Pimax’s massive 8K VR headset shows why comfort takes precedence over pixel count, by Nick Statt

Photo: Pimax

Pimax, a Chinese startup developing an 8K virtual reality headset, came to CES this year to show off its latest prototype, the fifth in just a year since the first version was unveiled at last year’s show. After a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, one in which Pimax raised more than $4.2 million and beat out even Oculus VR’s initial crowdfunding campaign, it’s working toward mass production of the consumer version that is slated to come out later this year after an initial shipment to backers.

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HTC announces Vive Pro with upgraded resolution, audio and second camera, by Ben Kuchera

HTC announced the latest upgrades to the Vive virtual reality platform, including a new headset design with superior resolution and pixel density. The hardware is called the Vive Pro, although no firm price or release date has been announced.

“Vive Pro includes dual-OLED displays for a crisp picture resolution of 2880 by 1600 combined, a 78 percent increase in resolution over the current Vive HMD,” HTC said. The new head-mounted display also has improved ergonomics, built-in audio support and two front-facing cameras that open the door for augmented reality applications.

You can get a look at the new hardware in the video below:

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Apple embraces VR video with 360-degree and 8K support for Final Cut Pro X, by Jon Martindale

Apple has firmly embraced 360-degree video with its latest update for Final Cut Pro X that lets users edit video especially for virtual reality. The update also introduces a number of additional features for modern video editing, including support for High Dynamic Range (HDR), 8K resolutions, and advanced color grading.

As much as we love fully immersive virtual reality games and experiences, it’s likely that 360-degree video will be the first point of contact many people have with VR. As a standard, VR video may also be the future of immersive media, in much the way that color imagery supplanted black and white. Apple is keeping itself at the forefront of modern content creation with its latest update for its premier video editing suite.

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Lytro Reveals Immerge 2.0 Light-field Camera with Improved Quality, Faster Captures, by Ben Lang

Lytro’s Immerge light-field camera is meant for professional high-end VR productions. It may be a beast of a rig, but it’s capable of capturing some of the best looking volumetric video that I’ve had my eyes on yet. The company has revealed a major update to the camera, the Immerge 2.0, which, through a few smart tweaks, makes for much more efficient production and higher quality output.

Light-field specialist Lytro, which picked up a $60 million Series D investment earlier this year, is making impressive strides in its light-field capture and playback technology. The company is approaching light-field from both live-action and synthetic ends; last month Lytro announced Volume Tracer, a software which generates light-fields from pre-rendered CG content, enabling ultra-high fidelity VR imagery that retains immersive 6DOF viewing.

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Pimax “8K” Surpasses Oculus Rift as Top VR Headset Kickstarter Project, $2.45M Raised So Far, by Scott Hayden

Pimax, the company aiming to deliver three flavors of its high field of view (FOV) headset via their Kickstarter, have recently blasted past the $2 million funding mark. With only a week left in the crowdfunding campaign and now more than $2.45 million to their name, the company has reached arguably a more important milestone: they’ve surpassed the original Oculus Rift Kickstarter, becoming the top funded VR headset campaign in existence.

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Virtual Reality Museum Puts Rembrandt in High-Def, by Molly Schuetz

Kremer Collection’s VR gallerySource: Kremer Collection

The Kremer Collection has spent the past two decades loaning out its collection of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art to museums and galleries around the world. As of Thursday, the collection will have a new permanent home in a virtual museum.

VR has improved dramatically in recent years as Microsoft, Facebook, Samsung and others invest heavily in technology that many believe will eventually supplant PCs and smartphones as the preferred human-machine interface. With the headsets getting cheaper and less bulky, virtual reality is showing up in many more places—including museums.

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With Tiny Stereoscopic 360-Degree Camera, Live Planet Aims To Succeed Where Others Failed, by Ian Hamilton

Startup Live Planet plans to deliver its first cameras in December as part of an end-to-end stereoscopic 360-degree video platform aimed at making it easier for creators to stream live high-quality content.

Live Planet is led by serial entrepreneur Halsey Minor, who largely self-funded this company after a long track record at the start of businesses like CNET,  Salesforce and GrandCentral (which later became Google Voice). With 360-degree video, he’s intimately aware of the failures of other products on the market, including Nokia’s OZO, and aims to succeed through a combination of high-quality hardware and easy-to-use software.

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Lytro Announces VR Light Field Rendering Software ‘Volume Tracer’, by Scott Hayden

Lytro, the once consumer-facing light field camera company which has recently pivoted to create high-end production tools, has announced a light field rendering software for VR that essentially aims to free developers from the current limitations of real-time rendering. The company calls it ‘Volume Tracer’.

Light field cameras are typically hailed as the next necessary technology in bridging the gap between real-time rendered experiences and 360 video—two VR content types that for now act as bookends on the spectrum of immersive to less-than-immersive virtual media. Professional-level light field cameras, like Lytro’s Immerge prototype, still aren’t yet in common use though, but light fields aren’t only capable of being generated with expensive/large physical cameras.

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Kandao Obsidian VR Camera Triumphs in Excellent Product Design at the German Design Award 2018

SHENZHEN, China, Oct. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Kandao Technology, a Shenzhen-based leading VR camera manufacturer and solution provider, announced today that its flagship Obsidian 3D VR camera has been selected as a winner as the German Design Award 2018 in the Excellent Product Design category.

The German Design Award is one of the most prestigious design competitions in the world. Every year, only a select few products who are already recognized  worldwide with high design and quality standard are eligible for nomination by the German Design Council. The “winner” title is an award of excellence bestowed only on entries chosen by the jury from within each category.

From over 5,000 entries among various international participants, a judging panel of experts chose the Kandao Obsidian 3D VR camera as this year’s winner in the Excellent Product Design category. The panel described Obsidian as “surprisingly user-friendly” as users can operate it purely by instinct no matter how complicated the hardware and software inside are, it is truly a camera designed for VR content creators. This achievement marked Kandao Obsidian’s first nomination in this award. It is also the second international award received by Obsidian, following a previous award of “Best of Innovation Honoree” at CES 2017.

The Obsidian 3D VR camera was developed to enable innovative storytellers to create high-quality stereoscopic 360-degree videos for immersive virtual reality experience. It comes equipped with a deep learning based post-production software solution for stitching and depth map generation and offers up to 8K resolution 3D spherical videos, still image capturing capability and the addition of 3D 4K VR live streaming functionality.

With the product and technology, Kandao Technology makes every effort to explore new ways to apply VR in various industries, for example, VR in education, travel, live events, and the furniture, wedding, and real estate industries, to change the way how people feel and connect to the world.

Now, the Obsidian 3D VR camera is available for purchase worldwide at an official price of $6999.

Adobe’s Project SonicScape Visualizes Audio For Easier 360 Editing, by Ian Hamilton

Adobe previewed a concept it is working on that would make it easier for creators working on VR videos to place and align sound.

Producing high-quality 360-degree video content has traditionally been a difficult affair at all stages of production, from capture to delivery. However, a constant stream of new cameras, editing tools and streaming techniques are on the way to make the process easier.

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