The gear geeks of the photography industry, and particularly the ones within the Alpha Universe, are certain to rejoice over the newest creation from the filmmaking team at Bonsai. Sure, 360 cameras or 360 camera rigs aren't new. However there's certainly been notable room for improvement. Erin Joost of DC Inno dove in to find what makes, Excalibur, Bonsai's innovative new rig, different from its predecessors.
Joost first points out that the offering in the 360 market have been limited to two choices at opposite ends of the spectrum saying "On one end are point-and-shoot cameras that for a couple hundred dollars offer accessible but low-quality 360 video—great for the average hobbyist. On the other end are high-resolution, professional options such as the Nokia Ozo, though for $45,000 (recently discounted from $60,000!) it’s laughably out of reach for most users."
Enter Bonsai, a production company based in Rockville, MD, that decided to create its own 360 rig that yielded beautiful, high-end results at a more moderate price point. "It tightly rigs together four Sony α7S II Mirrorless Cameras, each with a Rokinon 8mm Fisheye lens, to deliver DLSR-quality images and control at a fraction of the cost of ultra-professional options." says Joost.
Joost goes on to point out that in addition to creating a quality mid-range option to introduce into the 360 market, the team at Bonsai also sought to improve upon some common shortcomings 360 camera rigs tend to have. "For instance, Excalibur comes with a single remote to start all four cameras at once. Also included is Bonsai's own Arborist file handling software, which syncs the footage from the four cameras' separate SD cards—an otherwise painful task, Katz says. Bonsai also plans to release a single battery system in April for Excalibur, so users won't have to charge and insert four separate camera batteries before use."
The other major highlight of Bonsai's super rig is the resolution of the footage it captures - 6k resolution to be exact. In fact, one of Bonsai's founders, Braum Katz, says, "Excalibur eats 4k for breakfast..."