As the use of virtual reality and augmented reality (AR / VR) increases in video games and other forms of interactive entertainment, tourism, new audiovisual experiences, etc., photography and 360 video are increasingly used. As its name suggests, a 360° camera captures the world around it. This technology has been very popular in recent years with dozens of models available.
But the market has not grown as much as expected and big brands, including Samsung, have left the market. However, there are a large number and types of cameras that will be seen below, as well as uses and tools to create this digital content.
360 cameras, also known as omnidirectional cameras, have a 360° field of view to capture almost everything around the sphere-shaped lenses. Typically, 360 cameras are needed when large fields of view need to be covered, but also when taking panoramic photos. Currently, virtual reality feature films that require professional 360 cameras are being explored.
While its use is being explored in robotic designs. The experience provided by a 360 camera is very different from that offered by action cameras, drones and even cameras with wide angle lenses. By using a 360° camera, you are closer to capturing the full experience along with a full view of the area you are in. It’s like taking your viewers where you are and letting them see what the camera can see. Nowadays, many 360 cameras are small and light, so they can be carried at any time.
Although to use it correctly, a tripod is necessary to stabilize the image and, most importantly, to have a clean image without the person records or their hands holding the camera. 360 cameras normally connect to smartphones easily via wifi or Bluetooth. This makes the transfer, editing, processing and use easier and faster.
What options exist in the market?
Many tech companies continue to release different 360 camera models due to their increasing popularity. Today, there are many options to choose from and they vary in different ways: price, ergonomics, size and appearance. Although fundamentally one must differentiate between amateur and professional use, the latter for the production of high-quality audiovisual content.
Most work by using various components in the camera, usually two back-to-back wide-angle lenses, that allows images to be captured that can then be digitally combined into a fully spherical interaction video or image, or more usefully, into a standard two-dimensional interaction video, built to from frames. That said, there are many differences between them.
The best 360 cameras include features like auto-stitching (saving you the hassle of manually aligning multiple shots), image stabilization, live streaming, and resolution, ranging up to 8K in some cases and 11K in professional ones. Other functions, such as GPS, wifi and slow motion modes, will depend on what and how the sequence has to be recorded.
Uses of 360 images
360 video formats
There are two types of 360 videos, monoscopic and stereoscopic. Monoscopic interaction videos are basically flat representations captured by 360 spherical cameras. The viewer or user can move through the captured space, but has no depth perception. This is the most common type that can be found in 360 cameras.
Mapping and virtual tours are the most popular applications in interaction video and monoscopic images, such as Google Street View. The applications used in the real estate sector to show a house, in new audiovisual formats in movies and also in social networks, are using images with 360 cameras to make the most of the recorded environment.
Although the greatest potential comes from stereoscopic videos, widely used in advanced virtual reality applications. Stereoscopic video is based on monoscopic images that allow the creation of 3D representations of each shot, using a separate input for each eye. This format is the most common type of 360 video and is supported by 360 video players like YouTube and Facebook.
Afterwards, the stereoscopic video usually needs to be shot with two lenses, each camera associated with a field of view so that the end result can be viewed through virtual reality goggles. The 3D aspects are what give depth perception to stereoscopic broadcasts and make virtual reality feel more realistic.
Virtual attendance at live events
With the advent of smartphone-based virtual reality headsets, sports and events are using 360 cameras to bring live games and concerts directly to sports and music fans who can’t attend the event in person. Multiple cameras are placed around the sports center or stage and are capable of showing the viewer closer, high-definition shots.
Creating a virtual space in 360 degrees
The next step is to create the VR environment and generate content. To do this, you can take pictures using a camera prepared to capture the 360 environment such as Ricoh Theta, GoPro Max or Insta360. Then, pass it to a virtual tour generator like Momento360 (momento360.com) or Roundme (roundme.com), you can also have your own editor with Pano2VR.
Instead, the real power of 360 captures can be found to be in reframing spherical video into a two-dimensional 16:9 frame. Software editing tools, usually mobile phone-based (but desktop software is also available in some cases), allow you to set viewing angles for shots and pan or crop footage to switch between them. This allows you to direct the viewer’s attention.
It’s common for small camcorders to capture images in 4K, a format that stretches the most, but stretching those pixels out over a 360° sphere can reduce image quality. Because of this, top-tier 360 cameras offer a resolution higher than 5K, which is enough to take sharp 2K (1080p) video by reframing the shots. Once the video is stitched into a flat equirectangular projection, you can edit it like any other video file.
The latest version of Adobe Premiere Pro CC easily handles 360° images; it generates them in a format that you can upload directly to YouTube or Facebook. There is other video editing software like Pinnacle Studio Ultimate which makes it easy to edit 360 videos. The camera does the work of capturing the footage from every possible angle. However, in video editing software, you can refine your footage to tell the story you want to show.
Welcome to our blog! My name is Yuvraj Kore, and I am a blogger who has been exploring the world of blogging since 2017. It all started back in 2014 when I attended a digital marketing program at college and learned about the intriguing world of blogging.