Ever wanted to capture reality where you were? Sure pictures and video can get part of what’s going on, but to get EVERYTHING you need a 360 degree camera. I bought a v360 and took it hiking to see what kind of footage I could get, both moving and stationary. The video quality looks great, if not a little blown out and overexposed. The field of view is a bit narrow vertically, but sufficient to get a good glimpse into where I was at and what I was doing. The v360 is a cool camera for the price and, with no video stitching, allows you to capture 360 video easily and share it with your friends.

Cameras that can capture 360 degree video are on the rise. There are new types of cameras being devised, many of which contain numerous GoPros in different layouts. These GoPros are then synchronized and the footage can be mixed into one coherent video. This video contains all of the GoPro video and can be viewed on a computer monitor or in a Virtual Reality headset, like the Oculus Rift or the Google Cardboard. The quality of the GoPro video is very high. It can appear as though you are in the place where the video was shot and there can be action all around you.

Panoramic Smoky Mountain Picture

The problem with the GoPro solution is that it is expensive. GoPros cost at least $200 a piece and the nicer GoPro Hero 4 Blacks cost upwards of $500. Surely there has to be an easier way? Enter the v360 by VSN Mobile. This lightweight Google Android based device runs around $450 and does not require any video stitching. In fact, you can connect the v360 straight to your computer and copy the files over like any other camera.

The v360 has a 16 Megapixel sensor, which takes great pictures. The resolution is variable, but at its highest, it reaches up to 6480 pixels vertically to 1080 pixels horizontally. It captures video at 60 frames per second and is made for action. It is waterproof and has a really cool app you can run from your phone to control the camera remotely. It also has a remote control, but the iOS or Android app has many more features and allows you to change settings. It also provides a live feed to your phone from the camera, which can be streamed to up to five people via wireless networking.

The downside of the v360 is that it only has a 60 degree field of view horizontally, meaning all of your video has a huge black circle above and below it. The video stretches around you in 360 degrees, but the video doesn’t stretch from the sky to the ground totally, only in the 60 degrees facing out from the camera.

We took it out to the woods to record some video of Charlie’s Bunion in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We got some pretty good footage, as you can see, but the field of view is evident. The frame rate is fine, but I’m not sure that the video is immersive as it could be if it had a 180 degree vertical field of view.

I hope you enjoyed my videos. They will play with the Google Cardboard as well, to give you the total VR experience. Next time I’ll show you what can be done with GoPro cameras and I think you’ll really like it. Go Vols!