Immersive (360 ° video) - a brief overview of modern technology

    A recent publication on one of the popular Runet sites pushed me to do a small review of the current state of the technology of the so-called immersive (“surround”, 3D 360 °) video. For those who may have a similar had ever seen, in a nutshell it can be described as the Google Street General View Take , only instead of a static picture video is used.

    Immersive video - video recording of a real place / event, providing for simultaneous shooting of the image in all directions (with coverage up to 90..96% of the conventional sphere around the camera, except for its stand). When playing, it allows the viewer to control (with the mouse, using the touch-screen or turning the head in the case of using special glasses) the direction of observation, the degree of approximation, and also the speed of display [ Wikipedia ] .

    It’s easier and faster to understand this, of course, with examples: 1 , 2 , 3 (do not forget to work with the mouse :)

    Where it can be useful: mapping and geo-exploration, video surveillance and military training / training, tourist surveys, etc. sights, real estate and other objects for sale, advertising, shooting of historical events and TV programs, as well as, quite possibly, a completely new format of feature films. If the technology goes to the masses and becomes more or less affordable financially, of course, just for fun :)

    Searching the network has revealed several projects that are actively involved in development in this direction. This, in particular:

    Immersive Media ( formerlyon Habré) - an American company, created in 1994, the first immersive video was shot in 1995. In 2004, the first spherical fully digital video camera (Dodeca System) was developed. Since 2006, they have been developing the GeoImmersive City Collect project, a video analogue of Google Street View for large cities in the USA and Canada (for some reason, I didn’t find a site with these videos, however). Passed IPO, traded on the market. For some time, StreetView photographic data was provided for Google, but then the company’s tracks seemed to diverge.

    IM Key Product - Dodeca 2360 Camera. In short: a dodecahedron with 11 lenses, shoots 30 fps video (2400x1200 pixels / frame); weighs ~ 11.34 kg and can be installed on various vehicles, as well as through a special frame to be hung on the back (including parachutists , surfers , etc.). Video can be supplemented with metadata (e.g., GPS coordinates of the survey).

    Although the IM is no longer engaged in shooting for Google, it uses the latest camera Dodeca 2360. They stand, judging by everything, a lot - $ 45,000 plus every mile of the finished video cost another $ 125-700 (only the US has knurled at at least 50 thousand miles).

    It is logical that the company developed its flash player to display its videos; provides an SDK for embedding video in third-party applications (there are interfaces for C ++, C #, ActiveX, XPCOM).
    Develops the IM GIS Viewer application (Fig. Below), which allows you to simultaneously watch immersive video and observe the location of the camera on the map, as well as tools for marking points, saving frames, and so on. A good video description of this application can be seen here .

    And finally, there are many examples of immersive videos, for example, under water , base jumping , roller coasters and so on.

    Another company I managed to find is yellowBird. This one is much younger and smaller, was founded by Marc Groothelm and Rafaël Redczus in March 2009.

    They use a camera with 6 lenses, generating up to 1200 Mbps of data, with a stereo microphone that records sound at 96 kHz. It is also very small and can be mounted on vehicles or worn by humans .

    At the moment, it is supposedly used mainly for shooting various festivals, but in principle it can be used for other needs mentioned above. Actually, the network has only one example of their work, just “festival”.

    In general, the idea seems to be "lying on the surface", and the technologies necessary for its implementation are quite accessible, therefore it is likely that there are other initiatives in this direction.

    Other interesting topics:

    * It is known that a similar technology is used by the American military to train their soldiers (by the way, glasses for VR are used there and control is possible with head turns) - video .

    * For those who can not afford the Dodeca 2360, there are already more budget options, for example, LadyBug2 (8 Sony 1/3 "CCD cameras of 0.8 megapixels, covering 75% of the space; picture 1024x768 at 30 fps via IEEE-1394b interface ). It costs about $ 10,000 (used to be sold here for $ 7,500 :)

    * is a fresh (since June 2009) blog about 360 ° video.

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