360 videos and photos have not exploded as many manufacturers would have liked. Beyond the initial interest 360 cameras were relegated to a very specific audience. GoPro Fusion will not be a mass camera but it is a solid proposal that, without having an exorbitant price, offers that improvement in quality that we asked for.
If you do not want to pay the almost 4,000 dollars that cost systems like Insta360 or have to resort to the joint use of several DSLR, the GoPro Fusion is capable of generating 360 quality content. Although it also has some extra options that can be equally or more interesting as well. If you are interested and after analyzing it for a few weeks, in Engadget we will tell you all about it.
GoPro Fusion Characteristics
||2 cameras with fish eye lens
||4992×2496 at 30fps and 3080×1504 at 60 fps
||100 to 6400
||18MP (5760X2880). Option to capture 30 frames in burst mode and possibility to shoot in RAW format (format based on DNG)
||100 to 800
||2 x microSD slot
||Bluetooth and Wifi
||Remote control via smartphone and voice control
||75 x 73 x 23 mm
The GoPro Fusion is, as we said before, at first glance and with its specification sheet ahead an interesting 360 camera proposal. Both photographic and video capabilities are above many other proposals. Of course, its price is also above. And while the Gear 360 can already be found for 180 dollars, the GoPro Fusion goes to $729 also its price. But if the results compensate it’s worth it. Because the next option is to go to professional systems whose costs do shoot up for the normal user.
In addition, those more professional systems also imply certain disadvantages compared to GoPro Fusion. Especially in comfort of use and transport, it is not the same to take something that fits in your pocket to something more voluminous. What is important for the user on foot. Without forgetting that we can take advantage of all the hooks, supports, etc. that we could have for other GoPro.
GoPro Fusion, something bigger than a Hero 6 but just as comfortable
Physically, the GoPro Fusion is like placing two GoPro Hero together. And we not only say it because the lenses are opposite, but because if we look from above we will see how both are not centered. This of course is not a problem, the image is perfect and the “stitching” too. Only the union will be noticed in the base of the image where we would see a little the tripod or support where we place the camera.
With the finish seen in the latest Hero 5 and Hero 6, the body of the GoPro Fusion has the same rubbery feel. In hand transmits good feelings but over time, from what we have seen in the Hero, may be somewhat deteriorated. It is not a problem but you know that it will not be like the first day after a few months of use.
Regarding its covers, we have one that gives access to the battery and the two microSD cards – one for what captures each of the cameras – and another to cover the USB C connector. And as with the Hero without the need for a housing It can be submerged.
Reviewing the rest of the details, we have a small screen through which we can navigate through the different menus and make the necessary adjustments -something that can also be done through the mobile app-, a speaker as well as several microphones to capture both stereo and surround sound.
Finally, in the lower part there is a rail where you can put the piece that will allow us to place the GoPro Fusion in the accessories of GoPro assemblies.
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The art of recording and editing video and photos in 360
Video and photography in 360 never took off in the way that many manufacturers would have liked. First of all because the level of demand in terms of quality has risen a lot and the quality offered by most cameras is fair. Something completely understandable on the other hand.
Secondly, because generating 360 material implies taking into account many more details than we consider when making a normal photo or video.
Therefore, these proposals have ended up being of interest to a small group of users. Which if not bet for more professional systems for their productions use these cameras for the consumer market for specific things such as VFX applications, virtual reality, etc.
Knowing this, our intention was to see on one hand the quality that the product offers and on the other how users like us and you could take advantage of such a proposal.
Taking 360 photos and recording 360 videos is the logical use of this type of cameras. And after several tests we can say that both tasks are carried out by offering results of superior quality to what we have tried so far in this range of products aimed at the consumer sector, especially in video.
When it comes to generating 360 photographs, the quality at the definition level is always superior to that of a 360 video. It is true that both in the photo and the video there is a bit of aberrations, especially at the edges, but they fall into the normal due to the large angle of the lens.
However, in video the GoPro Fusion performs very well thanks to that extra resolution capable of achieving. While many cameras reach a maximum of 4K here we have the possibility to go up to 5.2K at 30fps.
That small extra in resolution allows you to obtain a video clip that, when viewed in 360º, offers a better sharpness. There is always a bit of loss when viewing it in a player. Because what we do is generate a sphere with that material at 5,2K, so that the section that we visualize has a lower resolution.
Anyway, next to that higher resolution of the material, the different settings offered by Fusion Studio for the processing and use of the GoPro flat profile to have more options in postproduction, the GoPro Fusion meets very well.
But if there is a functionality that we liked a lot is that of Overcapture. This really is nothing new and we could already do it through some video editors capable of managing 360 content, such as Adobe Premiere or FCPX in its recent update.
The videos Overcapture is material with 1080p resolution generated from one of the angles of the material 360. That is to say, we generated a 1080p video by fixing from Fusion Studio the angle that we are going to look at if we had glasses or we saw the content through a viewfinder.
This may seem small and the ease of doing so from the Fusion Studio application allows less experienced users in editing issues and applications with a more professional cut to maximize the possibilities of the camera. And it is that saving the distances, it would be like having a multicamera with a single camera.
Regarding the sound, the capture quality is similar to that of the Hero. It is not a bad audio but issues such as wind causes noise that detract from the quality of the final product. The interesting thing is that beyond stereo sound is able to capture 360 sound.
Thanks to the 360 sound capture 360 viewing experience is richer. Because as we turn to the sound will come from one side or another, will gain strength or just the opposite. Therefore, again for applications VR has a lot of value.
Fusion Studio and the rest of GoPro apps
Given the features and performance of the camera, let’s talk about your GoPro Fusion application. Through this tool is how we generate all the material. From 360 photos to video or multishoot -timelapses from photographs taken every x time.
GoPro Fusion is available for both Windows and macOS. It is true that we also have a mobile application that allows us to control the camera but with the available terminals we could not do it for compatibility issues. Even so, seeing how I demanded resources in a computer, we do not believe that mobile was a rewarding experience.
To use GoPro Fusion and be able to generate content at the highest possible quality, we will need a powerful team. To give you an idea, a Mac Pro 2013 with 6-core Xeon processor and 16GB of RAM suffered. Preventing almost being able to perform any other task. In addition, the sewing process is slow. So if you have clips of a long duration, it’s best to have patience.
For the rest, GoPro Fusion is very good at the option level . We can touch aspects of the image such as temperature, tint, shadows and lights, sharpness and activate the Plano or GoPro profile for the image. Of course, also modify settings related to the material 360 such as tilt, shift, balance and field of view. In addition to being able to generate 360 video or the aforementioned overcapture in different aspect ratios (16:9, 1:1 and 4:3)
Once we have made all the appropriate adjustments we can export the material ready to upload and share through services such as YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo. Or the most interesting option, to edit in applications such as FCPX or Premiere.
In those cases we can generate a material using the CinemDNG or ProRes codecs. More advanced codecs that facilitate the treatment of the content although from the capture already there are some limitations if we compare it with cameras that record directly in said format.
With all this Fusion Studio is a very good tool for creatives and also for users less skilled in such tasks. Its only problem is that it requires a powerful computer and even more software must be optimized by GoPro engineers. In the last update that improvement has been noticed but we must continue.