23 Apr 2017

Panasonic’s 360 degree video camera is a thing of wonder

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4K is what is needed to improve the feeling of immersion in 360-degree video 4K is what is needed to improve the feeling of immersion in 360-degree video Panasonic

Panasonic has a very strong lineup of cameras - all the way from the refined Varicam to the talented and popular GH5. But this hasn’t made them complacent. In fact, the Japanese camera company has been busy creating a very different sort of camera: a 360 degree 4K device that stitches the uncompressed output from four 4K cameras in real time.

Currently a prototype, the all-seeing camera will be available to buy in August this year.

The device consists of a camera head and a base unit. It uses four cameras to create the 360-degree video in a 2:1 aspect ratio. What’s remarkable is that the stitching is done on board, in real-time, with very low latency. This means that it can be put to use without the need for complex external processing. It’s designed for live broadcast of sport, concerts and other stadium events.

It sounds like it’s simple to operate, with automatic exposure and white balance. It uses “real-time, active stitching that is able to modify the stitching position to adapt to the requirements of different types of scenes.

The 4K (3840 x 1920) image, says Panasonic, provides an immersive experience for the viewer.

We think it’s encouraging to see major manufacturers branching away from “conventional” video. With 360 degree and video-based virtual reality, it’s a somewhat chicken and egg situation at the moment. Viewers are waiting for more material - and the means to watch it - but manufacturers are holding back until there are more consumers for the new formats.

So kudos to Panasonic for their efforts to break this particular logjam.

David Shapton

David is the Editor In Chief of RedShark Publications. He's been a professional columnist and author since 1998, when he started writing for the European Music Technology magazine Sound on Sound. David has worked with professional digital audio and video for the last 25 years.

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