Pilot Era offers high-res in-camera 8K stitching, no computer necessary

Pilot Era
Pisofttech
4K seems like a lot of resolution, but wrapped into a 360-degree video it can still feel a little lacking. To remedy this, Pisofttech is launching the first 360 camera that can stitch 8K videos in-camera. Announced on Tuesday, January 9 at the Consumer Electronics Show, the Pilot Era is a four-lens camera capable of shooting 8K 360 videos at 25 frames per second (fps) or 4K at an impressive 60 fps.

Pisofttech is most known for its 3D-imaging software, which is found in more 3D cameras than any other software. While the Pilot Era doesn’t have 3D capabilities, the camera’s four lenses and sensors work together to record and stitch 8K spherical video automatically. The four f/2.2 fisheye lenses are placed on each side of the rectangular body. While other pro-level 360 cameras have reached 8k resolution, the processing demands for that higher resolution require using a computer to stitch the files. Cameras like the Insta360 Pro, for example, can do 4K in-camera or 8K when stitching is performed separately. True to the company’s software reputation, the camera also uses algorithms to stabilize the footage and correct any distortions created by merging the four fields of view together.

“Our core technology is the object recognition algorithm, including motion analysis technology, which enables the panoramic camera to detect and interact with images more accurately and makes it smarter,” Pisofttech CEO Adler Shen said in a statement. “This technology will be integrated into the Pilot Era soon, so that the camera can recognize images locally rather than having to upload them to the cloud for recognition and analysis. This will provide a huge performance advantage over systems that rely on the CPU or GPU to run vision algorithms.”

Users can interact with the camera via a small LCD screen, a unique feature not often found on 360 cameras. It also offers voice control and an optional smartphone app can control the camera remotely. Users have a choice of four different preview modes, including fisheye, traditional scrollable 360, little planet, and flattened equirectangular which allows you to see the entire recorded area at once.

Another unique feature is the inclusion of both Wi-Fi and 4G, which can both be used for live-streaming. The camera can’t go live in 8K, but 4K streaming is supported on both YouTube and Facebook.

At just over a pound, the Pilot Era isn’t exactly a featherweight, but it contains dual batteries that can power it for 120 minutes, considerably more than most smaller 360 cams. However, as a high-end device, it is also quite a bit more expensive, with an expected price of $3,000, putting it well out of reach for the average consumer. For professionals who want an easier way to create high-resolution immersive content, however, it could definitely be worth it. Availability is slated for April.

Update: Included revised specifications from the manufacturer. 

Product Review

What do you do with 187 megapixels? The Lumix S1R is glorious overkill

The Lumix S1R is one of the most capable cameras ever made, from its robust build to extensive feature set. But its key feature, a 187MP high resolution mode, is something few customers will have use for.
Product Review

With the S10e and S10 Plus, do we really need the Samsung Galaxy S10?

The Galaxy S10 is the middle child in this year’s Galaxy S10 range, between the Galaxy S10e, and the Galaxy S10 Plus. There’s no striking reason to buy it, but it’s still an excellent phone you’ll be happy with.
Home Theater

2019 LG OLED TVs with AirPlay 2, HomeKit support coming in April

LG has revealed the prices and release dates of the first batch of 2019 OLED TVs with A.I. ThinQ. The new W9 wallpaper OLED TVs will arrive in June, while the E9 and C9 OLED TVs will start rolling out in April.
Emerging Tech

Opportunity’s final image is a haunting panorama of the Martian surface

The Opportunity mission to Mars may be no more, but the rover's legacy lives on. Now NASA has released the final image captured by Opportunity, and it's a stunning panorama of the Martian surface.
Photography

The Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 35 mimics tilt-shift blur for less cash

Want to create a tilt-shift image on a budget? The new Lensbaby Composer II with Edge 35 mimics the look of a tilt-shift lens for under $500. The new Edge 35 optic is part of the Composer Pro II optics system.
Photography

Loupedeck Plus can now edit video, audio with Final Cut Pro

The list of Loupedeck Plus-compatible software is growing. The photo-editing console now works with Final Cut Pro and Adobe Audition for video and audio editing. The controls can be configured to be used on either platform.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

Photography News: Taking a smartphone photo probably saved this guy’s life

A man was snapping a photo in Australia when the smartphone stopped an arrow shot at his face. In this week's photography news, see Canon's plans for a stabilized mirrorless, Hasselblad's newest accessories, Samyang's latest lens, and more.
Deals

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Photography

Paper designs digitize in real time using an Illustrator-connected paper tablet

Love graphic design, but prefer the feel of real paper? The new Moleskine Paper Tablet - Creative Cloud Connected syncs with Adobe Illustrator in real time, turning paper sketches into digital drawings.
Photography

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Photography

Sony’s latest sensor is stacked, backlit, and equipped with a global shutter

Say this five times fast: Backlit, stacked, global shutter sensor. Sony managed to cram all three technologies into one sensor. The result is a high-speed sensor with a higher resolution without sacrificing low-light quality.