Saturday, December 10, 2016

Oculus Rift and Touch may work better in USB 2.0 for some PCs

Oculus has been adamant that the Oculus Rift requires three USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port.  However, it appears not only that the Rift and Touch can work with just USB 2.0, but that it may even perform better for some PCs!  (In my case, it solved missing sound from the headphones and random disconnections.)

Friday, December 9, 2016

TECHNIQUE: The Secret to Getting Thousands of Views on Your 360 Photos

"Hi my name is Mic and I've gotten 1.1 million views from just fourteen 360 photos.

Sounds like a late night infomercial, right?  But it's true.  And yes, as cheesy as it sounds, you too can get thousands of views on your 360 photos.  Here's the secret (yes, it's for free and it's easy).

Nikon issues firmware and app update for the Keymission 360

As promised by Nikon, they have issued an update to the firmware and app to address connectivity issues with the Keymission 360 (reviewed here)

To update the app, go to your smartphone app store.

I will update this post after testing the new firmware and app.

New York Times presents Great Performers

New York Times presented Great Performers, its annual recognition of the year's best acting.  This year's theme is "L.A. noir."  As with the 2015 presentation, this year's presentation includes short 360 videos from A-list actors. 

Tethered shooting with the Ricoh Theta S or Theta SC

You can now use your Ricoh Theta S or Theta SC to shoot tethered with photos and videos downloaded to your desktop using Theta S Control, a free app for Windows.

Become a surgeon in VR with this free app for the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive

B. Braun Future Operating Room is a newly-released free VR experience where you become a surgeon in a future operating room, using nanobots and other tools to treat your patient.  The app is a free download on Steam and is available for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift (Oculus Touch required).

Buying a used Oculus Rift or HTC Vive? Here's how to check the IR lights

If you're buying a used Oculus Rift or HTC Vive (or even a new one), one of the things you ought to check for is that all the infrared lights work.  Here's how.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ricoh Theta adds 3D snow and snowflakes effects

In celebration of winter, you can now add a 3D snow or 3D snowflake effect to your Ricoh Theta's 360 photos!  To add the effect, upload your shot to then add the hashtag #snow3d for snow or #snowcrystal3d for snowflakes.

Survey shows how Americans feel about 360 cameras

Nikon commissioned Wakefield Research to conduct a survey among 1,000 adults in the U.S. to inquire about their thoughts on using 360 cameras.  Here are the results of the Nikon Life in 360 survey.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

On this 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, TIME and Life VR are releasing a VR experience that allows you to relive Pearl Harbor from the eyes of Lt. James Downing, the second-oldest living American survivor of Pearl Harbor at 103 years old.

Vuze 3D 360 sample video in low light

Vuze is the first affordable 3D 360 camera for consumers.  It is the 360 camera I'm most eagerly anticipating.  Here's a sample 3D 360 video that shows the Vuze's performance in low light.

Khronos aims to unify VR standards

The Khronos Group is a consortium that creates royalty-free open standards for graphics and other application.  Among the standards it has created are Vulkan, OpenGL, OpenCL, and WebGL.

Khronos announced that they are developing a standard to allow VR apps and game engines to work across different VR hardware such as headsets and motion controllers.  Ideally, this could mean that software developers can develop a single app that could be used in several VR headsets, thus increasing the audience for each game and making VR development more commercially viable. 

Among the companies that are working toward this standard are Google, Oculus, Valve, AMD and NVidia.   Microsoft is not [yet?] part of this effort, and it is also not a member of the newly-formed GVRA.

Here is the official announcement.

TECHNIQUE: Buying a used camera? You absolutely need to use this to check a lens.

If you're buying a used 360 camera (or even a new one), you need to check the lens carefully.  Here's something you absolutely must do to check the lens for scratches.

VR industry titans form a new VR association but someone was left out

Hardware titans of the VR industry came together to form the Global Virtual Reality Association, but a major player was left out.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

TECHNIQUE: Free classes on 360 filmmaking and livestreaming by Nokia and UploadVR

Learn about 360 filmmaking and livestreaming from these experts in these free masterclasses, sponsored by Nokia and Upload VR:

- 360 Filmmaking Best Practices with Alex Henning (Dec. 13, 7pm PST).
- How to Live Stream a Concern in VR with Juan Santillan (Dec. 15, 7pm PST).

The classes will be broadcast on YouTube in 360 format.  Here is the link to register.

