360 Degree Video Equipment
If you are thinking about creating your own 360 Degree Videos, first you have to decide what you want to record. Do you want to create a high image quality picture? Do you want to put your viewer right in the middle of the action? Or do you want to simply begin to play with the opportunities which 360 Degree Images make available wherever you go?
Once you have figured out what you want to film, then you need to get the right equipment. There is a lot out on the market today, so you are going to want to base your decision on what you need to buy off of what you are going to film, how you are going to film it, and how much money you have to spend on purchasing your equipment.
As of January 2018, there are three basic groups of 360 Cameras: Hi-End Professional 360 Cameras, Mid-Level Consumer 360 Cameras, and Low-End Cellphone 360 Cameras. Based upon the picture quality, the filming location and environment, and the money you have to spend upon it will impact your decision on which one you are going to want to purchase. Below is a description of the three different groups and a breakdown of some of the products out on the market to help you make your decision.
High-End Professional Cameras - These cameras have an extremely high price tag, putting them out of reach for most individuals, however they also provide a much higher level of quality. The higher quality is usually achieved by using a larger number of lenses pointed in various directions, however this also increases the size and decreases their ability to become waterproof or shockproof. If the intention is for a high-quality picture in a safe, non-dynamic location when travel and price is not an issue, these are the cameras of choice. Based upon my study as of January 2018, if an individual is looking for a high-quality camera which provides professional quality and is willing to pay a significant amount of money, I recommend the Obsidian Go. It is smaller and less expensive than most of the other options in this category, while still providing the same high-quality results as its competitors.
Mid-Level Consumer Cameras - Although the price level for the Mid-Level Consumer Cameras is still a considerable amount of money, they are significantly less expensive than the High-End Professional Cameras. This causes individuals in the 360 Degree Video Community to label them as “Consumer Cameras” due to the intention behind their development to be to create an accessible camera, which hobbyists and general consumers could have access to the medium while also retaining a high level of quality. Although they are truly in their own bracket of cameras, they are often designed to have similar capabilities as an Action Camera. They often have attachments which allow them to be used with the same equipment as other Action Cameras, such as GoPro, and often have splash proof, or shockproof ratings. Mid-Level Consumer Cameras are generally the best option if having something that is travel friendly, potentially getting right into the action and excitement of an activity, while still capturing high quality results. Out of the Mid-Level Consumer Cameras, there is one which clearly stands out at this point in time, the Garmin Virb 360. This camera does have the highest price in this classification, however it also has a significantly higher level of quality (approaching that of a professional level camera), is shockproof, and is the only fully waterproof (up to 30 ft) camera on the market.
Low-End Cellphone Based Cameras - A relatively new addition to the market are the Cellphone Based 360 Cameras. These cameras also utilize two lenses to capture 360 Degree and utilize a cellphone to process the images. These are significantly cheaper than the other two classifications however the quality is also lower. These cameras are intended primarily to make 360 Degree Images a common medium by making it accessible and easy for individuals to use on a wide scale. If an individual is interested in learning about this medium and does not want to make a major investment or is more concerned with ease of use in everyday life rather than high quality image, Low-End Cellphone Based Cameras are the type of camera which should be chosen.