Pisofttech CEO Adler Shen holds the 8K Pilot Era 360-degree panoramic video camera.

Pisofttech, a Shenzhen, China-based alogrithm developer for 360-degree panoramic imaging, is preparing to launch what it calls “the world’s first” 360-degree virtual reality camera capable of in-camera 8K recording and image stitching and real-time stitching and playback in up to 6K resolution.

The company demonstrated a prototype version of the camera, which it is calling Pilot Era, at last month’s CES 2018. The company targeted the product at a wide-range of users, but is especially focusing on professional photographers and videographers, VR enthusiasts and content creators.

Among the uses will be getting unusual panoramic shots from the self-contained professional-grade camera shooting wide-angles from inside a car, for example. The company said its panoramic camera will be able to create high-quality stitched videos and images easily and quickly and then upload them to the cloud from within the camera itself.

Pisofttech, which plans to begin selling the camera directly under the Pisofttech brand, said it expects to have the Pilot Era available for purchase by June and estimates the price will be around $3,000.

Read more about the Pisofttech Pilot Era camera after the jump:

Pisofttech is one of the top three algorithm providers for panoramic and 3D solutions. The company claims to have developed the stitching algorithm used in more 360-degree and panoramic cameras globally than any other.

The company has provided panoramic IP algorithms to chip companies such as Rockchip as well as the core panorama technology to cloud platforms such as Tencent cloud.

Pisofttech provides stitching algorithm support to 17 companies that are building 360 degree and similar cameras around the world. The company decided to build its own camera after noticing a lull in camera production, due to limitations of investment on technology among some of its customers.

According to Pisoftech, the key issue with panoramic cameras today, particularly at the professional level, is that they tend to be large and heavy. They also have limitations in their ability to stitch high resolution images in camera. Pilot Era is billed as one of the first panoramic cameras with real-time in-camera 4K video stitching.

Pisofttech’s algorithms are said to make it much easier to perform this, while allowing for fast on-the-fly recording, without the need for lengthy processing, editing and post production. It also enable live broadcasting of 4K panoramic images.

“Our core technology is the object recognition algorithm, including motion analysis technology, which enables the panoramic camera to detect and interact with images more accurately and makes it smarter,” said Adler Shen, Pisofttech CEO. “This technology will be integrated into the Pilot Era soon, so that the camera can recognize images locally rather than having to upload them to the cloud for recognition and analysis. This will provide a huge performance advantage over systems that rely on the CPU or GPU to run vision algorithms.”

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The Pilot Era camera includes a number of convenience features designed to make it as easy to use as taking pictures on a mobile phone, the company said. This includes a built-in on-camera monitor screen to in addition to a mobile app, on-the-fly in-camera photo stitching that is nearly transparent in assembled images, real-time stitching at video resolutions of 4K and 6K, and live broadcasting of 4K stitched panoramic videos.

Additionally, the camera captures up to 8K video, but at that resolution level in-camera stitching will slightly lag real time (1.8 minutes for 1 minute of video). The capture and stitching speed is said to be 10 times faster than the industry average of 15 to 30 minutes.

Pilot Era can be set to record video in 4K at 60 frames per second or 8K at 25 frames per second.

Photographers can also preview panoramic frame in real time, on the camera’s screen or from the mobile app.

The Pilot Era also supports Facebook and YouTube 4K live video streaming. Users can perform real-time editing of photos and videos and adjust the camera’s four lenses to fix exposure.

Key features of the Pilot Era 360-degree panoramic camera include:
• Supports multi-lens real-time dynamic stitching in 6K
• Ambisonic audio recording
• Video resolution: 7680×[email protected]; 5760×[email protected]; 3840×[email protected]
• Real time distortion correction and stitching on-board for 6K video in camera
• Image resolution: 8192×4096 or 10000×5000
• Real-time color and exposure adjustments
• Internal image stabilization through algorithms
• 120-minute battery life for each battery, battery changeable
• TF card, 12-volt charger
• 4xF2.2 fisheye lenses
• Supports 4 preview modes: fisheye, VR, little planet, and equirectangular
• Supports 4G/Wi-Fi/RJ45 livestream
• Controlled with camera touch-screen, voice or app remote control
• App 360-degree player
• Size: 61mm x 61mm x159mm — 2.4 in x 2.4 in x 6.2 in
• Weight: 565g — 1.2 pounds.


By Greg Tarr


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