DEALS: Here are two excellent deals on the Oculus Rift

If you missed the Black Friday sale on the Oculus Rift (reviewed here), don't worry!  Here are two great deals on the Oculus Rift:

4k 3D 360 sample video from Z Cam's new 3D camera

Z Cam, makers of the remarkable Z Cam S1 and the upcoming Z Cam S1 Pro, are working on a 3D 360 camera.  Here's a sample video in 4k:

Sumo360 is a 360 camera rig for four full-frame cameras

For the highest 360 video quality, professionals still use rigs, and for component cameras, full frame cameras offer unparalleled quality.  The Sumo360 is a 3D-printed rig designed to be used with four full frame Sony A7S II mirrorless cameras renowned for their low-light capabilities.

Cyclops 360 is a hemispherical action camera designed for motorsports

Cyclops 360 is a hemispherical 4k 360 camera designed for motorsports.

Low light sample videos from Detu F4, a 6k 360 camera

The Detu F4 is a 360 camera with up to 6k resolution (or 4k @ 60fps).  Check out a low light sample 360 video from tech vlogger Steve Shew:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

You can now connect the Ricoh Theta to a Sony Playstation VR

You can now connect the Ricoh Theta S or Theta SC to a Playstation 4 to see your Theta photos and videos in VR with a Sony Playstation VR (reviewed here).

KeepEyeOnBall is virtual tour authoring app for mobile devices

KeepEyeOnBall is a suite of mobile apps for virtual tours, including a virtual tour authoring app.

Nikon promises to fix Keymission 360 connectivity issues

Nikon acknowledged that "some customers" are having problems pairing the Keymission 360 (reviewed here) with their smartphone.  They have promised to address connectivity issues in December through a firmware update and an update to the Snapbridge 360/170 app.

VRFix for Android and iOS fixes the 360 metadata in 360 videos

To be displayed properly, 360 videos (and photos) need to have 360 photosphere metadata.  When editing 360 videos, especially in a non-360 app, the 360 metadata can be omitted or corrupted, making the edited 360 video not recognizable as such in a 360 player or app.

VRFix is an app that enables you to fix the 360 metadata on your mobile device.  This facilitates sharing your 360 video without having to use a desktop app.  It has been available for Android and is now available for iOS as well.

Best Buy drops the ball on Oculus Touch preorders

Today (Dec. 6) is the launch day for the Oculus Touch, the highly anticipated motion controllers for the Oculus Rift.  However, it appears that most preorders from Best Buy in the US and Canada won't be delivered today.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Is Oculus silently allowing HTC Vive to use the Rift's software?

Officially, Oculus software is supposed to be exclusive to the Rift, and at one point, Oculus even attempted to use a hardware check to prevent HTC Vive users from using Oculus software.  But now it appears that Oculus is planning for HTC Vive users to use its software.

MySight360 wearable hands-free 360 camera for lifelogging is now live on Kickstarter

MySight360 (previewed here), a 360 camera designed for hands-free livelogging with 4k and image stabilization, is now live on Kickstarter.  The Early Bird price is $169.99 (versus $299.99 MSRP), with shipment of the first batch promised for April 2017.

DEALS: Oculus Touch Launch Bundle and Ripcoil for free

If you are getting the Oculus Touch, there's a Touch Launch Bundle with 5 high quality games.  You can also get Ripcoil for free with any purchase.

The Unspoken and VR Sports Challenge now available for download

If you preordered the Oculus Touch for the Oculus Rift, you will receive two games for free: The Unspoken and VR Sports Challenge.  They are both now available for download from the Oculus Store, a day ahead of the Oculus Touch's launch tomorrow.  The Unspoken is about 6 GB, while VR Sports Challenge is about 11 GB (it will download in separate components).

Aleta S2 is a 360 camera with 118-megapixel photos and 4k live streaming

Aleta S2 is a 360 camera that can take photos at 118 megapixels, which is currently the highest resolution for an all-in-one 360 camera.

iZugar Z4XL is a fully spherical 360 camera with four Micro Four Thirds sensors

The iZugar Z4XL is a fully spherical 360 camera that has four Micro Four Thirds sensors for exceptional image quality.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Insta360 Nano app update solves purple fringing and adds other improvements

Insta360 issued an app update for the Nano that dramatically reduced purple fringing in both photos and videos.  It works even with all photos and videos you've already taken!  The app update also adds other features that facilitate sharing.

Oculus Touch preorders from Best Buy: get download codes if you haven't received them

If you preordered the Oculus Touch from Best Buy and you haven't received the download codes for The Unspoken and VR Sports Challenge, you probably need to call Best Buy, and soon.