Archive for the ‘News and Announcements’ Category

YouTube for iOS gets full Google Cardboard support

http://techcrunch.com/2016/05/16/youtube-for-ios-gets-full-google-cardboard-support/

YouTube’s Android app has had full Cardboard support since November, but iPhone users have been sorely out of luck. With today’s release, iOS users can now tap the icon in the top-right of any video to get the option to view it in VR mode.

This is huge news for mobile VR as YouTube essentially just opened up what is likely the largest iOS virtual reality content library.

 

Google Announces Virtual Reality “Daydream” Headset, Controllers and Ecosystem

http://immersiveeducation.org/scoop/Google-VR-announced

At its annual I/O developer conference today, Google is showing off a reference design for a new virtual reality headset that builds on the success of the Cardboard unit it launched back in 2014. The headset is part of Google’s new Daydream initiative, a mobile VR platform baked into Android N. As with Android, Google wants its hardware partners to build and sell their own Daydream devices. And in a surprise move, Daydream’s system doesn’t just use a headset — it also features a new kind of control system for mobile VR…

 

Q&A: Mad Max stuntman on VR and movies

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11640687

Is it hard to sell the idea of VR while high-end headsets remain prohibitively expensive and many people haven’t been able to try out the technology?

It depends on who you’re pitching to. Suicide Squad’s VR portions were filmed for marketing purposes. It takes some work figuring out how to monetise these experiences.

 

 

 

Inside Megadeth’s Virtual Reality Adventure

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/inside-megadeths-virtual-reality-adventure-20160120

“We’re hoping for something that is completely mind-blowing, and we’re doing something that to the best of my knowledge hasn’t been done yet by any metal bands and maybe not any bands at all,” Mustaine tells Rolling Stone during a break in shooting.

The virtual reality performance footage will be included in a special edition of Dystopia, packaged with the visor and instructions on how to download an app that allows you view the immersive mini-concert via your smartphone. The five-song set unfolds amid flashing lights, layers of fog and the “dystopian world” introduced in the music video for “The Threat Is Real.”

That grim scenario is hardly new for Megadeth, which has explored doom, death and corrupt geopolitics in their songs and imagery from the band’s early Eighties beginning. The band’s name, says Ellefson, refers to the body count after a nuclear confrontation, and “that theme has carried through from the very original artwork.”

 

 

 

Incite Mixes Heavy Metal and Virtual Reality in Their New Video (Exclusive)

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2016/05/18/incite-mixes-heavy-metal-and-virtual-reality-in-their-new-video-exclusive/

Cavalera says the new technology enables bands to give their fans new ways to experience the music and how it all comes together. He imagines virtual-reality cameras capturing aspects of live shows that create new experiences, such as having fans witness the mayhem of a pit from directly above, or putting them in the position of the band members on stage.

The “Life’s Disease” video, meanwhile, places the viewer directly in the middle of terrifying scenarios. “We trap the audience in various 360-degree environments where we built an occult underworld packed with imagery that’s designed to whip viewers into a state of frenzy,” Sexton says in an email. There’s a seance scene replete with flashing lights and nightmarish specters, and there are moments set in an insane asylum.

 

The Ultimate VR 360 Camera Buying Guide

http://www.vrheadsets3d.com/vr-news/ultimate-vr-360-camera-buying-guide/

Making the correct choice depends on what you really need and, of course, your wallet’s capability. If you’re looking to simply carry a 360 camera as you go on your outdoor adventures for the sake of capturing your experiences, then the cheaper 2D cameras should do fine. However, if you’re looking to produce professional-level video quality, then the much pricier 3D cameras are a good investment. Everything just comes down to preferences and needs, like in most gadgets.

 

HOW THE MILITARY IS INCORPORATING VR INTO TROOP TRAINING

https://unimersiv.com/military-incorporating-vr-troop-training/?ref=fb

Simulating the actual battlefield for soldiers who will be facing combat is possibly the strongest area in which virtual reality can prepare troops during training. In the past, popular movies and books were the closest examples a new soldier had of a war zone. Today they can become fully immersed in a virtual program that helps them train their senses to be fully aware of what is happening without the risk of actual harm, helping them know what to expect when they are ready for battle. The three-dimensional environment allows the soldier to move around and interact with the environment for the closest experience to the real thing.

Some virtual reality programs extend beyond troop training as well. Some troops have found great relief from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through virtual reality therapy. Soldiers can learn to deal with their symptoms and become exposed to their triggers in a safe environment, protecting themselves and their loved ones in the process.

 

 

How will virtual reality change our lives?

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36279855

The therapist tries to mimic what the patient is talking about in their trauma narrative. And eventually by confronting it with therapists, you start to see post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms start to diminish.

We’ve used VR to help people with high-functioning autism be more effective at job interviews. This involves having them practise their interviews with a wide range of interviewers – different age, gender, ethnic background, and different levels of provocativeness.

We know that the brain is quite good at suspending disbelief, so even though people know these aren’t real people, they relate to them as if they are.

This is why VR is so compelling, because whatever is learned in those worlds hopefully will benefit how the person translates their behaviour in the real world.

 

 

 

History of Virtual Reality

http://srushtiimx.com/history-of-virtual-reality/

Post World War II, VR kicked off as a Flight Simulator for the military, and later for guiding tanks and ships. Millions were invested in this technology which showed great potential. The technology was already spreading its wings around the world, but the term Virtual Reality became popular only a little after 1980s.

