Have you heard of Google Cardboard? How about Oculus Rift?? Virtual reality (VR) or 360° video is becoming increasingly accessible and popular due to these products, but many may wonder how those immersive VR videos are created. Enter the Ricoh Theta. This compact camera is one of the most affordable ways to capture 360° VR videos. It's smaller than a smart phone, and is capable of recording everything around you with the press of a button.
Check out this 360 VR video I made this weekend while on a road/ski trip in Colorado. Since this video is 360° and interactive, you need to watch it on a compatible app or browser. Follow the instructions below to watch it correctly!
- Open the link below in: a) your smartphone's native YouTube app, or b) your browser, either Chrome, Firefox or Opera.
- Direct Link: https://youtu.be/cg9dWir3RLQ
- Once it begins playing, move your phone side to side or up and down, or swipe around in the video. This gives you the full effect!
- If you can't control the video, or it looks really stretched out, then you are viewing it wrong!
I've got a bunch of footage from our road/ski trip this weekend, but I wanted to upload a quick video to see how it turns out. I'll post a full video in the coming week! So, how does it work?
The Ricoh Theta 360° camera uses two opposite facing lenses that work like mini GoPros. The two cameras are super wide angle, wide enough to capture 180° video on both sides which are then stitched together nearly seamlessly. By simply pressing the big round record button, the camera begins capturing a full sphere of video. It can also capture still photos in the same manner. The camera has some additional functionality, as it can connect to your smartphone over wifi.
The most important aspects to mention are probably battery life and storage. There are 4GBs of internal storage in the Ricoh Theta, and there is no option to add extra storage space with a micro-sd. 1 minute of 360 video uses about 121MB, so the camera can hold roughly 33 minutes of video before you have to dump it onto a computer. The battery length is impressive. I never actually ran it down, even in cold weather, which is usually unforgiving on li-ion battery life. I think it will easily fill up the 4GB or 33 minutes of video before dying.
The process of downloading and editing is slightly more difficult than traditional video. More information about this process can be found on Chris Snider's post about how to edit 360 video in Premiere.
In regards to adventure technology, I bet this type of camera will be massively popular in time. The ability for the viewer to see what they want by controlling the video is incredible. Imagine watching footage from the front of a kayak paddling down rapids. The viewer can swivel any direction to watch the action! There are plenty of possibilities, and I'm looking forward to seeing more videos like this!
You can buy a Ricoh Theta online for about $350 on Amazon. For more information about the camera, check out the official Ricoh Theta Website.