Google have added 4K, they’ve added 3D and today we have confirmed they will be adding 360 video to YouTube. The announcement came from 360 degree camera maker Giroptic. They claim to have ‘the world’s first ture 360 degree HD camera’. Given there’s others who have created 360 cameras, I quizzed them on their definition of ‘true’.
The Giroptic 360 camera is more than just the camera itself, it’s an ecosystem. The camera itself obviously films video in all directions around you, which actually captures what’s happening at that time. With a normal camera, you film people and by the time you see their reaction, whatever occurred to cause their reaction has passed and no matter how great your snap pan capabilities are, you will never capture the whole moment with traditional photography or video.
By capturing everything, you get the whole scene and what’s better is you get to re-experience the same scene in many different ways, after the fact. After filming the video, the footage can then be watched on a smartphone app, which uses the accelerometer to rotate around the environment. This means you turn around with the phone in your hand and you see the scene behind the camera, turn around and you’ll see the front.
The example footage was of a rollercoaster ride which was a hell of an experience, particularly when you get to look straight down the path of the oncoming turns, or back at the terrified passengers. This gets a whole lot more interesting if you have a VR headset like Oculus Rift.
On show at the CES2015: Unveiled event in Las Vegas, the 360 camera footage allowed you to simply turn your head and see all around you, this was immersion. It’s one thing to do this with images, like Google Streetview, but another entirely to do it with video.
This brings us to the YouTube support. Oculus Rift is great, but not everyone has it, but what most of us have is access to YouTube. After Google switches on this capability, users will be able to switch to a 360 degree mode, but the same way you turn on 3D now. This allows people with the 360 degree camera, to be sure their footage can be seen by the world. If the user is on their mobile device with accelerometer, then it should work after a quick device feature check. If you’re on a traditional PC, Google may add panning controls like they do in Google earth.
You can already use the camera to create your own Google Street Views, something Google enabled last year. Sure you can shoot geospheres with your Android phone, but this is far more efficient. Google actually already have support for the 360 view on Google+.
There’s one more trick the camera has. With an adapter, the camera can be used as a 360 degree webcam. Just clip it into the adapter, plug it into the light socket and connect to your WiFI. This is what I mean by an ecosystem, they’ve thought through the opportunities of 360 degree cameras and are even investigating 3rd party API support.
Now for the video, it is a 360 degree panning video of a rollercoaster ride doing loops, you have been warned.