Jason from VRColony is working on a wide angle lens solution that will reduce the number of cameras (6) and probably reduce the minimum subject distance. But you'll never get 1ft minimum distance with these rigs. Your best option (IMO) is a 2 camera rig. With fast moving objects, and without global shutter, your going to have nightmares the more cameras you have! In the end, you need to decide what's more important. Easier content creation and freedom, less noticeable errors, more usable footage, high resolution playback, reduced minimum subject distance and simple post production OR 360 3D that is a ton of work and will ALWAYS have issues, unless you have a highly skilled team of post production geniuses. Even then, it'll display at half the resolution of 2D. iZugar have wide angle camera rigs similar to what Jason is working on. But they are GoPro, not Yi. They have 2, 3 and 6 camera rigs. The 6 camera is 3D 360, probably very similar to what Jason is buil ding. Here's an iZugar demo on the 2 camera rig, and you can see the minimum subject distance is about 1ft like you need. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoeGnUP7A7o iZugar website: http://www.izugar.com
Thanks Paul! Good info here. Jon, your project sounds really interesting - candid wildlife photos/video would be an incredible subject for 3D 360 VR. It sounds like you'd be looking at some degree of customization to your rig - to remotely power-on your cameras, for example. The 18-camera rig I've posted about on this site has a minimum subject distance of about 5 feet, like you've posted. If you lose the 3-camera zenith and go with 1 or 2 cameras on top, you can get all the lenses closer together - with no space between stereo pairs. The camera I'm about to Kickstart has a closer minimum distance, and a more 'round' 3D effect (objects are less like cardboard cutouts). I need to run for now, but I'll be back later to talk about addressing ghosting in post - you have some options, sometimes :)
Alright, so here's one method I've used to address ghosting from subjects being too close to the camera. As you know, the greater the parallax between left and right eye images, the 'closer' the subject will appear. At infinite distance (distant background), there should be no visible difference between left and right eye images. If there's too much parallax with close subjects, one option is to slide one view horizontally, to shrink this distance. For example, sliding the 'right-eye' view to the right shrinks the parallax of close subjects, and a slight adjustment here helps you resolve this image. However - this approach negatively affects the stereo perception of any distant background in your scene. If your distant background was originally identical between left- and right-eye images, shifting one image in this way [will tow your eyes out like this.](//muut.com/u/vrcolony/s1/:vrcolony:lM55:1362135219_franken02.jpg.jpg) So, it's not a good choice for many situations, but for shots where you lack di stant backgrounds (interiors, or possibly even a forest clearing) it can help address accidental ghosting from subjects too close to the camera.