Insta360 X3 - The most High-Tech Camera on the Planet!?
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The most famous sequence ever from the Matrix movie took no less than 120 cameras filming all at the same time from slightly different angles. But take this one camera, swing it around your head like this, and it can do the entire thing on its own. I'm not built for movie stunts. In fact, thanks to some clever engineering, seriously cool programming, and more accessories than I've ever seen in my entire 12 years of reviewing tech, this new Insta360 X3, the sponsor of this video, has the capability of an entire film crew. So here are the top 10 things that have amazed me the most.
So at the very base level, this is an action camera, like a GoPro. It clips to your waist, your shoes, your head, you run around like a hooligan, and it'll get a first person perspective in 4K resolution. And just like a GoPro, it's rugged and waterproof up to 33 feet.
But then, we can level things up further with dash cam mode, which lets the camera just continuously record the entire time while only actually saving the last few minutes. Which means that if anything happens on the road, you'll always have the footage, but the storage will never fill up. But the really cool part of this is that because you also have a camera here, you can...
What the f***? It can also record you, which is something that I've actually seen a lot of dedicated drivers buy two separate dashcams to be able to achieve. Or like, look how much this thing is shaking right now. And this is the footage that comes as a result of that.
But the magic only really starts to happen when you use both cameras at the same time. The 360 part of the Insta360. And what's quite cool is that because of the upgraded sensors sitting behind these lenses, the resulting 360 video is not 1080p or 4K.
This is 5.7K resolution footage, which is two times the number of pixels of 4K. And if you want to take a photo, it's pumping out 72 megapixels per shot.
SHOOT THEN REFRAME
Here's the thing, right? Being able to shoot 360 videos, it's way more useful than I actually thought it would be. So one of the problems that I tend to have whenever I'm shooting anything in a more vlog-like style is I can never decide whether or not I should be shooting using the front camera to get my face or the rear camera to capture what I'm actually seeing. But the beauty of vlogging with a 360 camera is that you can just record. You can completely forget about it in the moment and just focus on soaking it in, literally. And then just decide later what you want to see when you actually have both options in front of you for any given scene. I remember seeing a really cool tweet from someone using an older model of one of these. They were cycling to work and they noticed some guy on the sidewalk react in a really strange way. But it's only when they went back later and reframed that they realized it's because there was a flowerpot on top of a building that fell and nearly whacked him on the head. Plus, zooming in and around this 360 footage is actually crazy. You can make the environment seem like it's caving in around you, or like you're on your own tiny little planet, or just like you have a seriously wonky walk. I can't stop laughing at this. Okay, hold on a second.
INVISIBLE SELFIE STICK
How is this actually possible? How do you have a camera that's recording everything around you at once, and then how do you do that without picking up any part of the camera or the stick that's holding it? I think this is so clever. What this company's done is equipped each of its two cameras with a lens that allows them to see a 210 degree field of view. And this means that at a certain point, about 50 centimeters away from the cameras, their views will cross, and everything beyond that will be captured. But that 50 centimeters until that point also serves as a tactical blind spot where the selfie stick hides. But you know what's not invisible? That subscribe button. And a sub to the channel would be... Instant. Yeah. And when you pair that stick invisibility with a clever bit of AI that can identify you, you get Me Mode.
Which is this very bizarre, almost out-of-body experience, where you don't need to think about anything while recording, and yet based on the output, it almost looks like there's a drone following you, flying perfectly in sync with you, and always keeping you at the center of attention. It can be in front of you, it can be behind you, it can be 10 feet in the air above you. But then you might be thinking, Okay, this camera is recording from every single direction at once. Surely the audio is gonna sound grim. I was expecting it to be full of background noise. But what they've done is rigged the X3 with four microphones, one on each side. And the clever part is that they've allowed each of these mics to record its own separate audio track, which means that the camera knows what sounds are coming from which directions. The payoff being that whichever direction you want to focus on, the camera can focus its audio pickup from that mic, and therefore that direction only.
And the cool thing is that it almost eliminates the audio from all the other directions. And even if you're adjusting your viewpoint after you've filmed your footage, you can literally hear different conversations depending on where you look in the frame. Oh, and then the cherry on top is that you can also mount external mics if you want professional audio. And so all of this stuff together, the fact that it's an action camera, it's a dashcam, soon to be a webcam too with an incoming update, a 360 cam with sound that you don't even need to think about, means that if I was to ever go into a vlogging channel, this would most likely be the camera that I would do it with. And that is not even factoring in the viral effect.
Check this out. You get your X3, which is fine because it's waterproof. And tell me this isn't the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. The perspective is actually so ridiculous and unique that I've seen multiple times on my TikTok feed, people using these for regular activities, finding themselves with tens of millions of views. And then where this camera really levels up is when you pair this well thought out hardware with artificially intelligent software that is built around it. So for example, you might've realized that I have a massive soft spot for photo editing. This is why I had so much appreciation for Google when they introduced that magic eraser option or Xiaomi when they introduced the option to swap out the sky in photos you've taken. Well, imagine my face when I realized that using a similar kind of AI, the X3 can swap out skies in not just static photos, but moving 5.7K 360 degree video.
And now just before number one, I can't not mention flow state stabilization. Most of us have grown up with the idea that the filming of ultra stable footage looks something like this or like this or like this, but these guys had a different solution. See most cameras have a field of view like this. And so their best way to stabilize is to zoom into that picture a little bit. And then when the camera moves down to just move upwards in that frame to reduce the amount of sudden downwards movement.
But because this thing has 360 degrees of vision, it has far more room to be able to adjust its viewpoint within each frame to make it seem like the rules of physics don't even apply to it. Like this is me going for a morning jog. And if you can see how much the camera is shaking right now, it almost doesn't make sense that this is the footage it's capturing while doing that. And this flow state stabilization is the backbone of what allows every single other feature to work as smoothly as it does. It makes the object tracking easier on the eyes. It makes the third person view more believable. It's the only reason you can take 8K time lapses that are stitched together to look this fluid. And it's all reinforced by horizon leveling, which means that as well as this continuous graceful movement, it can also lock its orientation upwards no matter which way the camera is actually facing, which leads to crazy stuff like this.
But very little comes close to the fact that this camera, well actually I guess the app that comes with it, can edit your videos for you. It's already got tons of tools to make your editing easier.
Like the option to use your phone's gyroscope to be able to reframe footage as you're watching it, a full on desktop editing suite for your computer, or how it allows you to use the exact same base footage and still be able to output both a horizontal video for YouTube and a vertical video for TikTok. But when you just can't be bothered, or when you're like me and your entire life revolves around making videos anyway, then all you need to do is to click this button. It'll comb through all the footage you want it to, it'll figure out where you're walking, what you're looking at, your facial expressions at each point, and it picks those clips, carefully zooming in and out to focus on those highlights, adds transitions between scene changes, adds music and syncs it up to those transitions, and then gives you a finished product. Link in the description to get an X3, plus a free selfie stick.