The 360-degree-shooting Bublcam first appeared on Kickstarter way back in November 2013, with the aim of shipping in May the following year, but technical hitches saw the project repeatedly delayed. However, Bubl recently announced that the camera, which shoots VR-friendly spherical photos and videos, has now shipped to thousands of backers and pre-order customers.
The Bublcam is arguably more relevant now than it was when it was first announced. Its 360-degree video and stills with 100 percent of the spherical range are compatible with VR headsets, including Google Cardboard, Samsung's Gear VR and Oculus Rift. Videos from the device can be viewed with 360-degeee support on YouTube by either clicking to spin the view in the browser, or moving your smartphone around, and it's also gained a few rivals like the 360cam and Panono.
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As such, and with the US$800 device now available for backorder, it's worth reminding ourselves what the Bublcam is, and what it's capable of ... The camera itself is a spherical device with an 80-mm (3.14-inch) diameter, and a weight of 280 g (9.8 oz). Around the camera are four lenses with a 190-degree field of view, which are paired with 5-megapixel sensors. This allows the Bublcam to shoot video and stills with 100 percent spherical range and no blind spots.
Files can be produced in-camera as a multiplex, with the captured content in separate quadrants of the file, or as an equirectangular file with the spherical stitched content in a flat projection. Video modes for equirectangular footage are 2688 x 1344 pixels at 15 fps (frames per second) or 1984 x 992p at 30 fps. Meanwhile, equirect images come in at 5,376 x 2,688 pixels and shooting modes include HDR and time-lapse.
The camera can be controlled with button presses, or remotely using iOS or Android apps. Users record to a microSD card but can also preview content via a live stream on the app. Spherical content can be shared via Bubl's Cloud Service bubl.io and can be viewed with the Bubl Xplor app which allows users to view using touch, gyroscope or in VR mode with an accompanying mobile phone VR headset. Footage can also be uploaded to services like YouTube, which support 360-degree videos.
The Bublcam is currently in backorder and is priced at $800.
Product page: BublcamView gallery - 3 images