 

 

Studio 360

The pioneers who are making the first virtual-reality narratives.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/04/25/making-movies-with-virtual-reality
Luis Blackaller, a producer at Wevr, said, “We all liked the concept. We had only a few choices to make.” Like most V.R. crews, Bravo and her team would shoot with GoPros—cheap, shatterproof cameras that are marketed to extreme athletes, not filmmakers. Matthew Niederhauser, a cinematographer, noted that most V.R. experiences are viewed on phones, and said, “You can shoot with big, expensive lenses, but what’s the point?”

An engineer at Wevr built a camera rig out of aluminum and sandbags, to minimize jostling, and the crew did a test shoot with the rig in the passenger seat. “Watching it, you had to turn around the whole time to make sure you weren’t missing anything in the back of the car, which felt annoying,” Blackaller said. So they decided to film from the back right seat instead. Bravo tweaked her screenplay to remove minor cinematic vestiges—insert shots, subtle blocking details—that would be either irrelevant or impossible in V.R.

“Then we had another big conversation,” Blackaller said. “Do we film a dummy?” In some V.R. experiences, the viewer feels invisible; in others, one can look down to see one’s body represented onscreen. In a clumsily animated V.R. segment produced by another company, I experienced a nightmarish version of the latter: I flew through the air, my legs dangling below me, scrawny and immovable. My arms were those of a white man in his thirties, which happened to match my anatomy but might have been distracting, if not alarming, to most humans. And when I craned my actual neck downward I saw a sharp line where my virtual neck ended, leaving a black void where my head was supposed to be.

 

Google IO!

Google IO started yesterday so there was a lot of hype around VR.

Nick Bicanic made some interesting predictions:

1. Tethered VR headsets are a speedbump. No one wants to have wires attached to their heads and while of course Uncharted 4 in VR could be awesome – the same rule will apply as for cameras in the early days of the iphone. What’s the best camera for the job?…..The one you always have with you.

2. Full-size Mobile Headsets (GearVR/Google Daydream) are also doomed – because no one (NO ONE) will carry these things around. The only thing I ever carry around with me is http://www.homido.com/en/mini and I’m not the only one Marco DeMiroz

3. So that leaves us with Magic Window or finger swiping on a screen to view bits of the surroundings until such time as something the size of of pair of sunglasses (or smaller – or even…contact lenses) can handle VR.

I know I know. People will say “spinning around your phone is not the same thing as watching a whale swim underwater!!!!” –

yeah sure.
I agree with you.

But that’s irrelevant if no-one will do it.

The point of my pronouncement is that if I’m even half-right we should be shorting Samsung and Apple.

Because Samsung needs Android more than the world needs GearVR. Google will demand that Samsung Galaxy phones accept the new VR styled Google Play in order to have access to Maps, Gmail, Contacts, Gtalk etc etc – and Samsung will cave. Which means Oculus store go bye bye.

As for Facebook – well that is interesting…by integrating voice calls into its messenger and thinking that Photo/Social Network communication is taken care of then in theory they just hold people within their app. Which is a great strategy if there is more than one O/S. For example you could have Facebook on Hololens, Facebook on iPhone etc etc – just like you do now.

But unless Facebook makes a phone (AND a phone O/S) (which has been rumored for a while) they will NOT own the operating system of the future (as Mark Z. suggested VR was). Google will.

Hmmm. MSFT doesn’t need cash – but has Hololens in a very interesting position….if Hololens was a private company Facebook would buy it for whatever money was necessary to shore up Oculus position.

My question is then – how does Facebook pivot Oculus to Mobile without making a mobile O/S? It already supports 360 video in Facebook app – which is great – but not enough to transition to AR and exercise some control. So who do you buy if you are Facebook? Magic Leap is overvalued (and Google is in it to the tune of 300mil). Meta? ODG? Hmmm….Facebook buying ODG – that could be interesting wink emoticon

As for Apple – right now it’s neither a premium player nor is it a lowest-common-denominator player. It’s just sitting on the sidelines. By the time it gets up – it’ll be too late…

 

Here is the 360 interactive live stream of the IO keynote:

 

 

 

NEW VR APP GIVES A GLIMPSE OF THE PAST, AND A PROMISE OF FUTURE REVENUES

http://3dvrcentral.com/2016/05/06/new-vr-app-gives-glimpse-past-promise-future-revenues/

Effectively a virtual time machine, Timelooper helps users travel back in time by watching animated historical scenes using a smartphone app and headset, currently being tested in London and New York. What makes Timelooper unusual is the way it is tied to the physical location and how it can generate revenue for itself and its business partners.

“Timelooper is an open virtual reality platform for cultural and historic locations,” says founder Yigit Yigiter. “We create content in-house and host third-party content, and when we monetise content via the app we share revenue with the content owner.”

Like most app start ups, Timelooper considers multiple revenue sources. “The app is free but we will have in-app purchases like premium content, advertising and a few other revenue streams,” he says.

 

The Nauseating Disappointment of Oculus Rift

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601375/the-nauseating-disappointment-of-oculus-rift/#/set/id/601399/

But reliable consumer VR is still in its infancy. The games, films, and other virtual experiences that people are making for these gadgets are very much experimental; it’s hard to know just what will and won’t work until a lot of headset-wearing folks like me have spent time trying this stuff out.

And when things don’t work just right, VR can literally make you ill, or at least uncomfortable. Some issues can pop up with the hardware itself, like visual jittering. Others relate to the ways content is made—things like rapid acceleration and deceleration can make you feel sick because what you see isn’t matching up with what your body feels.

