These filmmakers figured out how to shoot 8K VR180 video for less than $1000
VR180 video has been gaining popularity recently, particularly since Canon entered the game with their dual fisheye lens designed specifically for shooting virtual reality (VR). The Canon system is excellent and relatively easy to use. However, that ease does come at a price. We estimated that you need around a $10,000 investment in the camera, lens and extra equipment to make this work.
So what if you want to shoot VR180 but don’t have the budget to stretch to that? Budget VR180 consumer cameras do exist, although they generally don’t shoot to such high specs. This is why this GoPro rig, designed by Daniel and Diego Vega from VRO Films, is so groundbreaking. And they’ve even been generous enough to share the 3D printed ‘recipe’ for the mount.
Ideally, for a good immersive experience, you need 8K video shot at 60fps. The Canon EOS R5 C is fully capable of this. However, most of the cheaper consumer VR180 cameras don’t manage this.
This is where this dual GoPro trick comes into its own. The rig consists of 2 GoPro Hero 12 cameras, each with a Max Lens 2.0 ($479.99). Each camera shoots 4K video at 60fps. Added together, you’ve got, yes, 8K!
The shooting angle of each lens is 177°, and the Vega brothers have engineered the correct distance between the lenses so that it mimics the correct inter-pupillary distance that is needed for VR.
Below is a video that shows the quality that is possible with this rig:
There are some major advantages to this setup. Firstly, it’s probably the cheapest 8K VR180 rig you can get, coming in at around $1000 plus the 3D printed case. It’s already $1000 cheaper than the Calf VR camera ($2144).
Secondly, it’s very light. These cameras are small, and the whole rig only weighs 380 grams. That’s perfect for hiking to out-of-the-way places, filming underwater, or even mounting on a drone. It’s also apparently easy to use compared with other VR cameras.
But of course, there are also disadvantages. The battery life is poor, and it can take a long time to offload footage to your computer for editing. There’s also some visual distortion at the extreme edge of the image.
Talking of editing, the workflow is apparently not at all straightforward. You need to sync the two cameras using timecode, and then in post-production, you will need to synchronise each ‘eye’ using Mistika Boutique software.
Post-production is where Canon’s workflow is far easier. If you have money to burn and need professional quality, it might be better to invest in that. However, this dual GoPro rig looks fun if you want to try shooting VR180 video on a budget.
You can download the 3D print files here.
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe