The makers of a new 4K virtual reality (VR) camera are targeting producers of high-end drama with technology that they say offers the most cinematic 360 imaging on the market.
Jupiter is developed by InReal Entertainment, founded by former Method Studios managing director Alex Frisch and headquartered in LA, with outposts in London and Beijing.
“Unlike other VR cameras that serve the high-end filmmaking community, like Jaunt and Nokia Ozo, we have designed our technology to produce a much more cinematic look, like an Arri Alexa,” said InReal UK director Ben Fender. “We’re not just offering a camera but the whole capture-to-post workflow solution.”
InReal is proposing to rent out the camera system along with specialist crew. It also plans to train a roster of its own DoPs to use the technology.
Jupiter is one of three rigs, each of which uses a combination of Sigma 4.5mm fisheye lenses and IO Industries’ Flare 4K camera head. Neptune is a monoscopic array with three lenses, while Jupiter has three pairs for stereo and Saturn can mount 12 cameras.
“We’ve rewritten all the code for colour science and adapted the cameras so that the interocular [distance between the lenses] matches that of human vision,” said Fender. Data is recorded raw to Convergent Design’s Odyssey7Q device and playback is possible through HTC Vive or Oculus VR headsets.
“We’ve created real-time 3D stitching software so a director wearing a VR headset can see what the camera sees,” said Fender. “For shooting drama, that’s essential.” The Cara VR plug-in integrates rushes with The Foundry’s Nuke as well as Da Vinci Resolve for post-production. Framestore is among the facilities that have performed tests.
“We’ve tried to provide more flexible tools and settings than other cameras for DoPs,” said Fender. “For instance, it has 10 stops of dynamic range.” Depth mapping and six degrees of freedom will be added as Inreal continues R&D.
The short Alteration, winner of the VR Narrative Design award at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, was shot with the camera. Three other projects using it are in production, including a shortform drama about the Japanese invasion of China.
“We’re talking to producers about creating a 360 retelling of Shakespeare plays for a younger audience,” Fender added.