 

Watch the first sample footage from GoPro’s six-camera Omni VR rig

http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/5/11599736/gopro-omni-vr-360-degree-video-clip

The Omni, when it ships later this year, will help filmmakers eliminate that hassle of needing to build their own rig. (If they want to go all-out, they can buy a 16-camera rig that GoPro built with Google for $15,000.) GoPro started taking preorders for the Omni last month; the company is charging $5,000 for six Hero 4 Black cameras plus all the necessary hardware and software, or $1,500 for just the frame.

 

Riding ‘TheWave’: How A Few Young Men Are Using VR To Change Music Forever

http://uploadvr.com/the-wave/

“Currently—EDM music is a perfect place to start, given VR’s current state. Our goal is to expand to all of the genres.TheWave is going to be the number one place where you go in VR to experience music. But right now, it would be incredibly hard to do an interactive, immersive rock concert because I just don’t know how you could do that with actual people and guitars. You need to use the Kinect or some sort of janky video capture to get them. So it’s really a matter of focus and execution of where the tech is.”

 

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explains why he’s not ready to invest in virtual reality

http://uk.businessinsider.com/netflix-ceo-reed-hastings-not-ready-to-invest-in-virtual-reality-2016-5?r=US&IR=T

First, despite growing interest and adoption of VR following the release of the Oculus Rift this year, the size of the market remains tiny. Now that Netflix has expanded to 190 countries and has 80 million users watching on 1,000 different platforms (smartphones, gaming consoles, TV apps), the number of potential viewers on VR seems like a speck.

“The problem with VR is that there’s not enough people on the platform to support the investment in that kind of content,” Sarandos said.

The second issue relates to the type of experience VR offers. The immersive, intense nature of VR can be exciting in the context of a game, but it can be too much when it comes to simply watching a movie.

“You’re exhausted after 20 minutes,” Hastings said. “We are more focused on a lean-back, relaxing experience.”

Sarandos added: “I can’t imagine putting on a VR headset while sitting on the couch with my wife for two hours and just disappearing.”

 

Oculus exec Mary Lou Jepsen resigns to cure diseases

http://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-loses-mary-lou-jepsen-key-player-vr-push-oculus-virtual-reality/

http://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-loses-mary-lou-jepsen-key-player-vr-push-oculus-virtual-reality/

 

(Un)folding a virtual journey with Google Cardboard

https://googleblog.blogspot.ch/2016/01/unfolding-virtual-journey-cardboard.html

1. 5 million Cardboard fans have joined the fold.

2. In just the past two months (October-December), you launched into 10 million more immersive app experiences:

3. Out of 1,000+ Cardboard apps on Google Play, one of your favorites got you screaming “aaaaaaahwsome,” while another “gave you goosebumps.”

4. You teleported to places far and wide, right from the comfort of YouTube.

5. Since we launched Cardboard Camera in December, you’ve captured more than 750,000 VR photos, letting you relive your favorite moments anytime, from anywhere.

6. Students around the world have taken VR field trips to the White House, the Republic of Congo, and 150 other places around the globe with Expeditions.

 

Unilever CMO Keith Weed: ‘We are shooting VR content for all our brands’

http://3dvrcentral.com/2016/05/06/unilever-cmo-keith-weed-shooting-vr-content-brands/

Oculus Rift, a VR headset sold by Facebook, carries an initial price of $599.

“We’re now in a phase potentially of marketing for people and that journey I think will make marketing mobile again,” said Weed. “Marketing started off by serving people [and] in the 80s it got a little bit lost with selling more stuff.”

“If you go on somewhere like Vice – which is obviously very much targeted at millennials – you see Unilever brands very much present there. Why? Because we really understand the power of millennials. Our brands have stories to tell to millennials and the reason they have that is because we have brands with purpose, brands with meaning.”

 

The most promising virtual reality experience I’ve ever had

http://www.polygon.com/features/2016/5/5/11597482/the-void-virtual-reality-magician-tracy-hickman

The Void isn’t like other VR systems you might have heard of. It is a full-body simulation, and it is completely wireless.

the_void_rapture_backtop

The Void’s Rapture system features a haptic vest with a built-in, fully customized, ultralight computer.

So what does that mean?

What that means is you’re not seated in The Void, like you are in most Oculus Rift experiences. You’re not standing and walking around inside a tiny virtual cube, like you are with the HTC Vive. With The Void, you are completely free to go wherever you want within the bounds of the simulation.

 

 

MCDONALD’S USES OCULUS AND SAMSUNG VR TO OFFER A FIRST-PERSON EXPERIENCE OF FARMING

http://3dvrcentral.com/2016/05/06/mcdonalds-uses-oculus-samsung-vr-offer-first-person-experience-farming/

 

a-15

“The eating out market is growing but this passion for food is masking a lack of understanding around how food is produced and the vital role our farming and food industries play in growing, sourcing and producing quality ingredients.”

He added: “By bringing together tech developers with farmers and food experts, we have created an immersive virtual reality experience that will allow people to follow in the footsteps of farmers, suppliers and our crew, bringing the best of UK food production from the countryside to communities across the UK.

“Our hope is that it will help build pride in British and Irish farming, challenge outdated stereotypes and celebrate the best of food and farming in the UK today.”

