Cameras

Not all action cameras are supported by ActionStitch, due to one or more of these problems:

  • Fake 4k/30fps: many action cameras claim to support 4k/30fps yet in reality they shoot at a lower resolution or fps and then interpolate the video to 4k/30 fps, leading to poor video quality.
  • Small sensor size: a good action camera should not have a sensor size smaller than 1/2.3″. Any camera that doesn't explicitly mention the sensor size in the specifications isn't likely to have a large sensor.
  • Dropped frames: some real 4k/30fps action cameras may not have the enough processing power so they will drop video frames from time to time. This creates a difficult problem for video stitching when two videos become out-of-sync.
  • Overheating: many action cameras may shut down after a long period of continuous video recording because of cpu or battery overheating. A slow SD card can also cause this so it is always a good idea to use a sd card with U3 rating.

We have tested the following cameras:

  • Firefly 8SE can only be purchased from AliExpress for around $120 and may take a month to ship to US, but it is the most cost-effective camera for ActionStitch. Videos are crispier than those of Osmo Action. Although it is old (released in 2018), it has the same sensor size as Osmo Action and GoPro 10. The main downside is that it apparently appears to have a quality control issue, as some cameras have blurry areas.
  • Osmo Action would have been among our recommendation list had they not raised the price from $199 to $299 or more after the release of Osmo Action 2. It also has a slight frame dropping issue, although not as severe as some low-end cameras. As a result each half of a game has been be stitched separately. Other than this it doesn't have major drawbacks
  • GoPro Hero 10 Black is the best overall, although it is also the most expensive one. Gopro offers it at $399 with a one-year subscription. After you become a subscriber you can buy the second camera with extra accessories at $399. This camera is almost the perfect one, however we wish the sensor could have been bigger than 1/2.3″. The 5.3k resolution is a plus, but the videos don't look much more sharper than 4k videos shot by other cameras.
  • Firefly X is a successor to Firefly 8SE and that was the main reason we tested it. Its build quality is much improved than Firefly 8SE, but the video clarity isn't. Compared with other cameras, it tend to produce gloomy videos even on sunny days. Like Firefly 8SE, it is only available from AliExpress about about $160.
  • GAMSOD 6k30fps works really well and currently costs $189 on Amazon. You can find it on Amazon by searching GAMSOD 6k30fps. It claims to be able to do 6k but it is unlikely real 6k. At 4k mode the video clarity is on par with GoPro 10. Please be aware that there is a 4k30fps version which is an older and cheaper
    model that has not been tested.

At this time, our suggestion is to get GoPro 10 if your budget allows, and GAMSOD 6k30fps otherwise.

If you already own a camera that is not in the above list and can't decide if it can be used, let us know and we'll help you figure it out. We'll also help you obtain the camera calibration data needed by ActionStitch.

Camera Mount

This drawing illustrates how you would place 2 cameras next to each other.

camera_view.png

Most action cameras have a horizontal Field of View (FOV) of about 120 degrees. Some of them claim to have a 170 degree FOV, which actually means the diagonal FOV. To make the 180 degree view, you'll need to place 2 cameras at an angle of 80 to 90 degrees. This will create an overlapped area of roughly 30 degrees, which should be sufficient for ActionStitch to find a good number of feature points that can be seen by both cameras.

You should also expand the coverage to a little bit more than 180 degrees to give enough space for cropping or in case if cameras are not facing precisely the right direction.

Currently there isn't any dual camera mount available on the market designed for this purpose. But, there are several ways to make one. The recommended way is 3d printing. You can print one from the following list if you own or have access to a 3d printer, or you can use a 3d printing service such as Craftcloud.

Camera Angle Mount
Firefly 8SE 90 firefly_8se.stl
Firefly X 100 firefly_x.stl
Osmo Action 80 osmo_action.stl
GoPro Hero 10 Black 90 gopro_10.stl
GAMSOD 6KFPS 100 gamsod.stl
gopro10_mount.png

If the camera you decide to use is not on the list, please send camera dimensions to us and we'll try to create the 3d model.

It is also possible to make your own mount with an aluminum bar, or modify an off-the-shelf dual camera mount. However, a 3d printed mount is much easier to set up.

Tripods

It is highly recommended that cameras should be placed on a tall tripod, at least 12 feet, to make the video look so much better. There are many tall tripods that are 12 or 13 feet sold as light stands on Amazon but they are perfectly fine to be used as a tripod, as action cameras are usually lightweight.

For outdoor big fields you may need one as tall as 20 feet. Tripods in this range can be quite expensive. The cheapest one that turned out to work well is Glide Gear TST 20, which has a price tag of $299.