Quickly moving toward a fully funded goal of $150,000 on Kickstarter, the Shpericam 2 is a spherical device that captures 4K, Ultra HD video over 360 degrees. Utilizing six internal cameras and six individual image sensors, this device is a followup to the original Shpericam that was released in 2013. The Shpericam 1 used four cameras to capture 720p high definition video with 170-degree fisheye lenses.
Outfitted with eight different tripod mounts as well as four microphones, the Shpericam 2 can capture between 60 to 90 minutes of video content. The framerate can be set at either 30 fps or 60 fps, but real-time stitching of the video in 4K resolution will require the 30 frames per second setting. Interestingly, live streaming is being built into the device when using a micro USB to Ethernet adapter. Perhaps ideal for journalists on location, users will be able to stream a single panoramic video or six different angles of an event at a bitrate up to 100Mbps.
Using a smartphone, a Shpericam 2 user will be able to control the recording functions and view a live stream of the video as well as edit and share the video. Besides the real-time stitching format, the creators of the device are also including two more shooting modes, professional and high quality. Professional quality will record lossless video up to 2.4 gigabits per second at 30 frames per second. The high quality video mode will compress the video in H.264 up to 600 megabits per second. Video is stored on 6 different MicroSD cards and the creators specifically recommend Sandisk Extreme Pro for the best performance.
Other features of the Shpericam 2 include GPS functionality, automatic stabilization of the video, a lithium polymer battery that's charged over USB and a casing that makes the device roughly the size of a tennis ball. It also delivers the video resolution and frame rate that works with the Oculus Rift, ideal for anyone that wants to develop unique video content for virtual reality simulations.
In addition to the Shpericam 2, the creators of the device are creating multiple mounts that include a backpack pole mount, an arm clamp, a monopod for holding the camera up and a table top tripod. The backpack pole mount would be particularly useful to shoot crowd reactions at live events as well as a way to shoot locations hands-free when travelling abroad. There are also eight detachable legs that can be added to the Shpericam 2, ideal for quick table-top shooting.
Targeting a delivery date of December 2015, the creators of the Shpericam 2 delivered the original camera over a similar time window of six months between late 2012 and mid-2013. Of course, the pricing of the Shpericam 2 falls in line with mid-to-high range DSLR camera kits. Early bird backers can get in around $1,400 at the moment. More expensive tiers range from $1,700 to $10,000 and include perks such as all the additional mounts, early access to a preview model in October or camera plating in either titanium or gold. As with all Kickstarter or Indiegogo projects, be aware that manufacturing issues often delay the delivery of the product by weeks or months.