The Pilot Era is a new professional 8K 360 camera. Announced at CES 2018, the camera is the first and only to be able to shoot and stitch 8K 360 footage internally. Why is this important? Well for all other pro level 360 cameras you need to upload your footage to a desktop and wait for it to be stitched, usually using a dedicated stitching software from the developer. This means a lengthy wait until you can actually see if your 360 shot works or not.
The Pilot Era, which received my personal award for strangest name ever, is able to cut out this part of the work flow and will stitch the footage it shoots internally. The camera also has some other unique features such a large LCD touch screen and voice control. Here are the full specs of this latest professional 360 camera:
Pilot Era Specifications
|Number of Lenses||4|
|360 Photo Resolution||10 (10000 x 5000)|
|360 Video Resolution||8K (7680x 3840) @24fps - 6K (5760x2880) @30fps - 4K (3840x1920) @60fps|
|File Outputs||MP4, AVI - Encoding: H.265/H.264|
|Livestream||Yes - 4G or Wifi|
|Sound||4 Microphones - Full ambisonic|
|Memory||4GB Ram 256 GB TF card|
|Battery||6000mAh - More than 3 hours continuous recording|
|Other Features||LCD Touch Screen - 9 Axis Gyroscope|
|Price||$3000 (Not Confirmed)|
The Pilot Era has an impressive array of features which could make it perfect for professionals wanting to shoot high quality VR video.
Internal stitching: This is possible thanks to the 4GB of ram included within the camera itself. Pisofttech, the company producing the camera, claims that the camera can stitch 8K video within seconds.
LCD Touchscreen: Being able to stitch video internally isn’t much good if you have to plug it into a PC to view it anyway. The Pilot Era gets around this by including a touch screen LCD on the body. This should allow you to preview your images and videos instantly without having to connect to a phone, tablet or desktop.
4G: The Pilot Era will also come with a 4G antenna, allowing you to livestream over a data network. You can also broadcast over wifi, but the 4G gives streamers more options of when and where they can live stream in 360
Stabilization: 9-axis stabilization ensures that even when the Pilot Era is moving, the video it shoots remains smooth with a straight horizon. Only a small preview of this has been provided, so we will have to wait and see if the final product is as good as they say.
Battery: A 6000 mAh battery provides up to 3 hours of continuous recording, an impressive feat and significantly more than most other 360 cameras.
The body of the camera looks to be pretty bulky,but considering the amount of technology in its frame that’s unsurprising. Pro 360 cameras aren’t exactly known for being small anyway.
So far no example footage from the camera has been released, which when we get down to it is the most important thing. If the video quality can match up to other professional 360 cameras such as the Insta360 Pro and Zcam S1, then this could be a disruptive product.
The Pilot Era doesn’t have a confirmed release date, but apparently it’s not imminent. Price looks set to be around £3000, but again this is not confirmed.