This DC filmmaker has created a better 360 camera - Technical.ly DC

Business

Mar. 2, 2017 12:56 pm

This DC filmmaker has created a better 360 camera

Meet Bonsai's Excalibur. Could it be a VR gamechanger?
The Excalibur.

The Excalibur.

(Courtesy photo)

Braum Katz is a filmmaker. And as a filmmaker he wanted to be able to make really beautiful 360 video — cinematic quality, really. So he started to look at camera options.

And what he found was a little disheartening.

On the one had there were options like the GoPro Omni rig or Samsung 360 rig, which are fairly affordable but not quite the quality Katz was looking for. And then on the other end you’ve got options like the Nokia OZO — great quality with a v-hard-to-stomach $45,000 price tag.

“GoPro has a lot of limitations from a filmmaker’s perspective,” Katz told Technical.ly. And the Nokia OZO? “It’s not really practical for most people.”

So Katz, his brother Asher and fellow filmmaker friend Charles Blatz decided they could make something to split the difference. And make something they did: on Monday the team debuted the Bonsai Excalibur 360 camera at the DCVR Meetup.

The Bonsai team built a proprietary rig that holds up to four DSLR cameras. Mounted with the cameras, the Excalibur can create 360 video is 6k resolution. As Katz put it — “Excalibur eats 4k videos for breakfast.” The fact that the rig uses DSLR cameras also means that filmmakers have very precise controls over lens use and camera settings.

And Excalibur is not just about hardware, either. Bonsai has built a proprietary software system as well, a system amusingly called Arborist. The problem with shooting in 360, Katz said, is that it generates a lot of files. Arborist makes all these files easier to deal with by automatically sorting them into “scenes” on the basis of overlapping time stamps. Now that sounds useful.

The Excalibur’s target market? Hardcore hobbyists and professionals, Katz said. The entire package — rig, cameras, software, etc. — can be bough for just over $15,000. There are also rental options. This is expensive, yes, but also positions the camera at a price point between existing options, just as Katz intended.

Advertisement

Curious to see what the Excalibur can do? Check out this 6k resolution 360 tour of some iconic District spots:

The core Bonsai team working to develop the Excalibur is just six people strong — sadly Asher Katz passed away before the camera’s debut. According to Braum the tech was developed at locations “all over the DMV,” including Bob & Edith’s Diner in Arlington. Who doesn’t love a little American comfort food with their innovation?

Projects: AR/VR Month 2017
-30-
CONTRIBUTE TO THE
JOURNALISM FUND

Already a contributor? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action

Advertisement

Blackboard is partnering with Amazon’s Alexa to launch a new integration

Wake up to reality: Getting ahead of the risks of extended reality

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is using VR to reach beyond the exhibit space

SPONSORED

DC

Verizon is looking for the brightest ideas on how to use its 5G technology

Philadelphia, PA

Vistar Media

QA Engineer

Apply Now

Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post

Scrum Master

Apply Now

Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post

Software Engineer

Apply Now

This platform has virtual tours of startup offices, and it just expanded to DC

‘We can’t just have our heads down going forward’: A discussion with Adam Zuckerman

Xfinity to open ‘destination’ store in Chinatown Sunday

SPONSORED

DC

Escape the August heat with cool AI tech

Philadelphia

Vistar Media

Sr. Software Engineer

Apply Now

Philadelphia

Vistar Media

Front End Engineer

Apply Now

Philadelphia, PA - Center City

Odessa

Business Architect

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Dc

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!