 

Virtual Reality’s trillion dollar endorphin industry

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/virtual-realitys-trillion-dollar-endorphin-industry-charles-blatz

Adding 360 video to the marketing wheelhouse is a tall order, but innovation is quickly making it easy and affordable to adopt.  The medium depends on whether or not future investment carries its development.  Teleportation of the conscious to another location is still compelling, and exclusive to virtual reality, and hardware companies such as LeapMotion continue the development adding hand control features. I presented the game Weightless to my colleagues at a retreat yesterday, and they could almost feel the space debris in front of them.

 

 

 

 

Visual Connections is the largest annual visual media trade show in the world. This networking event is exclusively for image/footage/art buyers.

360Cities is attending the “Visual Media Expo Chicago 2016” event this week to introduce the potential of your high-quality 360-degree panoramas to a new audience of advertisers and publishers. 

If you in or are around Chicago on May 5th, 2016, come to see us at the Ivy Room in downtown Chicago. We’d be glad to see you!

Install the new 360Cities Extension to your Chrome browser, just click here. You will be able to enjoy an interactive panorama on each tab you open in your browser. You’ll also be able to search on Google or 360cities.net.
It looks amazing, doesn’t it?

 

halong

loop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 360Cities tab extension allows you to:


• View an interactive 360-degree photo on each new tab on your Chrome browser
• Pan 360 degrees around and 180 degrees up and down for a fully spherical view
• Zoom in and out to see amazing detail
• View the panorama in full screen
• Choose from six different projections and two navigation modes
• Click to view the profile page of the photographer on 360cities.net
• Share the panorama on social media and embed in your non-commercial website or blog
• Click on a shopping cart to license the image for editorial or commercial usage
• Search Google and 360Cities

 

 

martin

Stanford’s Virtual Reality Lab Turned Me Into a Cow, Then Sent Me to the Slaughterhouse

I-Am-a-Cow-1920x760

“Please turn to your left until you see the fence where you started,” says the voice. “You have been here for 200 days and reached your target weight. So it is time for you to go to the slaughterhouse.”

I was not expecting this. A wave of sadness and horror hits me with the word “slaughterhouse.” The suddenness of the announcement, the feeling of being trapped, the guilt and responsibility I feel for my cow avatar, who I somehow feel is me, but who I simultaneously feel is younger and more innocent and who is, I should point out, a vegetarian— it’s remarkably heavy for having been in this virtual life only a few minutes. The part of me that is a cow dutifully walks toward the fence. The part of me that is a person is yelling. It’s unbidden, startling even me, an anger borne of nervousness. “That is brutal!” I shout at no one in particular.

 

Half Of Kids Can’t Tell The Difference Between Virtual Reality And Regular Reality

 

Stanford University partnered with Sesame Street and used Oculus technology to study, among other things, what it does to the perceptual system of a child. Based on the director of lab Jeremy Bailenson’s findings so far, the answer is: it kinda messes with it. Most recently he noted that when children are exposed to a virtual experience, a week later 50 percent of them remember the event as real. As early as 2009, his data showed that virtual reality caused significantly more false memories in elementary schoolers than any other type of imagery. If you thought their imaginary friend was a little creepy, get ready to deal with their imaginary double life.

 

Virtual Reality In The Music Industry Needs To Be A Tool, Not Just An Experience

We also need to be wary, however, about translating all musical activities to VR. Just as the Uber model does not translate well to other industries, so the VR model will probably die if we attempt to apply it to every possible corner of the music business. Again, the key opportunities come from gaps in trust. I already trust platforms like Facebook, Skype and Twitter for my social networking, so I will probably not use VR to hold remote meetings or conversations with friends and professionals—but I do not always trust friends who tell me that one seat in the theater is ten times better than the next. I personally trust Spotify to give me any song that I want, so I won’t necessarily go through the hassle of strapping a device to my head to stream music—but I do not always trust streaming services to provide accurate metadata.

We play CCP’s first attempt at a physical, virtual reality ‘sport’ProjectArena02_1920.0.0Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 07.02.36

“No one really knows what it feels like to hit a flying fireball that bounces off the walls,” Godat explained, “but if you were making something that feels real like with a metal sword in your hand people expect to feel the clang when you hit a shield. We’ve tried to steer clear of those elements just because you can, the field is wide open.”

Your brain doesn’t expect your virtual shield or disc to “feel” a certain way, because it’s so clearly not real. This, counter-intuitively, makes the experience feel more real when you’re inside the game, to the extent that I had to fight a small bit of panic every time I deflected the enemy’s disc. It felt like an actual threat, and it took me a few minutes before I felt comfortable enough to smash it back at the person on the other side of the room.

Facebook Shows Off How They Might Use Virtual Reality

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 07.04.51The best part of the demo happens at the end, when Schroepfer goes to give his friend a high five. His buddy makes a dap fist, and they wind up doing a VR version of the “Now I’m grabbing your fist with my open palm because I thought we were doing a high-five.”

 

VR headset shipments ‘to boom’ in 2016

_89391335_032294045-1

More than nine million virtual reality (VR) headsets will be shipped in 2016, suggests research by analyst firm IDC.

The estimate is far more than the 350,000 headsets that were sent out last year, it said.

Some of the growth will be down to the first consumer-ready versions reaching customers, said the firm.

However, most numerous will be the “screenless” systems that use smartphones as their main display.

IDC said it expected about two million headsets from Oculus, HTC and Sony to be shipped to consumers in 2016. The Oculus Rift headset began shipping on 28 March, HTC Vive headsets are due to start being dispatched this month and Sony’s PlayStation VR should be available in October.

