Pro, Air, Nano and now ONE. Yes, meet the Insta360 ONE – the company’s latest 4k 360° camera, featuring what it calls FreeCapture technology.
“We set out to make the easiest-to-use, most-versatile 360 camera in the world, and the ONE is the result of those efforts,” says JK Liu, CEO and founder of Insta360.
In an exclusive, our very own Lok has had time with a pre-production beta version of the new camera. You can check out what he thinks in the video above on PGN’s Youtube channel.
For now, let’s take a look at the key features, starting with FreeCapture.
Insta360 ONE: What is FreeCapture?
So, what’s FreeCapture ’shoot first, point later’ and what’s so user friendly about it? The easiest way to explain is by describing the shooting and sharing process.
The Insta360 ONE records a 360° video as normal (like there is a multi-camera setup that covers every angle). This video can then be viewed straight away on a smartphone via a Bluetooth or direct connection.
FreeCapture leverages a smartphone’s gyroscope. As the user moves their smartphone like a viewfinder around the original recorded scene, a new standard 1080p fixed-frame video is made, recording what the viewer sees as they see it. That is FreeCapture – shoot first, record later.
So, essentially Insta360 bills FreeCapture as a new way of recording immersive 360° videos on a smartphone, into a fixed-frame video. We think Insta360 has really been thinking outside the box with this one.
So, FreeCapture records new videos from the video you have already made. What then are the shooting modes on offer?
Insta360 ONE: Shooting modes
Users can record both videos and photos. 4k 360° videos can be shot in Log format. On the pre-production unit we had, Log videos aren’t perfect. Hopefully the quality issues we experienced will be corrected in the retail version.
24-million-pixel raw images (6912 x 3456) can be made with manual control of exposure value, ISO, shutter speed, white balance and more.
A real party trick is the all new ‘Bullet Time’ shooting mode. Using a selfie stick (or supplied length of string), ONE can circle around the shooter keeping them in the centre of the frame, recording a slow motion video up to 240fps.
The camera has an internal gyroscope so a selfie stick can be positioned directly down from the camera, ensuring it is not visible in the footage while the user can move the camera around at any angle. An invisible selfie stick – it’s impressive stuff! All you’ll need to do is make sure you’ve sorted out your hair!
SmartTrack is another new shooting mode, allowing the user to select the subject of their choice to remain at the centre of the frame. It’s much like what we know from the DJI Osmo, but can be set up in pre-recorded 360° videos. These are made as 1080p fixed-frame videos.
As well as standard perspectives, Insta360 ONE can apply “tiny planet” and “rabbit hole” effects. Other shooting modes include time-lapse and HDR.
Insta360 ONE: Handling
ONE is squarely aimed at consumers, though v-loggers will surely love this product. It’s compact, features the standard 1/4in socket, an on board internal gyroscope and advanced 6-axis image stabilisation.
Stabilisation is a key handling issue of most 360° cameras. Our initial impressions of the image stabilisation in ONE are positive, which is kudos to Insta360.
Users can control ONE as a standalone, remotely via Bluetooth or by a direct connection to a smartphone.
Insta360 ONE: Pricing and Availability
The Insta360 ONE is available now at https://mall.insta360.com/ and costs US$299 or £319.
Currently the iPhone compatible version is available while the Android version is on the way with no confirmed release date.
As expected there are a few optional extras, including the ONE IP68 waterproof housing (tested up to depths of 30-metres), ONE selfie stick and a Bluetooth remote control.