VR cameras are here to stay and although the technology is still in development there are lots of interesting products out there. A 360-degree VR video camera (usually) records spherical movie clips that are best viewed on a VR headset. 360 cameras are also used by filmmakers to create previously impossible 2D video effects where the editor can move (pan) inside the sphere in the post. Although there are a bunch of affordable cameras on the market there has not been many that an underwater filmmaker could dive with. The earlier housings were mostly available for professional cameras and multi GoPro array type solutions, but the prices usually were above 10k for these set-ups. Today there are already a few cheaper choices like the Insta360 one X camera with its UW housing and of course the 5m waterproof GoPro Fusion.
Today’s 360 cameras can be also divided by their capability for monoscopic and stereoscopic cameras. The cameras mentioned earlier are all monoscopic whereas the Vuze+ 360 VR camera, under review here, is stereoscopic. Basically, a monoscopic 360 camera has one lens to each direction and stereoscopic VR camera has two. What is the difference then? A standard 360 video is a flat spherical video and if viewed using VR Headsets, it feels like if you are inside a globe map and looking at the inner surface. Stereoscopic videos are a world apart from these. The added depth information is the main difference. Having two lenses side by side gives each eye a different vantage point and you naturally experience the depth effect in the video. With the Vuze camera, you can of course also output a normal monoscopic video.
Vuze+ is made by a company called Human Eyes and can record spherical 4K video and stills and is only compact 360 3D camera currently on the market that also comes with a proper aluminium underwater housing. The camera itself has only two buttons for on/off and recording/mode. Further settings can be done with the free Vuze app you can download for Android and IOS. The tested Android app features basic settings and camera previews. Advanced settings like lens independent manual exposure are also available via the app. The Vuze app also works as a remote controller for the camera in case you don’t want to be next to it when recording.
The Vuze housing is an extremely sturdy aluminium case with 8 small dome ports. With the housing, you can operate both the power and record/function button. The housing is depth rated to 40m and weights 1.6 kg on land and 350 gr in water. The camera + housing package ships with a protective Peli case with pre-cut foam inserts for the housing and accessories. Also included is a 64gb SanDisk Extreme memory card, which is something the company recommends for the camera.
Included also with the camera is a license for Human Eyes VR studio Software. This program is used for the all-important stitching. The latest version of the software is easy to use and on top of the basic settings have a few advanced features that will satisfy even serious users. You can export both 360 stills and video in 3D or 2D. You have even an option to output as intermediate ProRes codec files for further editing. Other handy features include the angle of view customisation, which allows you to cut down the video from the full 360 degrees. For example, you can output 180-degree videos that can now be even played on youtube. (Check out VR180 videos on the youtube). The Human Eyes VR Studio does a decent job with the difficult stitching task. However, if you want a full professional quality stitching results you might still need to fork out for a software like Mistika VR.
The Vuze+ camera is pretty much the cheapest 360 3D video camera on the market and with its housing, it sits in its own class. A fully professional tool it is not and if you want more than 4K 360 quality you still have to spend a stupendous amount of money. The Vuze+ Housing package currently retails in the UK for £3000.00 and is a great choice for underwater videographers who want to dip their toes into this new and growing field.The Vuze+ underwater package is available from Mike’s Dive Cameras HERE.