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Insta360 takes preorders for its 8K virtual reality camera for VR films

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China’s Insta360 has announced it is taking preorders for its Insta360 Pro 8K professional virtual reality camera, the Insta360 Pro, as part of its ambitions to raise the bar for 360-degree VR films.

The company originally announced the 6-lens camera at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas in January. The Insta360 Pro camera is designed for shooting 360 films that can be viewed with virtual reality headsets. It sells for $3,500, and it’s on display at the National Association of Broadcasters event in Las Vegas this week.

The standalone camera can capture 8K 3D photos or 6K 3D videos, and it is also suitable for livestreaming. It is aimed at professional photo and video creators, as well as non-professionals who demand excellence from the camera they use to pursue their creative visions.

“The VR industry needs steady content from a strong base of creators to keep growing, but before now, high-performing cameras have been overly complicated or cost-prohibitive,” said JK Liu, founder and CEO of Insta360, in a statement. “With the Insta360 Pro, we’re giving broadcasters and creators the tool they’ve been asking for. We can’t wait to see what they come up with.”

What are consumers and professionals going to do with it? That’s a good question. Insta360 believes it will be used for live journalism and aerial photography, and its advantage is that it’s an all-in-one VR tool.

Insta360 Pro uses six independent high-definition lenses. It captures 60-megapixel 360-degree 3D stills and supports both HDR and RAW formats to bring out levels of detail and low-light performance unprecedented in a 360-degree camera of this size.

When recording 4K video, the camera supports up to 100 frames per second. In addition, the VR time-lapse mode adds a new dimension to videos, and the live preview function allows users to get the best angle before shooting.

Insta360 uses real-time image stitching technology and offers both H.264 and H.265 video compression, which substantially improves video quality at the same bit rate.

HD image files can be easily auto-stitched with Insta360 Studio. The company is enhancing the imaging potential of the camera by offering professional 3D 360-degree video that applies the 3D video-capturing capabilities of Hollywood films.

The camera can capture 3D videos in up to 6K (4K in real-time stitching mode). As a standalone camera, it can be used with the dedicated Insta360 Pro iOS and Android apps. It connects via Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or 4G, and it is ready to livestream and share any event instantly on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Established in 2014, Shenzhen Arashi Vision Co. is a consumer technology company that goes by the name Insta360.

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