I was not particularly excited about meeting another 360 degree camera company when I sat down with Rylo last week. It's not that the technology is not interesting, or that there is no future – it's just that it's like if the market had been flooded with these devices in recent years, and from what I can say, apart from some fearless YouTubers, no one really seems to use them. For the majority of us, 360 video is, at best, an occasional novelty.
But this Bay Area startup has the stuff of something different. The original idea of a pair of Instagram expats (Alex Karpenko and Chris Cunningham), the company uses technology to enhance video in the standard format. Of course, the company's first piece of eponymous material can be filmed in 4K 360, thanks to a pair of 208-degree wide-angle lenses, but the most fascinating part of the product is what happens when you shrink format. In this format, it is a 16: 4 format in 1080p.
Using the full frame, Rylo's software gets to work by almost completely reducing the tremor, even in racing, cycling or any other time that causes a shaking hand. The company showed the application in action during a briefing before launch, and I must say that I was quite impressed with the results. In the short demo, it was pretty much like what you can capture using a cardan stabilizer or whatever.
The editing capabilities are also impressive. Built-in motion tracking lets you choose an object that the image should follow – and all of this is done in post-production. The follow-up is not perfect; it will lose its fixed point if something passes between the camera and the objects, but it works well to create interesting post panoramas.
There are a bunch of other software tricks, including a split screen that includes video front and back side by side and a pretty solid time-lapse function that goes up to the end. at 16 times the standard speed. The device will be launched with iOS compatibility, with Android "coming". Interestingly, there is no Bluetooth on board, so you have to attach it via microUSB. This seems to be a bit of a blind spot in 2017, even though live streaming is also a bit far for a product that depends so much on post-production.
The design of the material is rather solid. The company employed Jonathan Denby, a former Apple design engineer who was working on the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 6s Plus to create it. It also comes with a free selfie-stick type handle to help you get out of the picture when shooting 360 video.
There is no optical zoom on board, and the camera seemed to have some difficulty in low light, but the overall results are impressive for a first-generation project. The company has already secured a good deal of financing, with $ 3.56 million in seed funding and $ 11 million for its Series A, led by Access and Sequoia.
The Rylo will not be cheap – it's available now for pre-order for $ 499 (including a 16GB microSD card). It starts shipping in the middle of next month.