Before there were action cameras, recording your extreme feats of tubular gnarliness meant using a DV camcorder, strapping a film camera to someone else's head, or trying to manhandle a massive VHS camera.
Then solid-state happened - and with it, the modern action cam, which will let you capture all the ultra clear, fast-moving, high-def video you could ever want. Add serious ruggedness, waterproofing and mounts to attach cameras to everything from handlebars to skydiving helmets and all you need to make spellbinding videos is the bravery to throw yourself off something sufficiently high.
But fixed-perspective cameras are done and dusted. To Kodak, the future is interactive, ultra-wide, and virtual reality. The PixPro SP360 4K is more than just an action cam – although it could be a pretty compelling proposition if it was, considering its ability to shoot 4K video, two-metre waterproofing, dust- and shock-proofing, as well as working at temperatures down to -10°C.
The weapon up its sleeve is that dome lens on top of the tiny unit – where some action cams offer restricted fields of view of around 120 degrees, the SP360 4K creates footage that gives you a whopping 235.
Place the camera with the lens pointing upwards and the captured footage includes everything above, in front of and beside you, and even some stuff below. That means you have finished videos that are in the shape of an ultra-wide, immersive dome, which you can pull around on your screen as if you're back where you were filming, gawping in any direction you choose.
But the SP360 4K has a party piece unlike any other: a unique double-sided mount allows you to join a pair of them together, one facing forward and one facing backwards. Because of the wide-angle view of the dome lenses, there's plenty of overlap between the two perspectives, allowing you to perfect the stitch.
The result: a finished video clip shaped like a sphere, with the viewer placed in the middle. Up, down, left, right – your audience has an unlimited number of viewpoints available, and your video might never be watched from the same perspective twice. If you’ve ever wanted to create 360-degree footage compatible with VR headsets like Google Cardboard, this is the way to do it.
The real challenge: finding an activity daring enough to justify such an otherworldly setup. Skydiving with sharks, anyone?
But the SP360 4K isn’t a one-trick wonder: face the camera forward and choose to shoot in 1080p and it works as a standard front-facing action cam. It has Wi-Fi on board, which lets you use the accompanying Android or iOS app to control the camera from up to 20m away. You can even copy footage into your phone and share it from anywhere you can get a signal.
And if you’d rather not have to dig around in your pocket for your smartphone while you’re barn-dooring on the crux of a tricky free-climb, the SP360 4K is also compatible with Kodak’s Wrist Remote Control. The clue’s in the name: strap the remote next to your festival wristbands and you can switch between the SP360 4K’s various panoramic and 360-degree video modes, choose to shoot still images, and trigger the filming of a new clip.
If you’re looking for just the one action camera, the SP360 4K’s little brother, the SP360, offers 1080p shooting with a slightly reduced field of view, but with all the toughness of its 4K sibling, plus its next-gen features such as Wi-Fi and live smartphone previews. The modern action cam might be a marvellous thing, but the future’s here now and it’s even better.
Not bought one yet? See what others are doing with their SP360 cameras at Kodak’s dedicated YouTube channel – search for PixPro SP360 on YouTube or click here to gain a whole new perspective.
To find out more about the camera, click here >>