If you’re interested in recording or streaming 360° videos, you owe it to yourself to check out the Teradek Sphere. It may look like a simple box, but inside lies some powerful hardware. The outside of the box sports four video connections. Currently, an HDMI model is available, with an SDI version coming down the pike. Plug four 1080p sources into the video connections for high-resolution video in 360°. If you need more coverage, two Spheres can be linked together via Ethernet for up to 8 inputs. What’s really special about the Sphere is its iOS integration, specifically with the iPad Pro. Install the Sphere app on your iPad pro, connect it to the same network as the Sphere’s hardware, and you have 360° stitching, monitoring, recording, and streaming, all at your fingertips. And because the iPad connects wirelessly, you can keep control of your production while remaining out-of-frame.
Monitoring and stitching happens in near-real time with an impressive 4-frame latency. Depending on your preference, you can choose to monitor in one of 3 modes. Rectilinear mode corrects distortion in the incoming image, and lets you view spherical content as if you were wearing a headset. Simply move the iPad in the direction you want to look and the image will pan and tilt with you. Panoramic mode shows the entire coverage of your spherical video, so you can see your entire frame at a glance. The third alternative is “Little Planet” mode, which displays a 360° stereographic projection, making it seem like your video is taking place on a tiny planet. Creative professionals will appreciate the client monitor re-streaming feature. Multiple iPhones can connect to the network and act as little client monitors.
Want to record 360°? Sphere lets you do that. Simply tap “record” inside the iOS app and a high-quality MP4 video file will be recorded directly to your iPad’s internal storage. But the distribution options don’t end there. With a separately available license, which is also available packaged with the Sphere hardware, you can stream directly to many popular streaming platforms that support 360° content, such as YouTube, Wowza, and RTMP servers. Simply select your destination, and you’re ready to go. Once you’re streaming, the app can optimize the image in real time. Moving your stitch lines and changing color balance can all be done in in the app to ensure you have the best image possible.
Right out of the box, you’ll get almost everything you need to get started. Mounting hardware for the Sphere itself, as well as a bracket for holding four GoPro cameras are included, as are ancillary cables, a power supply, and a protective case. If you want to know more, check out the B&H E-Commerce site for more information on pricing, availability, and accessories.