Do you remember that awesome timelapse from a couple of years ago of 30 days at sea compressed down into 10 minutes by Jeff Tsang? Well, he’s going to give it another go. Only this time, he’s building a massive 24K resolution 360° waterproof camera rig in order to shoot it.
In this video, he breaks down all the gear he’s using to build the giant 360° camera rig, along with how and why it’s all been chosen. It’s a pretty mammoth project, especially considering he says it probably won’t earn back the purchase price, but boy is it impressive!
The rig is based around four Nikon D750 DSLRs with Samyang 12mm f/2.8 fisheye lenses to give each camera an ultrawide field of view that provides enough overlap for seamlessly stitching each set of photographs together into a 360° field of view frame at 24K resolution.
With the cameras and lenses chosen, it’s time to mount them all together using a custom camera mount to hold each of the four cameras in place. Each camera has its own mounting plate which slots into a central column. This allows for easy quick removal and replacement of a camera if required without disturbing the other cameras.
Powering four cameras for such a long time isn’t easy, so Jeff chose to go with four Tether Tools Case Relays and a whole mess of USB power banks. The Case Relay has an internal battery which is powers your camera and is charged up from a USB power bank. This way, you can swap out the power banks as they die with fresh ones without losing power. For storage, eight 256GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SD cards allow hot-swapping of the cards as each one gets full, as the camera will just write to the other one.
With power, storage and placement sorted, the next trick is to get all four cameras synced up to each other so that they’re all using the same settings and all firing at the exact same time. This is achieved with a trigger relay. An intervalometer goes into the relay’s input and the outputs go to the cameras. An Android smartphone running qDslrDashboard communicates with all four cameras via a USB hub to sync up their settings.
To make it all waterproof, all of the accessories are boxed up in a fairly heavily modified Pelican case, and the cameras & lenses are mostly wrapped in gaffer tape, and then covered in a black plastic sheet with holes cut out for the lenses to poke through.
It’s an amazing rig, full of ingenious solutions to real problems Jeff faced when tackling such a beast of a camera setup. I cannot wait to see the kind of footage this thing produces, and how Jeff chooses to reframe the shots in post. Such high resolution 360° footage opens up all kinds of options.
Be sure to follow Jeff’s channel while you’re there.