Playing with 360 Photos and Videos

Complex relationships between devices, software

A 360 camera and a fisheye lens are essential tools in my graphics work. I keep updating the tech as it evolves but I keep it simple with the iPhone and devices that work with it.

What is super cool about spheres and the VR world is that you can’t represent it as anything else without significant distortions. We are not at the point, yet, where 3D objects can holographically display to the viewer. Even if when a virtual world is constructed using 3D models, we still view them on a flat-screen. I like this visual trick because a perceptual experience can directly illustrate the nature of consciousness and the translation processing of the mind, hopefully opening people up to embrace new possibilities.

When you are looking a 360 image on a device, you see from inside or outside of it. It is as if you are looking at the shell of a sphere. (The tricky part about viewing 360 images is that the device and the application combination make a difference.) Check out this guy’s video on an old school painting for a 360 viewer to get a sense of the distortion map between a sphere and a flat surface.

Working with the Giroptic iO 360 camera

Working with one specific camera, the Giroptic iO 360 designed for iPhone, the images can be viewed as a real 360 video in only three applications; youtube, facebook, and periscope. You can watch the video flat, but it’s kind of strange. Here are a couple of screenshots of what the 360 video looks like if you watch it flat. The video is distorted, and it is kind of like looking at a paper map and not a globe.



Watching a 360 video in VR

 Watching a 360 video on a mobile device is best. If you have not done it before, it might seem mysterious. In truth the mind is mysterious, and the real magic happens in your brain. The technology in the Merge headset I’m using is fundamentally a magifying lense. The camera turns into two screens, and the VR headset is a little helmet t that makes sure the screens are the correct distance from your head. There are also some crazy strong plastic lenses in there so that you can focus on the screen up close. When you watch the YoutTube video on your phone, a particular icon will show up, and you can click to view it in VR mode. 



What is in the sky and on the floor?

When you watch the YouTube video with your mobile device (see below), then you *should* get the 360 video experience. You don’t need a VR headset, but you do need a compatible web browser application. Many people are familiar with these videos, and they are popular also on Facebook. You have to turn around in place and move the camera like it is a portal into another world. You can point the camera anywhere you want to look, like up and down. There is not a whole lot to see when you look up and down in most videos.

Looking Up

Looking Up

Looking Down

Looking Down

A sample 360 video

While cleaning up and doing a reorganization of tools and supplies I recorded a few minutes in 360. What do you think of the 360 video? Is it more fun and engaging in moving your phone around wherever you want while the video plays?

Artistic 360 images

After understanding the nuts and bolts, here are a two artistic 360 images. (I’m still working on creative video sets.)