 

 

Today Facebook dropped a bomb on the VR Video world. Things are speeding up even faster.

Voila! Brian Cabral unveils the new UFO flying into our VR world!

360-degree Video is hot these days. The world of Cinema/film production, live broadcasting, corporate marketing, documentary filmmaking, and journalism, are all clamoring to figure out where this new medium of expression fits in to their existing ecosystem. Is VR Video a flop like 3D TV or is it a fantastic new way of capturing and viewing the world that will make our flat screens look antiquated in only a few years’ time? Will we wonder in a few years how we possibly lived without it? Are we now in another exciting time similar to the launch of the iPhone, where everyone who gets in early will be innovators and pioneers in a space that will be completely mainstream in a short time?

Only one year ago, there was basically just one 360 camera on the market: The Ricoh Theta. This little pocket-sized marvel of hardware and optical engineering really nailed one thing: It made (sort of low resolution but still good looking on phone) 360 photos. Then they updated it to make videos. It’s still very much the low-end 360 camera, but it has crossed the threshold of acceptable quality for enough use cases that it has become the best selling camera at B&H. Yes, this weird little camera has legs.

Now we have lots of 360 cameras out there. Tiny ones, huge ones. Audaciously expensive ones. Some are for sale, some are not. Some are real, some are vaporware. Some are shipping, some are nearly shipping. The world of 360 cameras is a bit like the automobile industry 100 years ago. All shapes and sizes, no standards, nobody really agrees on what is going to work best or what is going to stick. It is a fantastic world where even small startups are making a big splash and getting the world’s attention.

And today we welcome a new 800 pound gorilla to the scene. This 800 pound gorilla is blue, and it’s giving a thumbs up :)

The Facebook 360 Camera

17 cameras, 6K resolution, with 30 gigabits per second of raw capture. This thing is formidable, and as Facebook says, they want to jumpstart the VR video ecosystem by open sourcing the plans for this camera so that anyone can build it themselves. The stitching code will also be open sourced, and it is a doozy: using optical flow algorithms, the stereo (so called “3d”) image derived from these cameras will be first-rate.

What is the end game with this camera, really?

My guess is that this high-end camera will allow studios, production companies, and broadcasters to build their own high end camera to shoot production-quality work at a fraction of the cost of other cameras. This one costs around $30K while other solutions of a similar caliber might cost $60Kor more.

The software that has been built for this camera is not to be underestimated. It is probably far more impressive than the hardware itself, the result of years/decades of research in computer vision, and I expect that the output of this camera, using the image processing pipeline that is also provided open-source with the camera, will really be impressive.

While this 17-lens camera is large and fairly unwieldy for some types of shooting — you can’t wear this thing on your head, or shoot inside a car with it — I would expect that this initial hardware configuration, where many basic issues around hardware architecture and specifications have been addressed, that it will allow the DIY community to adapt this setup with more or fewer lenses to accomodate different scenes and different types of shooting. We can expect other hardware configurations — 6 cameras, 8 cameras, and so on — with adapted software processing to still produce workable stereo — to emerge from this platform.

This is a fantastic day for the world of VR Video and I’m even more excited about our future than before. Facebook is showing they are all-in on the VR ecosystem, and want to help the community of VR video creators evolve and develop this exciting field as quickly as possible.

These are exciting times.

Jann Lipka is an excellent panoramic photographer living in Sweden. You can find his personal website at http://fotograf.nu/log/.
 Jann_med_tre_kamerorIMG_0909
When did you first become obsessed with photography? And what else are you obsessed with, besides photography?
Photography was in my mind from childhood as my father worked periodically with photography.
but it seemed to be difficult to make a living from it  ( my father worked mostly as editor  )
After a couple of year at Technical University of Warsaw I went North to Sweden and
decided to give it a try with a two year photography education .
I came to think of that there is a competition whatever you do  – even driving a taxi
But for me photography was more fun :-) and I thought with some talent and
How did you discover 360 photography? When was it and what happened next?
 
 A  good customer of mine was working with commercial  building  that had a special view –  he asked
me about shooting 180 degrees panorama of that  ( to be used as a billboard )
.  I quickly discovered the world of curvy straight lines and  that job financed a Manfrotto 303 head .
( I still use it – but only for special projects )  After a while I wanted to do that spinning QT VR pictures.
And I had some luck with getting some good customers for 360 shoots.
one break through was 360 virtual tour of Wikileaks server hall here in Stockholm.
Are you a professional or amateur photographer?
I make my living as a photographer since 20 years,
Panorama photography is quite small part of my work .
I do mostly  corporate / advertising and editorial – mostly portraits and
people photography.
Do you travel much to do your photography?
It happens every couple of weeks  but I work mostly locally in Stockholm.
What kind of photography do you like the best? and of what kinds of things?
I enjoy mostly news photography and photojournalism –  even very advanced commercial images
always fade very quickly …
That is probably the reason for my own  360 work I would love to do more action panoramas like this one
http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/protesten-inifran/
barely possible to make because of fast movement.
The frozen moment  combined with 90 Mb of details – i love it.
What is your opinion on today’s state of VR? Will VR, as we know it now, hit the Mainstream in the next 12 months?
Regarding still images maybe the market will improve because of so many huge companies like Samsung are
pushing customers into VR –  Sweden is a country with people very much ROI oriented and customers tend to
invest in imaging ( like 360 ) if they can clearly see  that it is profitable – and I think still  the most of them find
360 photography is a bit gimmicky – and most people don’t really know how to explore it.
So as always it is  good to find customers  that personally enjoy  360 imaging .
But sometimes it is easy to forget that 360 images are quite time demanding – Still image can be
“consumed”  faster then in one second.
 
