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Virtual Reality Posts

I’ve stepped over to the Sennheiser booth to speak with Brian Glasscock about their solution for virtual reality audio, the AMBEO VR. The AMBEO VR microphone was designed for use with 360-degree video content. The AMBEO actually works, functionally, very similarly to the way multi-lens spherical video cameras operate, except instead of multiple lenses facing various directions, you’re given four matched KE14 cardioid microphone capsules.

Using ambisonic playback technology, the viewer’s head movements will be tracked to change the perspective of the audio source. Much like how the camera’s placement in VR determines the viewer’s perspective, ambisonic microphones, like the AMBEO VR, define the perspective of the listener. What that means is the camera and microphone should be mounted in as close of proximity to one another as possible. To simplify post-production and prevent guess work, the AMBEO VR features a witness indicator as to which way should be facing forward during recording.

The AMBEO VR outputs the four microphones signals through a DIN-12 pin connector to four individual balanced XLR terminals, which can then be recorded using any four-channel audio recorder. Brian recommends using recorders with digitally controllable gain settings to ensure each mic is properly placed in post.

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It can be tough to pinpoint exactly where virtual reality fits within the current landscape of content creation. Is it the next big thing? Is it a flash-in-the-pan? Or is it, perhaps, somewhere in between?

Only time will tell for certain, but with all the positioning and experimentation of 2016 in the rear view mirror, 2017 is shaping up to be the year that VR content production really hits its stride.

At AbelCine, we sit in a unique position alongside the creatives, digital agencies, and brands producing VR content; we’re plugged into the companies that are not only creating the technology, but those improving the overall VR experience as well. From our vantage point, we’re beginning to see a rapid surge in brand-driven, narrative, and doc-style, non-scripted VR pieces. This VR content isn’t just aimed at the Head Mounted Display (HMD) consumer; it’s also being created for dome installation experiences, mobile devices, and even television. As technology improvements in both the acquisition and display devices keep pace with this rising demand, we anticipate that more ground-breaking creators will emerge to push the genre forward.

…continue reading VR Ready and Looking Towards the Future

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This year is shaping up to be a definitive one for virtual reality cameras. There have been some major strides recently, with plenty of new options opening up for the VR world, such as live VR streaming, underwater capability, and 6K to 8K resolutions.

Check out our new chart, above, for an overview of the key technical specs for each model. These specifications also translate into differences in production workflow, all of which need to be taken into consideration when choosing the right VR camera for your project.

Click the image above to view a larger version of the chart, or download our Virtual Reality Camera Lineup chart.

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As the year officially draws to a close, it’s time for our annual round-up of the most popular CineTechnica blog posts over the last 12 months. It’s been a busy 2016, and as usual a wide range of topics was represented – including new product announcements, comparison charts, workflow how-tos, custom scene files, and more.

Our Top 15 blogs are listed below in no particular order. Make sure to check them out, and let us know in the comments what you’d like to see us cover in 2017!

…continue reading Top Blogs of 2016

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Fall Tech Expo

On Saturday, October 8, AbelCine held its first Fall Tech Expo. Taking place in our Chicago location on the Cinespace Studios lot, the expo featured a number of manufacturers displaying new gear for attendees to get their hands on. In addition, throughout the day, multiple raffles were held, along with presentations from manufacturer experts and our technical specialists on the showroom stage. Thank you again to all the manufacturers that participated as well to everyone who attended – we had a record turnout!

…continue reading Chicago Fall Tech Expo Recap

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For this Tech Talk, Stuart English of Nokia stopped by to talk a little bit more about OZO and what the company has coming up. In addition to software updates, post workflow options, a new player, and distribution methods, Stuart discusses the philosophy behind the camera and VR’s potential as a communication and storytelling tool.

Also, be sure to check out my detailed first look at the OZO, which we posted earlier this month, to learn more about this exciting VR camera and its workflow.

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The Nokia OZO is the first real professional, all-in-one VR / 360º video camera. We’ve been working with 360º video for a while at AbelCine, using everything from GoPro rigs to custom configurations with Sony and RED cameras. All of these are great solutions, and each has their advantages. OZO, however, goes beyond the camera rig and is designed to make the whole process of 360º video production smooth. The camera itself features eight 2K x 2K cameras and captures full 360 audio. It outputs all cameras over a single cable, which allows for live previewing via a custom Nokia OZO application.

You can record a raw stream of all the cameras internally to a media drive or externally to a Blackmagic HyperDeck Studio on SSDs. All the cameras are 100% synced, and the recording is a single file. This live preview and simple, single-file recording make OZO a truly unique tool that allows for easy, professional-quality 360º video recording. We’re excited to announce that OZO is now available for rental and sale at AbelCine, so watch my video above to learn more about how this system works.

Want to see the Nokia OZO up close? Make sure to check out our free demo days coming up in Chicago and New York! Make sure to check out our upcoming VR & 360º Video Production workshops too!

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