For several months now we’ve been working with the VR team at AMD to design and build an advanced cinematic VR camera – code-named BB360cc.
Recently this camera captured its first footage, on a VR film entitled “On the Sets of Baahubali”, a behind the scenes look at India’s biggest movie franchise, which returns to cinemas in April 2017 as Baahubali – The Conclusion.
For fans of the movie, which is an epic adventure story on a grand scale, the opportunity to see behind the scenes of their favourite movie was immense. Already more than 1.5 million people have watched the VR experience on YouTube, and for many in India it was their first experience of VR. To help fans get started in VR, the Director of the movie S. S. Rajamouli produced a popular YouTube clip showing how to enjoy the behind the scenes experience. In the final scene in the video, more than 3,000 extras participate, a likely record for a VR film.
The 32 camera, 3D, Blackmagic Micro based rig, was built over two months this summer using rapid prototyping techniques. Featuring 32 genlocked, cinema-grade Blackmagic sensors, the system captures 64 megapixels at 60 fps, with 13 stops of dynamic range, and RAW internal recording, with full manual lens control, and a remote control system for operating all cameras simultaneously. Traditional stitched output resolution is 8k + 8k stereo, and the camera captures fully spherical video, with excellent options for optical flow stitching, and advanced computational stitching.
With the remote control system, a scaled-up version of our patent pending Belafonte Blackmagic Remote Control, the 32 camera system records perfectly synched footage to internal SD cards, with each recorded file having the same number of frames.
Having pre-synched ProRes files made the workflow very manageable and arguably no more complex than a 10 camera GoPro rig.
“We were excited to work with AMD on this project” said Alx Klive, 360 Designs, “AMD understood our original EYE camera vision, and we look forward to seeing how far we can take this incredible technology”.
The nearly 5 minute “On the Sets of Baahubali” gives a glimpse of the capabilities of this prototype camera, and was post-produced in Nuke, with live 360 monitoring using Project Loom – AMD’s live stitching software, which is optimized to run lightning fast on AMD GPU’s.
“When we saw what 360 Designs was doing with their EYE camera, we knew they were an ideal partner to develop the camera we had in mind – one that would match the capabilities of our incredible new GPU’s” said Mikael Bourges-Sevenier, AMD. “This is just the beginning… we plan to show more capabilities over the coming months. “
Transporting the camera from Silicon Valley to Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad was made easier with the system’s modular nature. The entire camera was designed to fit in three Pelican cases, with any component part replaceable. Indeed when the production team on set in India decided they wanted to add 8 more cameras to the original 24 camera design, we simply 3D printed 8 new replacement ‘arms’, to take it to 32 cameras. These were swapped into the rig in less than a day.
two more VR films based on the Baahubali franchise
“We are very excited with BB360cc and the modular nature of the rig designed by 360 Designs, and we plan to use the camera for at least two more VR films based on the Baahubali franchise, said Shobu Yarlagadda, Producer of Baahubali.
Baahubali – The Conclusion opens in April 2017, and is tipped to surpass all previous box office records for an Indian film. At least two new VR segments are planned, the behind-the-scenes piece mentioned above, and a new groundbreaking VR experience “The Sword of Baahubali” which combines live action and a CGI environment in the Amazon Lumberyard game engine, due for release next year.
For more on our custom 360 and VR cameras, please visit our custom VR camera gallery.