Continued adventures in underwater 360 video

It is never ending, and I’m quite sure you my fine readers are either tuning in because your actually curious about pursuing some 360 video creation of your own and want to learn from my mistakes or you simply can’t take your eyes off an impending train wreck (aka things like me fabricating my own interface disks out of acrylic and a jig saw on my back porch).

This time I promise, we are getting closer…

Last time you tuned in, it was likely for the DIY housing for Samsung Gear360.  With a bit of rattle can black on the camera itself, this has become a very viable option for crisp and clear underwater 360 video.  Down side, not controllable underwater and no way to increase the resolution.  BUT, it works! Hallelujah! The plankton gods had mercy on me a little over a week ago and I was able to capture this video (I was also testing some light placement with a couple of SOLA2000’s)


Now, don’t get me wrong, I love this video.  really… and not just because it showcases my new DUI Underwater Superhero Drysuit… I love it because its the first ‘proof of concept’ that i’ve been able to put out that didn’t have weird reflections, funny stitch lines, etc… A little boring on the subject matter though, and you can see the edges of the SOLAs from time to time.

Because of a project I’m hoping to collaborate on with my friend and WDHOF sea sister Drey Stockert, I got a look at some Kodak Pixpro SP360 footage.  Hold the press, wait just a second, this footage is from a stock underwater housing and WHAT!? It’s in focus! BOOM!

I’d written off the Kodak because of crap reviews and price but after seeing Drey’s footage I realized perhaps I’d been a bit hasty in that decision.

Enter my favorite pastime, finding cheap camera gear on eBay so I can afford to follow my dreams and chase my passions….   Thank DOG for eBay, or i’d still be shooting on 5DMK2’s 😉

Low and behold other folks must have read all those crappy reviews because look at this!  Reasonably priced Kodak PixPro SP360 4k’s are within my reach.  A few clicks later and an $85 dollar stock dual housing off Amazon and voila!   There is still some work to do with lighting and distance from subject matter. I see a few of the new diffusion domes from Light and Motion in my future, and I will be adding a third camera to the array for better overlap/stitching, but I think we are getting closer to that terribly high bar I have for myself when it comes to underwater 360 video.

The 6 gopro array with modified gopros is still the best from a quality standpoint, but these other lower cost options are really not bad at all.  Having the capacity to produce good quality, in focus underwater 360 video is pretty much total awesomeness.  And with the SP360 I have something not available with my delightful DIY samsung housing, I can start and stop the cameras!


  2 comments for “Continued adventures in underwater 360 video

  1. May 30, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Hi Diver Laura,

    Can you tell me where to get the mini dome units for the gopros. Do these correct for the distortion (reduced FOV) due to water? I am considering making a low-cost diy 360 rig for underwater video using action cameras.
    What we really want in the end is something that can be left on the botton overnight and wake periodically to take 360 video clips. We would like to use these with a VR headset for public and school education about our local waters. Would you know of anything like this?


    • July 1, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      The mini-domes were custom made for 360RIZE by snake river prototyping and i do not believe they are available anymore. They were not an ideal solution. For what you are hoping to do, you’ll need a camera that can internally stitch, can have power delivered through USB or whatnot, and be trusted to ‘turn on’ as you describe. High order for the current consumer camera market. I’m getting ready to publish a post on a shallow water 360 streaming array that works with cameras that have this capacity. Right now that is Theta S (using OBS), potentially the 2017 Samsung Gear360 and a prototype camera from another mfg.

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