Who are some of the interesting companies or people who are getting into VR / 360 Photography these days?
I’m waiting eagerly for coming video cameras from Sphericam ,
but also consumer oriented Nikon and Samsung.  At least 4k.
360 cameras delivered from Camera companies is a good sign.With still images I think technology is more mature – can be polished but I don’t expect miracles.
I shoot with Sony A7R II and like its good dynamic range. ( but use it only for pano work and video – for
other type of work I shoot canon and Hasselblad )All ” miracle / camera cluster ” solutions  ( like Google promoted IRIS ) are something I would never use for proper
still panorama – i am a strong believer that parallax should be avoided for non stereo work and that is best done with one
lens rotated around NPP.
What is your opinion about 360 Video?
360 Video is definitely exploding   but there is so much issues to be solved .
I think 4K is the way to go because of bandwith and of course even that is quite data intensive.
i would love to have a two lens solution – or maximum 3
. 6 cameras  solutions scare  me because 6 time larger
possibility that something will overheat :-)  or break.
As a pioneer in building the equipment that panoramic photographers use, what kind of trends have you noticed in the last years / decade that might not be obvious to other people?
Two things – Most people see 360 images as a spinning pictures only but don’t realize that those can be viewed in extreme detail
/ enlargement.
Regular  panorama from me is 120 Megapixel large and that means a lot of detail .
Normal  still images are almost never published  in zoomable format.
so with 360 there is so much more to explore for those who want to get into details.Second  – The “values”  that 360 photography are build upon are very often in line with what  a lot of companies want to stand for
( and also very much those are the values that Swedish society wants to emphasize )Open, inviting, participating, honest and engaging.

 All that are things that 360 photography is about

How do you think our panoramic medium will evolve over the next years or decades?

I’m pretty sure that 360 video is going to be a part of regular video work  .
I already get some calls from  large  video production companies that only want to know what camera I use  ( and they buy it )
They  see 360 imaging as a technology and don’t understand its strong sides ( filing in first person perspective, small

cramped interiors etc etc )  and just put a 360 camera in a middle of a room – the 360 story telling is more complex then that.
Good quality  360 streaming will be a  game changer for  video-journalism.Still image panos  using only one camera / lens will  still be a niche product that needs an expert to be properly done.
With all those lovely quirks and workarounds. Push for more VR content is a good thing but with that 120 Megapixels panos are
overkill.  For the best play to enjoy a proper panorama is still a 30 inch display :-)
Add any other questions/answers you think are relevant or interesting :)
With 360 we are still in a phase when technology itself is a fascinating achievement –
That is the reason this niche is mostly populated with computer people .
It will get much more interesting when artists and poets will start to tell their stories.
– for myself  i see it as a best tool for sharing experience of ” being there “.
JAnn_stadshuset

Choose Category, Subcategory and Time

 

We are pleased to announce the launch of the 360Cities automated panorama licensing engine. 360Cities licensing customers will now be able to search for, select, purchase and download limited use licenses in a familiar shopping cart checkout experience. This will allow licensing customers to purchase and download images within minutes, which in turn will help increase your chances of earning royalties from your 360Cities panoramas.

 

 

 

 

The launch of our licensing engine, coupled with our new Distribution Partnership with Getty Images, provides you a unique chance to monetize your 360 images. 360Cities has licensed thousands of our members’ images and paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties to our members around the world. We expect the rate of growth to increase steadily going forward and we’re pleased to have you on board.

 

You can read detailed information about how the licensing platform works for clients here.

 

LIcense Checkout

 

Please note that the prices that appear in the Licensing Engine for the limited use (rights-managed) licenses are list prices. The actual price may be lower if we agree to specific terms with clients on a case-by-case basis. Of course we strive to do what is best for all parties involved in order to grow both our licensing business and your royalties.

Gerald Blondy is a nice man. Look at him, standing on an iceberg.  I love this photo.

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Gerald is a Frenchman living in the deep hinterlands of Moravia. In this remote yet civilized place he builds panoramic photography equipment as Bushman Panoramic. These tripods and panoramic tripod heads are compact, light, well-built devices that are a pleasure to use. I love my Eben tripod, and I want to get a sandbug panohead next – it looks tiny and nice.

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When did you first become obsessed with photography?

My first obsession with photography came in 1998 when I borrowed a film camera from a friend and took it to blues festival. I was lucky to be able to enjoy so much good music when I was living in Virginia and Washington D.C. At that moment I realized how much I enjoyed capturing these moments. I was obsessed with music, acoustics and sound recording. I didn’t get to photography until I was working In Democratic Republic of Congo.

Living in the bush with absolutely nothing around during my free time the only thing I had was time and a Minolta A2 (8Mpix) in my hands and nothing else. Ever since I have my camera around.

When I came to Czech Republic in 2008. There I got into panoramic photography and started making plans and making my first panoramic heads. Some months later I decided to develop a series of products and later create Bushman Panoramic. So now 7 years of full time panoramic photography testing and creating.

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How did you discover 360 photography? When was it and what happened next?

