The Kodak PixPro SP360 4k action camera is just that... a 4k 360 camera by Kodak. I recently had the opportunity to dive into the world of 360 filming for my mother-in-law's truck stop in Robertsdale, Alabama. This is my experience:
The camera sits back to back with a proprietary housing designed by Kodak. All the accessories that came with the camera are easy to use and very compact. How do you sync theses cameras you may ask....Kodak thought it would be a good idea to include a wrist watch.
The watch turned on and off the cameras, start and stopped recording, and switched between spherical photo and video mode. Although I did not test the range between the watch and the cameras it did allow for me to duck around corner ad hit record without being in the shot. Give that we were in a public place, this allowed for me to get away from the odd stares you get when people know they are being filmed.
I used a lightweight tripod which did show up in the final image, however, are hope is to either black it out in post-production or just focus the viewer's attention towards the middle of the frame. On the side of the camera rests a couple of intuitive buttons for power, record, menu and sync.
I found the menu easy to navigate however the LCD sits on top of the camera and I had to continually move my head from the side to the top to see what button I was pressing. Below the ultra wide 235° glass are a left and right AAC format audio mic. You can call this a scratch audio track but I found the quality very usable and works great for subtle ambiance. After an hour of start and stop recording I found myself waiting on the batteries to charge.
The batteries took about half an hour to an hour to charge and unfortunately I left the backup batteries back home in St. Louis. My only complaint with this product thus far was the process of taking out the batteries from the camera cage.
First, you have to unscrew a thumbscrew from your tripod to your camera cage which releases bracket over the cameras. Then you need to loosen both the 1/4" - 20 and the camera is released. You have to do this for both the battery and the micro USB port.
Now there was a micro USB port to go directly from camera to your computer however I did not get the chance to test that out. It was covered by durable rubber that you needed to pull back to reach both ports. In order to ingest and stitch the content to a viewable 360° format, you need to download the software from Kodak's website.
Don't forget to test what format you want to shoot in...I aimlessly decided to shoot in a 4k format thinking this would give my the highest 360° results. However, I was only capturing a 235° ultra wide 16:9 4k image which wouldn't stitch together with the 2nd camera. Don't make that mistake. Lastly, be sure to keep some lens tissues in your back pocket...
Because of the glass convex outward it was quick to catch air dust. Whenever your not shooting, be sure to cap the glass with a screw on filter so that your glass doesn't scratch. The product came from a local rental house with a huge scratch on it and was very noticeable in practical fluorescent lights.
In summary, bring a spare set of batteries, wear the control watch, check your shooting setting, and keep the glass clean from dust and safe from scratches with the lens cap. Oh, and once we wrapped the shoot we headed down to Pensacola Flordia for a night where I captured a beautiful sunrise where you can witness the power of the image, its dynamic range, audio quality and picture quality.
Footage coming soon...