Learn fundamental tips from Aaron Rhodes (Executive Producer, Wundervu) about shooting, sharing, and reviewing footage from the Z CAM K1 Pro with SPIN Studio.
Shooting with the Z CAM K1 Pro
As Executive Producer of Wundervu, Pixvana’s production studio, I frequently test the latest and greatest VR cameras.
We tried out the Z CAM™ K1 Pro 180º at Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con a few weeks ago for SYFY Wire. Working with the Z CAM™ K1 Pro 180º camera is a liberating experience after shooting with other complex 360 rigs. The resolution of this camera is awesome and refreshing in the headset, plus the stereo is impressive. The Z CAM™ K1 Pro is a solid camera, and there are a few things I’ve learned about this little camera I like to call WALL-E.
Wundervu recently took it for a ride at Emerald City Comic Con for a project for SyFy Wire. Proximity is a fun equation to play with the K1… too close and your audience will feel uncomfortable… too far, the depth of stereo isn’t as impactful. Getting the right distance is something you need to play with (I’ve found that a distance of about 3.5 feet away is ideal for interviews, but remember that experimentation is always key before locking in the camera placement). Alignment of convergence is definitely best in the center sweet spot – off to the sides, alignment can be hard to resolve stereoscopically if things are closer than 3 feet, so keep your frame clean and clear on the edges.
For previewing, we’ve found the mobile app is most reliable on a Galaxy S8, but the best way of controlling and reviewing is hardwiring into a laptop via ethernet and notebook computer. Since it’s a 180º not 360º – you can now hide right behind the camera!
Height is another adjustment you need to be careful with. When framing for an interview for the headset, eye level is a good default, but when you post a 180º piece on YouTube, when viewing on a phone or desktop you don’t have the ability to pan around like a 360º video, the video is a locked center extraction. This means you’ll have a lot of head room and it will crop high on the bottom. Here, you need to be in touch with your audience and how you want them to consume your video – splitting the difference of framing is probably the right answer, but again experiment and test it out for yourself.
Sharing and Reviewing Z CAM Footage with SPIN Studio
Once you’ve shot, it’s important to review with your colleagues and clients. As a VR producer, I know how tedious it is to quickly share VR video with clients. I always want to make it as easy as possible, and getting content into a headset has been challenging even for me to get it into a headset! YouTube is good, but playback of high-resolution content can look less than stellar and can stutter without a fantastic internet connection, not to mention the experience of sending a YT link can feel unprofessional.
We used SPIN Studio VR casting to share the Z CAM footage with Matt Romano and his team at SYFY Wire. It’s by far the easiest way to get your content into a headset and preserve the awesome 6K resolution of the Z CAM™ K1 Pro. We uploaded the video to our SPIN Studio account, gave Matt a link to download the free SPIN Play app, then paired Matt’s Pixel 2 Daydreams. With the simple device pairing, I was able to securely share content in full resolution with fluid playback. It was like magic, seriously.
“VR casting with SPIN Studio provided an easy way to accurately review the content that Wundervu created for SYFY Wire across platforms.”
Aaron Rhodes (Executive Producer, Wundervu) is also a filmmaker and visual effects artist whose nimble problem solving abilities span the creative and cognitive.
Being in the film industry for close to 25 years, Aaron has touched upwards of 50 blockbuster and indie films in his tenure – such as Ironman, The Avengers, Die Hard IV, Sin City, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and many others.