I think my first attempt to stitch some 120° panorama was on top of a hill in Congo.

http://virtualvisit.bushman-panoramic.com/kilembe/

I started simple stitch with some hand held panorama, and then started to tried to do complete 360 by reading the process on the Internet. It was catastrophic and so disappointing actually. I actually got into 360 by focusing on the panoramic head. So all my energy was actually testing and developing my first head that was called “Panoramax” then later on “Kalahari”. As the head evolved the shooting went faster and the stitch as a result became easier too.

 

Do you travel much to do your photography?

Yes as much as I can, mostly for testing and taking product photos. I get nervous when I don’t travel. I

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What kind of photography do you like the best?

My preference is by far the 360 in little planet projection. I love doing them and thinking “little planet“.

 

What is your opinion on today’s state of VR? Will VR hit the Mainstream in the next 12 months?

For sure very exciting and interesting to see so many project evolving and working on so many aspects. It is really going in all direction; it is still very new for the grand public. It has open a complete new world of possibilities and options.

 

Who are some of the interesting companies or people who are getting into VR / 360 Photography these days?

Many names come up but of course since many year a team like Airpano are doing really stunning work.

 

What is your opinion about 360 Video?

I find it very exciting. Since 3 years to see the fast evolution of 360 video. Going from 360 photos to 360 videos. This is offering a complete new perspective for VR and so much more possibilities.

 

As a pioneer in building the equipment that panoramic photographers use, what kind of trends have you noticed in the last years / decade that might not be obvious to other people?

As a manufacture the trend is quite evident it is smaller technologies with higher quality output. Doing more with less. This is how 24months ago we pushed the development of SANDBUG panoramic head dedicated for mirrorless cameras.

Photographers will always want to control and decide how they take a photo to make a 360 otherwise “A/S/M” modes would not be on cameras.

 

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How do you think our panoramic medium will evolve over the next years or decades?

Panoramic photography has been produced since decades. Panorama format is very pleasant and comfortable to look at.

Now it is getting simpler, easier, and quicker to produce a 360° panorama.

Unity’s VR Editor Lets You Create VR Content Like a God

http://www.roadtovr.com/unitys-vr-editor-lets-you-create-vr-content-like-a-god/

“You can zoom out and in for different scale operations, but the most powerful aspect of the Chess Board is to allow creators to rapidly drop assets into your scene wit minimal scrolling or physical movement. This sounds fairly pedestrian, but watch as West uses the Chess Board view to grab and move an entire mountain range via the board and the world around her alter to match. Aside from making workflow in VR more efficient, as you’re in VR you instantly get a feel for the scale of the object that’s being moved and whether your intended new location for it works. Designing just as you might were you a God.”

 

One Program Lets You Use Your Entire PC In VR Without Any Fuss

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2016/03/one-program-lets-you-use-your-entire-pc-in-vr-without-any-fuss/

2D games also don’t require a great deal of horsepower to run while in Virtual Desktop. “My app is built on top of DirectX and it is very lightweight,” Godin added in another thread. “It’s very optimized. The impact on the GPU is very low. I’m able to play HOTS with a 770 in VR fluidly to give you an example.”

Virtual Desktop launches on March 28 and will cost US$15, according to Godin. A demo of the program for both the Rift’s development kits is available now via Virtual Desktop’s Steam page.

Note that you’ll want Windows 10 to get the best experience though, as Windows 7 reportedly “doesn’t have low latency APIs to capture the desktop at high frame rates to make a decent enough experience”.

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Virtuix Omni Is New And Improved – Commercial Release Tentatively Slated For Q3 2016

http://uploadvr.com/omni-commercial-release/

Ergonomically, Adams highlighted the harness and ring system that now eschews the previous rock-climbing style and instead, “wraps around your legs instead of your crotch. This has been farm more comfortable for people especially those who use the system for an extended period of time.”

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Sex Ed in VR Can Prepare Young Women for Actual Sex

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/sex-ed-in-vr-can-prepare-young-women-for-actual-sex

A box pops up on the right corner of your screen. It feeds you lines like “Hey, I was just wondering, when was your last STD test?” or “Do you have any condoms?” You choose neither. Pressing forward, you move to the bed. A buzz resonates and the screen freezes: AT-RISK BEHAVIOR, it reads. You are promptly redirected to a 3D tutorial. TRY AGAIN.

Once your turn is over, you remove the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and pass it to your classmate. She places it on her head and the simulation kicks in outside her date’s dorm room.

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‘Cardboard Enabler’ Opens Google’s VR Library to Gear VR, No Root Required

http://www.roadtovr.com/cardboard-enabler-opens-googles-vr-library-gear-vr-no-root-required/

Google Cardboard apps unfortunately can’t use the Gear VR’s special inertial measurement unit (IMU), but it does hook into your onboard touchpad for ease of use, letting you tap around with the touchpad just like you would with the capacitive button on most Cardboard viewers. The app also provides a handy step-by-step guide so you can enable Gear VR developer mode, letting you turn on global low-persistence for a much higher quality, motion-blur free experience with Cardboard apps—something we didn’t even know you could do.

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Ultrasound Used To Create 3D Shapes In Mid Air That Can Be Seen And Felt

http://www.iflscience.com/technology/ultrasound-used-create-3d-shapes-mid-air-can-be-seen-and-felt

The researchers, who are based at the University of Bristol, envisage that this innovative technology could transform the way that we use 3D haptic shapes. It could lead to touchable holograms to augment learning, or enhanced gaming experience by allowing users to feel features of the game, such as a football. It could even have a place in medicine, for example by allowing surgeons to physically feel tumors by exploring CT scans.

