Insta360 sent me their new Insta360 EVO 360 and 180 3D camera hybrid, and I’ve been so slammed with other videos that I finally got around to checking out, and I have to admit, it’s rather cool.
So, quick let’s do a complete walkthrough on it, show some sample footage, etc. in case any of you guys are interesting in actually getting one and want to know everything you can before you pull the trigger.
First, let’s start with the hardware.
We have two ultra-wide-angle cameras with f2.2 apertures and a combined video resolution of a crazy 5.7K (5760*2880@30fps to be specific) and it’ll even shoot in HDR for both photos and videos, shoot in RAW for photos and Log for videos if you want (although manual stitching of the images is required in RAW and Log).
And if you couldn’t tell by looking at it, you can use it in two different ways: either with the camera folded back to give you a 360-degree video, or unfolded to provide you with a 180-degree 3D video.
It features 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization which, when combined with Insta360’s software, makes for some seriously stable video. I even managed to hand-hold the camera walking around NYC without any mount, and it did better than I expected.
You can also use an optional selfie stick for it or the stand (which it automatically will erase in the footage, by the way) to get even more stable of footage.
For buttons, we have one to record as well as turn on and off the camera, one to switch between photo and video mode, and two locks that you can use when folding and unfolding it to ensure it doesn’t do either unexpectedly.
For connectivity and storage, we have Bluetooth 4.0 with Bluetooth LE support and 5Ghz WiFI (used to connect to the camera via the Insta360 app with less lag, which is necessary considering that resolution, I imagine). It stores the photos and videos to a not-included MicroSD card up to 128GBs.
In the box, you are also given a small foldable tripod and a 3D viewer that when combined with the Insta360 app, slides onto your phone and allows you to view the 3D content without needing a headset.
Check out my complete walkthrough on the Nokia 9, the phone with five cameras on the back.
It does though, support instant playback on Oculus, GearVR, and ViveFocus using the Insta360 VR app for those headsets if you want to view content that way. Also, you can buy a “HoloCase”, as they call it, for various iPhone models that doubles as a glasses-free 3D viewer if you put it on the phone backward–which I have to admit, is smart.
In the app for the camera, we have a Featured feed that shows content from other users taken on the camera that also allows you to follow them like a social network.
We have an album section to show you all of the content you’ve made with the camera that you downloaded to the phone or that is on the camera (if you are connected to it).
There is a tutorial section that shows you how to do some of the novel things you see people do with 360 content on social (think, tiny planets, light painting, etc.).
A settings section for managing the MicroSD card, adjusting the image quality, etc.
And, finally, if you connect to the camera (which you do by turning it on and selecting to connect to it from the app and it’ll do its best to connect to it via Wifi–this part is the biggest pain to me as it needs to do this basically every time and doesn’t always work well), you can use the phone as a controller and viewfinder (since there isn’t one on the camera itself) with settings for the resolution, ISO, exposure, aperture, etc, as well as turning HDR on and off and an option for doing a time-lapse.
Once you capture content, you can then download it to the phone over WiFi Direct and then you can use Insta360’s pretty clever editing software.
So firstly, you can choose the format you want to play it back in if you don’t want to use 360 playback. We have 9:16 wide, 9:16, 1:1 wide, 1:1, 16:9 wide, 16:9, and 2.35:1.
There are options for adding filters, trimming the video, adjusting the speed for sections, and adding music.
Then while playing back the footage you can tap the running guy or tap and hold on the video to get three options.
The first is the Viewfinder option. This lets you use the phone’s accelerometer to decide where the camera should face during that period of time.
Did you see my real-world camera test of the Huawei P30 Pro? It might be the new low-light champ.
Then we have Pivot Points which might be my favorite feature in the app. These allow you to move the view around, tap and hold on any direction and tap Pivot Point to then have the camera automatically slowly pan to that direction. You can chain these together to direct the viewer to whatever you want throughout the entire video.
And finally, we have SmartTrack. This feature works like pivot points except instead of manually setting what you want them to focus on, you can select an object, person, etc. and it’ll track them/it and point the view at the object until it is no longer in the frame or you tell it to stop tracking.
Then you can export it to a social service or to the phone’s storage as either a 360-video or a FixFrame they call it which is a traditional video that just adjusts the frame they see within 360-degrees to whatever you decided using those previous features I mentioned.
There is also support for Premiere which will let you edit the videos in Adobe’s ever-popular Premiere Pro editing program without having to worry about stitching at least so it speeds up the workflow of making a 360/3D video.
Now, personally, I’m not one who ever feels the need to make 3D or even 360-content really so when I first was sent the camera, I honestly wasn’t that excited just more curious. But now that I’ve used it, I think it’s brilliant–let me explain.
One thing that intrigues me about 360 content, isn’t to play it back in 360 (which is a novel thing for posting to social media but not the way most people will ever really want to consume the content, I believe) but instead to use it to create more traditional video like the FixFrame option I mentioned but being able to capture all of the angles possible at once and choosing which angle to use after the fact.
Check out my real-world battery test of the Galaxy S10 if you missed it.
Now, of course, its not going to replace my proper mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses, etc. but if I was going to say do some outdoorsy stuff that I would take a GoPro for, I might grab this instead for the fact it has a higher resolution, is just as stable, and if something cool happens around me in any direction (even things I might not have noticed while filming), I can just tap it in post-production on my phone and have a much more interesting and dynamic adventure video.
Head here for the cheapest price I could find on the Insta360 EVO if you want to check it out.
Let me know what you guys think in the comments below and make sure to subscribe to my weekly email newsletter that goes out every Sunday with all the news, tips and tricks, videos, etc for that week. As always, thanks for reading!