VR headsets are increasing in popularity and is a great way to consume 360 videos. YouTube has supported 360 videos for some time now. Facebook recently enabled the ability to post 360 videos on their platform. Our ministry of tourism should jump on this, as it is a great way to promote Trinidad and Tobago. I was reminded today that I had liked the 360 TT page on facebook (website – 360tt.tech) and I rushed to connect with them to give them some exposure on my blog. They have some nice examples on their facebook page. Here are answers to some questions I asked them.
How did the idea come about?
The idea came about when I was exploring the app store one evening, earlier in March. I came across a social app that allowed its users to post rudimentary 360 photos and videos with audio taken with their cellphone. I put on my earbuds and found myself in the middle of people’s messy bedrooms, anniversary parties, looking around, listening to ambient conversation. One poster was a refugee living in Sweden, describing what he likes about his new environs etc. I was captivated. The next morning I ordered a pair of Google’s cheap cardboard VR headsets. After diving right into it I knew that I had to bring this home, in some way shape or form. There is a high level of empathy attached to the 360 viewing medium that can now be experienced readily due to technological advancements. The territory is fresh and uncharted in many ways and we’re currently defining the rules and techniques as we speak.
Who are the person(s) behind 360 TT?
Mainly myself, Tristan. A background in Computer Science, A/V production/post production and photography. Team members are in and out so as soon as we find some permanence they’ll be listed.
Who can benefit from 360 videos in Trinidad?
The short answer is really … everyone who has something to share. On a professional level, I see a large interest in live event coverage, concerts, conventions etc. Huge promotional impact. Then you have more personal events, weddings etc. where you may have a cousin or friend who lives overseas and can’t attend in person, we offer live streaming in 360 degrees that puts them there, in the moment, better than anything else.
Right now we use a spherical-lens Ricoh Theta S model camera with a Samsung Gear 360 on the way (as soon as Samsung gets their things together).
Where is the tech heading?
As with anything tech, you’re looking at cheaper and more consumer ready. Right now there is still a lot of technical maneuvering involved in working with 360 that may deter the casual photo enthusiast. The quality factor of course is also set to improve over time, especially with regards to social media.
What are some of the challenges in capturing 360 videos?
When capturing 360 content there are quite a few challenges that a traditional shooter might face. Making use of the frame: now that frame is everything, all around you, you have to take ample time to ensure everything in view of the camera is set the way you need it to be. (This may include figuring how to get yourself out of view).
Another huge challenge is lighting, unless it’s a specialty case, you probably won’t want your big, fancy studio lights in your shot and these cameras typically don’t use flashes (they’d show up in the shot too). Understanding and employing natural lighting is important.
What website(s) would you recommend to learn more about 360 videos?
Honestly, I can’t say off the bat, most of what google throws at you will be of great use. I do recall Ken Rockwell (popular gear reviewer) having a decent and comprehensive review of the Theta S on his web blog (kenrockwell.com). You should also check out YouTube as a comprehensive resource. We’ll even be uploading tutorials to our channel in the near future.
The tech behind 360 videos?
Basically, a 360 video is a traditional, full panoramic video that is later decoded or “stitched” in a 3D environment when being played or viewed on your device. The same thing goes for photos.