The method, which is described in ACM Transactions on Graphics, exploits an effect produced by ultrasound called acoustic radiation force, which is the scattering and absorption of the acoustic wave. By observing how sound waves behave when they hit an object, it is possible to deduce the shape of the object. The team also realized that it is possible to feel these shapes by focusing complex patterns of ultrasound onto our hands. In doing so, the researchers created air disturbances that could be felt on the skin and seen as floating 3D shapes. The ultrasound patterns cannot be seen by themselves, but the team visualized them by directing the device at a layer of oil so that depressions at the surface appeared as spots when illuminated.

 

BRITISH PATIENT TO UNDERGO WORLD’S FIRST VIRTUAL REALITY CANCER OPERATION

http://3dvrcentral.com/2016/03/25/british-patient-undergo-worlds-first-virtual-reality-cancer-operation/

An operation on a British cancer patient is to be live-streamed around the world using virtual reality technology designed to make viewers feel as if they are in the operating theatre.

It will be performed by Shafi Ahmed, a London surgeon who has been at the forefront of pioneering virtual reality technology in surgery, and who described next month’s operation as a gamechanger for healthcare innovation and education.

The patient, a British man in his 70s with cancer of the colon, has not been named but was said to be excited about the prospect of having his operation watched internationally.

Viewers will be able to watch the surgery at the Royal London hospital from 1pm on 14 April using a smartphone and virtual reality headset. The operation, which will be filmed by a number of specialist cameras placed above the operating table, is expected to last between two and three hours.

It will run a minute or so behind the surgery in case of any unforeseen complications.

Undated handout photo issued by Medical Realities of Dr Shafi Ahmed, consultant surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital. A British cancer patient is set to have his operation live streamed using virtual reality technology in a world first. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday March 25, 2016. Viewers will be able to watch the ground-breaking surgery next month using a smartphone and virtual reality headset, making them feel as if they are in the operating theatre. See PA story HEALTH VirtualReality. Photo credit should read: Medical Realities /PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday March 25, 2016. Viewers will be able to watch the ground-breaking surgery next month using a smartphone and virtual reality headset, making them feel as if they are in the operating theatre. See PA story HEALTH VirtualReality. Photo credit should read: Medical Realities /PA Wire

 

Facebook Launches Dynamic Streaming on Gear VR

http://www.vrfocus.com/2016/03/facebook-launches-dynamic-streaming-on-gear-vr/

Dynamic Streaming is a technology designed to aid the distribution of 360 degree video content. Showing only the pixels the viewer is looking at in the highest quality, Dynamic Streaming will scale down the rest of the viewable content to improve bandwidth demands and the speed at which streaming content can be transferred.

A number of 360 degree videos are available to demonstrate the technology, listed in the ‘Facebook trending’ section. Highlighted is a rhino video shot on a GoPro.

Dynamic Streaming is now available for all Gear VR owners without charge (though the video channel itself may in time offer premium content).

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Hulu Releases Virtual Reality App for Samsung Gear VR

http://variety.com/2016/digital/news/hulu-gear-vr-app-virtual-reality-1201737728/

Hulu had first announced its foray into VR back in September of 2015, but the company’s head of experience Ben Smith told Variety this week that his team decided to delay the release to get things right. “We really wanted to build an experience that we believe in,” he said.

Part of that was getting the app itself to work well, and find the best way for consumers to navigate through menus, as well as switch between immersive VR videos and Hulu’s traditional library content. But Hulu also wanted to be able to launch with enough immersive content to keep people interested beyond the first viewing session. Said Smith: “Novelty is not going to be a pleasing experience over time.”

Hulu isn’t the only video service eyeing VR. Netflix launched an app on the Gear VR last fall, but is currently giving its users access only to its regular catalog on the VR headset. Amazon recently indicated with a job posting that it is also interested in distributing VR content, but hasn’t officially announced its plans yet.

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Kevin Spacey is a virtual reality hypebeast

http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/25/11305054/kevin-spacey-virtual-reality-vr

“I am a believer. I’ve been very fortunate to go and see, right up to very recently, where it all is. And I think it’s going to be revolutionary for a whole lot of reasons. First of all, let’s just think about sports […] Imagine that you can buy a ticket to be on the sidelines of a live football match while it’s happening, and be able to go… [He mimes looking around] That’s going to happen. There’s no doubt. Or a concert, that’s going to happen. Paul McCartney did a VR thing last year. Beck did one. Quite remarkably you’re so close to the stage you literally feel you’re there.

I think [virtual reality] will end up being the natural home for capturing the living theater. Because finally we can take a three dimensional experience and retain it as a three dimensional experience. I think it will work in film. Maybe not an entire film, but I think we should try and see if there are five sequences in a movie where that device, whatever it’s going to be… I don’t think it’s going to be this forever. [He mimes a large headset over his face] This reminds me of the first cell phones. I think it’s going to be quite simple, much simpler as time goes by.

But I also think of [virtual reality] in terms of education. I mean, the classroom is probably the single space that we all know that hasn’t change at all since the beginning of time. It’s a chalkboard, seats, and a teacher up front. But imagine if we can bring the best teachers in the world into that classroom. And a student can put on a headset and suddenly be at the bottom of the ocean studying science. Or be in the Globe theater watching actors rehearsing in the 16th century. Or be in the Sydney Opera House while a concert is happening.”