We set out with one goal in mind – to create the world’s finest professional VR camera.
The EYE professional-grade VR camera system incorporates up to 42 4K (or 2k) Blackmagic cameras, 24 professional-grade ‘silicone ear’ microphones, flexible control systems, and a novel 3-axis design, to capture the entire world around the camera at near gigapixel resolution.
The system is modular, and individual components can be acquired separately, swapped out, or as a package. Every system we build is hand made, and we incorporate your input to make it the best camera for you.
The optional 3-axis design allows for capturing 3D depth (stereoscopic video) in all 3-axis (pitch, roll & turn) – something no camera has offered before. The camera can also run in traditional single axis, or 2-axis configuration, using less cameras. This makes it the first commercially available VR camera to offer a flexible and expansible system, that can grow as your VR needs require. If you want to stick with the known quantity of a single axis design, it’s there. If you want to experiment with something else, you can do that too.
Using 24 professional grade ‘silicone ear’ microphones, also in a unique 3-axis design, the camera will capture incredibly ‘life-like’ audio, with sufficient information capture and channels to enable the richest VR audio experiences.
Post-production options include traditional left-right stitching, or computational photography (recommended). Google’s forthcoming Jump assembler is an example of such software.
Experienced camera operators will appreciate the build quality, attention to detail, and wide breadth of options the EYE camera offers, including flexible cheese-plate mounting options, swappable components, flexible wiring, global shutter, global sync, global gps timecode, 4-hour self contained battery, and much more…
We’ve used only the very best components in all areas of the camera, to ensure we will offer our customers the very best VR camera in the world.
Professional cinematographers appreciate flexibility, the ability to customize a system, and the use of industry standards. Our approach is to employ discreet components – Horita timecode generator, AJA sync generator, etc – connected via a very hackable wiring loom, and our unique and flexible custom-made J-Box system, which deftly handles and breaks out the connections from the Blackmagic Cameras’ expansion port.
J-Boxes (Junction Boxes)
4-12 J-Boxes per rig (each J-Box controls 3-4 cameras)
These distribute sync, timecode, power, audio, control and other signals to (and from) the Blackmagic cameras, and reduce cabling requirements substantially, while maintaining flexibility.
AJA GEN10 Sync Generator (stock)
This central standalone sync generator generates the tri-level sync signal, necessary for camera synchronization, which is distributed via component distribution amplifiers to the J-Boxes, and from there to every camera. This ensures that every camera is sync locked, critical for VR capture.
This clever device uses a GPS antenna to capture the current time highly accurately, and generates a time-plus-frame-number timecode signal, distributed to the J-Boxes, and from there to every camera. It is recorded to one of the two audio channels on each camera, and ensures that in post-production, you will have universal frame level timecode on every video file.
Various options available – LANC/S-BUS – wired/wireless/long range
Our J-Box breaks out the connections for both S-Bus and LANC from the Blackmagic cameras, and from here there are many options. Our production system (BMMCC), uses a single button wireless remote, with simple power on/off, start/stop recording, for all cameras simultaneously, with an LED positive feedback system that positively confirms that all cameras are running. More complex systems are possible, such as offering long range (10 mile+) control over many aspects of the camera – focus, zoom, iris, white balance – individually per camera head or collectively. We will build such custom systems upon your request.
Various options – SD/HD – wired/wireless/long range
If using the Blackmagic Micro Studio Cameras 4k, these cameras have 6G-SDI outputs (and no internal recording) which typically are hardwired (via snake) to a bank of solid state recorder/monitors such as Odyssey 7Q/7Q+ or Atomos Shogun. If using the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera (for self-contained use), the options at the camera are a standard definition composite output or HDMI. It is simple to take a single camera’s HDMI output and use a Teradek Cube or similar to transmit wirelessly with low latency to an iPad or laptop over short range – and we provide this option. It is simple to take the SD composite output of a single camera and transmit it over fairly long range (a few miles). It is significantly more complex to offer remote wireless monitoring of any / all cameras, simultaneously or individually, but we can build such systems and are experimenting with this now. Talk to us for our latest work in this area.
