Inter Video in Los Angeles has been shooting 3D and Virtual Reality for some time. “We’ve been using Convergent Design Odyssey and Apollo recorders in 4K for about a year now,” explains Richard Clark, President of Inter Video. “For the three years prior to that we shot in 2K, also to Convergent Design recorders. We tried another type early on, but quickly switched.”
The Inter Video Helios VR System uses multiple IO Industries Flare 4KSDI cameras in a circular configuration. “Three big issues in VR are parallax, Rolling Shutters and sync,” said Richard. “Plus you have to keep the cables out of the shot. These cameras have large Super-35 sensors, Global Shutters, and support proper genlock sync so the shutters are phase-locked to one another. We feel that this makes for a proper professional solution rather than using some cheap consumer cameras.”
If it is 4K30p, then we can use one Apollo in Dual-4K mode for two cameras
“The cameras are mounted in a ring, and depending on the configuration we can have four to six of them. We shoot in 4K, sometimes at 60 frames per second, sometimes 30,” noted Richard. “If it is 4K30p, then we can use one Apollo in Dual-4K mode for two cameras. If we shoot 4K60p, then we use one Odyssey7Q+ or Apollo for each camera. We can reconfigure pretty easily. We shot a demo in Paris that was 5 cameras with four Odyssey & Apollo recorders at 4K30p. Today we have a rental in LA that’s four cameras and four recorders at 4K60p.”
The Odyssey7Q+ and Apollo recorders are mounted in a ring below or above the cameras, with the batteries to power the system inside the recorder ring. “We created a custom system to wirelessly control EF lenses on all the cameras. We can use a tablet to control and match the cameras. That’s very important in VR. The remote also triggers the Odyssey and Apollo recorders.”
Convergent Design recorders can record to inexpensive high-capacity Samsung SSDs, which has been helpful in VR production. “With multiple cameras, VR is memory intensive. At 4K30p in Apple ProRes HQ, we get about two hours of recording time per terabyte, so the use of Samsung drives has saved a huge cost and added great efficiency. The Odyssey and Apollo recorders each can hold two SSDs, so during a typical production day we’ll probably swap batteries twice but we won’t swap SSDs for the whole day. In Paris we shot all day around the city with just a 2-man crew, including putting the rig on a car and driving around the Eiffel tower. That’s a lot to do in one day for two guys. The efficiency was important.”
The Helios VR System is available for rental or purchase from Inter Video. Apollo is available as a standalone device or as an optional mode on the Odyssey7Q and Odyssey7Q+ monitor/recorders. In addition to Dual-4K recording, other functions available include Quad-HD recording, an HD Live Switcher, and recording of the Live-Switch as a fifth HD recording.