturing the world in an entirely new way.
We are currently offering Sphericam in limited quantities! We don't want to overshoot our modest production cabilities - we want to get the first models of Sphericam out to our backers as soon as possible!
Because Sphericam makes an image that is entirely spherical (except for a small hole on the bottom of the image), there are a great variety of ways that the image can be shown. We will provide users with two easy projections that can be generated automatically from their video files.
Here is the "flat" 360 video:
and here is a "little planet" version of the same video:
It is also possible to show your video in an "interactive" format. This gives your video a normal perspective, like any other camera - except with this video, you can look around in any direction! TRY IT HERE.
Because sometimes the frame is not enough. Some places, some things, some subjects, as we all know, just don't fit into the frame of your video camera. It is now possible to both capture everything within your field of view, and display this "sphere of vision" online in a variety of projections and formats.
Sphericam contains a GPS device built in to the camera enclosure, allowing you to create georeferenced 360-degree movies. Think Google Streetview in the palm of your hand.
Currently we are working out the last parts of the software which will allow you to easily export the GPS data encoded in your video.
Live Streaming 360 Video!
Sphericam can be purchased with a LAN (Ethernet) socket or even Wifi, allowing you to stream Sphericam live on the internet!
We are ready to start producing Sphericam on a larger scale, with your support.
Since the birth of this project five years ago, and the development of the current iteration one year ago, we have:
- Engineered the system to be easily manufactured and assembled
- Built and tested 5 generations of prototypes
- Tested numerous case and camera enclosure designs
- Improved the image quality and recording bitrate
I have been working with Shaddack, a somewhat famous electrical engineer of the Czech Republic, for the past 3 years. I (Jeffrey) have overseen the architecture of the hardware and Shaddack has made it work properly and robustly. Jirka, an industrial designer and friend, has provided his amazing talents to create enclosures (camera enclosure and recording box) that are functional, inexpensive to manufacture, and beautiful. Jim Watters, a software engineer based in Canada, is extremely knowledgeable in the field of immersive and spherical imaging. We will all help to bring this project to the next stage.
We’re nearly ready to set up full-scale manufacturing which will allow us to offer Sphericam in larger volumes and with a faster turnaround. The job of going from prototype to production is incredibly complex, and we have been taking our time with it. This is part of the reason we are launching on Kickstarter only now: while we have been ready for many months now, we have been busy working on many details of the hardware design in order to be truly ready to offer a finished product.
If you contribute to Sphericam, you will be helping to bring 360-degree video to the mainstream. You'll also be among the first in the world to use this revolutionary hardware.
Believe us when we say that the world is just barely ready for a fantastic device like this. You will feel the same way photographers did in the mid-19th century - someone with a great new power of capturing the world in an entirely new way.
- Camera resolution: 1280x1024 video containing 4x synchronized 640x512 resolution videos
- Lens type: 4x fisheye lens with 170-degree field of view
- Monitor: 4.3" LCD
- Recording media: SD Card slot, up to 32GB
- Recording capacity: up to 17 hours on a single 32GB SD Card
- Battery: 2200mAh Li-Po battery with internal charger.
- Power: DC 12V with included power adapter
- Power capacity: up to 3 hours recording time (with LCD turned off) per charge; 1-2 hours recording time (with LCD turned on)
Risks and challenges
We have done our best to address all engineering and design challenges that we have encountered. We have exhaustively tested every component that Sphericam is built from. We have tried different types of enclosure, battery, charger, camera, lens. We feel certain that the product we have built is robust and will stand the test of time. We have been using the existing prototypes in a "rough" manner to test as much as possible how the devices will fare in the hands of regular people.
We have also taken great care to design Sphericam with mass production in mind, so that when we go from prototypes and small runs, to volume in the hundreds and thousands of units, we can use the same components and assembly techniques. The camera cover, for example, is currently made by SLS 3d printer, but it has been designed to allow creation via injection molding as well.
Supply Chain & Logistics
We are prepared for small production runs - in the hundreds of units. In the event that this project is more successful than planned, we are already in contact with a number of suppliers in China who will be able to help us in a greater capacity, should we receive a larger-than-expected volume of orders from the beginning.
Currently we have structured our offer so that we can ship the first ~100 Sphericams within 6-8 weeks, and additional units after 1-2 months.
In the event that we receive less than 500 orders, it will be possible to fulfill this volume from our Prague location. If it is more than 500 orders, we are ready to launch an assembly line in China after the new year (February-March 2013).
Our team has all of the necessary skills needed to design, test, and manufacture Sphericam in small quantities. From electrical engineering, industrial design to code writing, the team has all the expertise in house.
We are finalizing the first version of the software which allows you to drag-and-drop the Sphericam movies onto a viewing application, giving you instant playback of the Sphericam movies in both "flat" and "interactive" 360º format.
We are also planning, after funding of this project, an easy tool to render these movies in a self-contained 360º movie file, allowing you to upload it to Youtube or to publish it in an interactive format on your own website. We are also planning to offer a cloud-based solution for rendering Sphericam files into high-quality 360º movies quickly and easily.
We have successfully enabled live streaming of the Sphericam video over a local network. Upon successfully funding this project, we will create a way to easily record this video to a PC on the same local network as Sphericam (via LAN cable or Wifi, depending on the model of Sphericam). For streaming Sphericam directly onto the Web, we are working on a way to process (stitch) the Sphericam video in realtime (using a GPU), and live stream the seamless 360-degree video. At any rate, a release date of March 2013 is planned for the streaming solution.
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