Number of Camera Heads
8-42 Cameras depending on configuration
Recommended Camera Head
Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Ultra Wide-Angle Fisheye *
Other Micro-Four-Thirds lenses as per requirements
* Used in product shots
VR Video Configurations
42 Camera 3-Axis Stereoscopic 360 Video
30 Camera 2-Axis Stereoscopic 360 Video
16 Camera 1-Axis Stereo/Mono 360 Video – conventional configuration
8 Camera 1-Axis Monoscopic 360 Video
* Other configurations are possible, the camera rig is designed to be flexible. You can add zenith and nadir cameras to a 16 camera array for example.
VR Video Resolution
3 x 17,280 x 1920 w/ BMMCC
3 x 34,560 x 3840 w/ BMMSC4K
* Maximum possible, w/o overlap, using appropriate lenses
VR Bitrate & Non-Stop Recording Time
BMMCC – CinemaDNG RAW (uncompressed) – 2.7 GB/s – 133 mins
BMMCC – Apple ProRes 422 HQ – 1.1 GB/s – 310 mins
BMMSC4k CinemaDNG RAW (uncompressed) – 10 GB/s – unlimited**
BMMSC4k Apple ProRes 422 HQ – 3.1 GB/s BMMSC4K unlimited**
* All rates based on 30 frames per second
** Uses external recorders
Camera Head Sensor Size
12.48mm x 7.02mm (Super 16) for MFT lenses
1920 x 1080 (high-definition) w/ BMMCC
3840 x 2160 (ultra-high-definition) w/BMMSC4K
Frame Rates (Global Shutter)
1080p – 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30 w/ BMMCC
Frame Rates (Rolling Shutter)
1080p – 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 w/ BMMCC
1080p – 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.97, 60 w/ BMMSC4K
2160p – 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30 w/ BMMSC4K
Manual, remote-manual (wireless or wired)
Manual, remote-manual (wireless or wired), or auto-iris options
In the standard BMMCC configuration, all cameras can be turned on and begun recording with a wireless start/stop button. Remote visual confirmation that all cameras are positively running is provided.
Number of Microphones
8-24 ‘Silicone Ear’ microphones depending on configuration (can also be configured without audio).
VR Audio Configurations
24 Microphone 3-Axis 360 Audio
16 Microphone 2-Axis 360 Audio
8 Microphone 1-Axis 360 Audio
* The microphone array is mounted inside the camera, surrounding the central LiPo battery pack. It features 4, 8, or 12 pairs of silicone ears, arranged to match the pitch, roll, tilt axes of a person’s head.
VR Audio Capture
Audio is recorded internally when using the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Cameras (to camera) or externally in the case of the Micro Studio Camera 4k. It’s possible to configure other options such as internal multi-channel audio recorders, subject to available space inside the rig.
Recommended Microphone Capsule
We support GPS frame level timecode throughout the system by recording timecode to one audio channel on each camera, although this can be configured otherwise. We include a timecode generator with GPS antenna inside the camera rig. There are two audio channels per camera, offering up to 84 channels of audio capture, when using 42 cameras. We recommend using one channel per camera for capturing timecode, and 24 of the remaining 42 channels to capture audio. This is our standard configuration, although other configurations are possible, and can be changed later.
We are developing software for controlling and monitoring the camera functions of the Blackmagic cameras remotely. This will go beyond simple on/off, start/stop, and will allow much finer control and monitoring in a production environment. More details of this will be available prior to the camera’s commercial release.
The EYE Professional VR Camera is designed first and foremost for computational photography based stitching. Computational photography is a new approach to stitching that solves many of the issues with traditional stitching. For example it allows interpolation of left and right eye views ‘at any point’, and significantly reduces issues with parallax.
Software for computational photography stitching is being developed by Google and other companies, and we are working with partners to provide compatibility with EYE.
Lovingly hand made, hand welded and hand painted in the USA. Stainless steel frame, your free choice of color and finish.
Kessler Crane quick-release utility plate bolted to base of camera (other options are possible)
Anodised Aluminium cheese plates for all camera mounts
Stainless steel hardware (nuts and bolts)
24″ Diameter main rig*
28″ From top to bottom (incl. 4″ mount extension)
* Production version may be smaller.
Note top and bottom halves separate for air travel and service / access. Rig has been flown on major carriers as regular checked baggage (in its two supplied custom flight cases).
40-100lbs fully loaded (depends on configuration)
* We reserve the right to change specifications between our prototype and production version and some are likely to change. There may be errors or omissions in these specs. Photos are renders and the production version may look different from that shown.