Capture Virtual Reality with the Roundshot VR Drive Metric Panoramic Head

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Not that long ago, virtual reality was a science-fiction term for a novel photographic concept. Now, it's a tool visual professionals use every day. Without a doubt, VR is becoming one of modern day's most impressive and informative digital resources. The Swiss company, Seitz Phototechnik, has made this technology fast, seamless, and shockingly simple with its Roundshot VR Drive Metric Panoramic Head. Niche though it may be, virtual reality has never been so accessible.

The Roundshot VR Drive Metric is not necessarily marketed toward your everyday photography consumer or gear-head; instead, it lends itself to dedicated use in virtual reality—CGI, forensic science, and 3D photogrammetry by creating spherical panoramic images. These images allow professionals of varied backgrounds to do things such as measure 3D environments accurately, generate virtual tours, reference exact lighting and reflections in CGI, and document detailed crime scenes with true-to-life representation. These applications require a tool that's convenient, durable, and most importantly, dependable. The Roundshot VR Drive Metric shines on all accounts.

Along with the actual Seitz panoramic head, the 20.2MP full-frame Canon 6D is included in this kit, paired with an EF 20mm f/2.8 USM lens. Together, they capture crisp, vivid images, as is par for Canon's reputation. The 6D makes good use of its powerful DIGIC 5+ processor and effective noise reduction when creating these stunning panoramas. Quite simply, the DSLR attaches to the Roundshot VR Drive Metric's rotating head, and then spins and pivots to capture a scene from every angle. Despite its high-tech appearance, the fully automatic system is designed to be incredibly straightforward. Its simplified user interface displays on the rear touchscreen. You select whether you'd prefer HDR, non-HDR, or a customized program, and just press start. It does the rest of the work for you.

The beauty in the Roundshot VR Drive Metric's simplicity is its incredibly user-friendly and effective stitching software, otherwise known as FOVEX PanoMaker (included with the Roundshot). While designed to be bare-bones, you do have the option to implement password-protected customized settings for different bracketing and exposure combinations. Or, you can simply let the software take the lead. With efficiency as a forefront concern, this system can practically operate hands-off. Its integrated external light meter carefully monitors correct exposure, and its HDR capability brackets by three to five frames, depending on the light. Photos are saved right to your camera's flash card, so be sure to have enough memory capacity on hand.

PanoMaker creates fully spherical images that encompass a true 180 x 360° angle of view. As the computer software receives each photo, it batch-processes them into appropriate groups. Yet again, the process is totally automatic. The result is a seamless panorama with extraordinary resolution: 9856 x 19712 pixels at a whopping 194MB. Those who've ever tried to manually correct or stitch panoramas know what a nuisance it can be. That's no issue here, however—PanoMaker totally eliminates the need for post-processing with its highly touted sub-pixel accuracy. It can then render the final product in either 8-bit or 32-bit output. To fully render a 32-bit HDR panorama, you'll only need about two minutes. No worries if you're on a tight schedule. Deadlines are no match for the Roundshot VR Drive Metric.

Another wonderfully handy feature of this device is its remote operating capability. Equipped with a built-in Wi-Fi router, the Roundshot VR Drive Metric lets you instantly, wirelessly transfer its touchscreen content to your tablet, smartphone, or computer. This opens up a realm of flexibility you might not otherwise have. Right from your computer or smart device, you can fully control the VR Drive Metric's program sequences or customize your own. If, for example, the VR Drive Metric was mounted out of reach or in an impossible-to-get-to spot, you'd still be able to control its operation with every bit the ease and accuracy of having it right in front of you. If, for whatever reason, you didn't want to use the built-in Wi-Fi, you could also connect it to a computer with an Ethernet cable.

Along with the camera, lens, and PanoMaker software, the Roundshot VR Drive Metric also comes with four LP-E6 Li-ion batteries and a waterproof storage case with a custom-fit foam interior. PanoMaker also comes with a complimentary one-year membership to Club FOVEX, which provides you with free updates and technical support. You can install the stitching software on up to three different computers.

There's no question that virtual reality plays a huge part in the conveniences of modern life, with applications that are endlessly varied. As we see it continue to gain traction in entertainment, navigation, design, and even science, we can definitely expect the market for these tools to continue growing. From the designers at Seitz, the Roundshot VR Drive Metric Panoramic Head absolutely hits its mark as a dependable, high-quality VR system.

Included Camera Canon EOS 6D
Included Lens Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM
Capture Time Min. Time for Image Capture w/o Bracketing: 15 images in 36 seconds
Min. Time for Image Capture w/ HDR Bracketing: 70 seconds
Min. Time for Stitching w/o Bracketing: 15 images in 75 seconds
Min. Time for Stitching w/ HDR Bracketing: 45 images in 127 seconds
Exposure Control Automatic by integrated VR Drive light meter + VR Drive Metric capture software
Stitching Software FOVEX PanoMaker
Image Resolution 194MP
Pixels 9856 x 19712
Image Transfer Images stored in flash card in-camera
Render Time Approximately 2 minutes
Power Supply 2x LP-E6 Lithium-Ion batteries
Battery Charger LCE-6E
Modes Quality, HDR
Remote Control Yes (mobile or computer via Wi-Fi)
Dimensions 8.1 x 10.6 x 6.3" (205 x 270 x 160mm)
Weight 8.2 lb (3.7 kg) including camera and batteries