Archive for June, 2011

Fully Immersive Video, Are We There Yet ?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

A few days ago, I was playing a video on my phone and my 4-year-old wanted to see what was on the left, and dragging left on the screen as the video played.

It seemed so intuitive and natural — why should we be limited to the current narrow viewing angle?

This gave me an idea.

The idea would be to place multiple digital cameras on a stand to cover a 360- or 180-degree view of an area, then with a custom video encoder or player you combine the videos to create a large 360-degree video viewing experience. Combine that with video glasses, and you’d get a fully immersive video experience.

As the video played, you’d move your head left and right to see all possible angles in a movie.

I did some research and found out that all the technology exists and is accessible.

Companies like Immersive Media or YellowBird have 360-degree video cameras and software to create and deliver 360-degree movies. There are examples at entertainment demo and yellow bird blog. There’s a nice flash player that lets you look around as the video is playing.

A startup, Kogeto, is also coming up with a very accessible solution called Dot that lets you do 360-degree videos. It’s an add-on you snap on your iPhone. You can easily play the videos and drag to view all around. (My 4-year-old will love it).

The video glasses I was talking about also exist and are getting more affordable — Zetronics, VuzixEzgear, and the incredible Lumus VR glasses are just a few examples.

VR glasses

If we put those two technologies together with a gyroscope, we can get a true immersive video experience.

It could be great for events where the action happens everywhere: carnivals, concerts, parades, sports ….

Now, we can push this a bit further using Vuzix or Lumus, both of which have see-through technology with special 3-D videos on green screen. If we used those, we could mix a video with reality resulting in some interesting augmented reality applications.

Imagine you like to work out or do yoga at home, but don’t like doing it alone.

You could put the glasses and connect to a virtual yoga class. The teacher and other students would then appear in your own room all around you.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?