A 3D-printed camera mount that can help photographers take fully interactive, 360-degree videos and photos, has been created by a design team from New York.
The 360Heros Plug & Play mount weighs 1.5 lbs (700 g) and is made from ultra high-resolution craft-grade flexible nylon making it weatherproof and strong.
It can hold up to six GoPro cameras, which can be switched on and off by wireless remote control, and is one of the first projects capable of capturing full, spherical 360-degree images in high resolution.
Because the Plug & Play models are printed using 3D printers and craft-grade nylon they come pre-assembled.
The cameras can be slotted in and out of the mount without any screws.
There are six models available and prices start at $395.
Although the GoPro cameras must be bought separately.
The H6 model can be used for all weather conditions and the cameras are protected making it possible to shoot 360-degree video in bad or harsh weather conditions.
The HC Pro6 uses a wireless remote to turn cameras on and off.
The HC Pro6N can be mounted on a helmet or flat surface like the top of a car.
The HC Pro7 and 7HD are just like the Pro 6N but additionally have a camera holder on the underneath, which allows users to create the full spherical view from a wider range of positions.
Most single cameras can only capture 170-degree views horizontally, and the majority of 360-degree cameras can only capture images up to 120-degrees on the vertical.
Because of the angles at which the cameras are mounted into the 360Heros holder, it can capture 180-degree on the vertical making the video and photos fully spherical and panoramic.
The 360Heros project has also developed a range of online tutorial videos.
Michael Kitner from Orlean, New York designed and built the 360Heros mount and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the project.
The campaign is hoping to raise funds to finish the professional video tutorial series on creating video with all the different holders, and help Michael Kitner and his team finish the manufacturing process of the 360 underwater solutions using the Plug & Play domes.
These domes can be attached to the holders making it possible to use the 360-degree cameras safely underwater.
Michael Kitner hopes to raise $750,000 before the campaign ends on June 28.
He said: “Using our new 360 Plug & Play holder it allows you to use GoPro cameras and produce amazing 360 interactive videos.
“Our Plug & Play holders are 3D-printed in an ultra high-resolution craft-grade flexible nylon making it extremely strong.
“Our unique designs give the ability to easily plug and play your GoPro cameras on the fly.
“We don’t worry about each camera being absolutely synced at the point of recording.
“This is because each camera has its own audio and when the video stream is stitched together in the post-processing stage, we can analyse the audio and sync the video at the time of stitching.
“The real advantage of the 3D-printed holder is that you can easily change these cameras, or change the batteries, in a matter of seconds with no screws involved.
“You just plug the cameras in and start shooting.
“This is great for concerts or if you want to get closer to the camera because there’s less parallax between the lens.
“With all these holders, the real advantage is all the different mounting points that let the holders attach to a tripod or similar.
“Every one of them has a series of little tiny fishhook holes so you can actually suspend the mount in air.
“And this really makes people wonder how you shot the 360 video or 360 photo because there’s no way to see how the camera was actually suspended.
“Because you can see a full 360 and 180 all around you, and the camera only weighs a pound and a half [700 g] and it doesn’t require a computer or external storage device, we’ve created a whole new paradigm around 360 media recording.
“This is all possible because we’re using the most versatile camera on the planet today – the GoPro.
“Its many features such as the wireless remote, resolutions as high as 4K, shooting in Pro-Tune or RAW allows us to create 360-degree video, and 1-click 360 panoramic photos with resolutions as high as 6,000×3,000 pixels and in full spherical view.”
Once someone buys a 360Heros mount there are online video tutorials to teach owners how to use the system.
The series shows how to set up the 360 content, how to create tours, manage camera files, use the different holders, stitch and sync a video and how to host the content online.
360Heros has also partnered with various companies to create mobile apps, to create interactive mobile viewing on an iPad or other tablet.
Michael Kitner said: “This tool gives such an immersive experience and it’s amazing just to watch the joy and awe in people’s faces when they see 360 video for the first time on the web or mobile devices.”
Over the past three months, 360Heros has been used in various projects including the filming of a Chris Milk gig, hand gliding over Santa Barbara with GPS tracking and Google Earth images.
The team have going skiing on volcanic slopes in Oregon, flew over landmarks and skate parks, rode the zip line down Fremont Street in Las Vegas and went scuba diving in Belize using underwater 360 video solution.
One of the most recent projects that 360Heros took part in was using the mounts to film a gig.
Musician Beck worked with director Chris Milk to create a groundbreaking new interactive site to let viewers see and hear a gig from his point of view.
The Hello, Again site lets you move your point of view so it feels as if you are standing anywhere in the room – whether it’s among the crowd, next to the band or even up on stage with Beck.
And thanks to a bank of specially designed microphones that were dotted around the venue, you hear the music in 3D surround sound, so it comes at you from the direction of the performers.
The special gig was funded by car maker Lincoln as part of an advertising campaign.
“Musicians have been covering, remaking, and remixing classic songs for as long as we’ve been listening,” it said.
“Yet what Beck is doing with David Bowie’s 1977 classic, Sound And Vision, is something well beyond a cover,” the organizers claim.
Over 160 musicians took part in the recording, including an orchestra, a drum line, a row of electric guitarists, a musical saw, modular synthesizers, a Theremin player, a yodeler, 2 different choirs, a harpist, a range of percussionists from around the world, and the Dap-Kings.
Led by conductor David Campbell [Beck’s father], they backed the singer, who was at the centre of the room on a small circular stage.
Three panoramic cameras were mounted around the venue on 360Heros mounts, along with specially built “heads” to capture sound in 3D.
“From the way we arranged the song down to the live performance, we were focused on the idea of immersing the live and online audiences’ audio senses by having the music come at them from every direction,” said Beck.
“It’s difficult to re-create a live concert, but by using this 360-degree approach, it opens up an entirely new kind of experience that will surprise people.”
Working alongside concert production designer Willo Perron, Director Chris Milk transformed Stage 14 at Fox Studios in Los Angeles into a circular, rotating music hall in which the stage surrounds the audience.
As more than 160 different musicians fill the circular stage, they’ll literally rotate around the crowd, creating an immersive sound experience unlike any other.
There are three locations for 360 video and audio, and on the website you can select them and hear exactly what you’d hear if you were there.
360Heros mount prices:
H3Pro 6 and H3Pro6N costs $645
H3 Pro7 and H3Pro7HD costs $745
360H6 (with screws) $395