Posted by Elena Martinez on April 25, 2016 at 10:05 am.
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?
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
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
The 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.”
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.
Posted by DavidPavlicek on April 18, 2016 at 3:13 pm.
Hi guys! In case you have a couple of minutes to admire the most wonderful panoramic photos our community photographers uploaded to 360Cities last week, you’re at the right place. Our weekly round-up is here!
Night scene of chinese ancient city wall by pengcheng zhao(click the picture to open the pano)
For a start we start with a pano that is really special – a lovely picture of the city wall in Suzhou, China. Even though it is more than 2500 years old, it still looks fine and it now serves for the citizens – as a restaurant, as it seems! And we love the colours!
The Hakone Open-Air Museum by Yuuji Kwano(click the picture to open the pano)
Let’s have a look at one more Asian pano here – this one’s from Japanese open-air museum in the city of Hakone. Among number of statues, sculptures, etc., it features this stunning mosaic, which is actually the perfect spot for taking a pano. And Yuuji did a tremendous job here.
Top view of offshore power plant wind turbine by Jann Lipka(click the picture to open the pano)
Time to move to Europe – and we’ll start with a quick stop in Sweden. Jann takes us all the way to the top of a power plant windmill turbine, which is a place you don’t get to visit often. What a view from up there!
City hall of Swedens Capital City by Jann Lipka(click the picture to open the pano)
This looks like a safer place than the top of the windmill. The city hall in Sweden actually seems like pretty nice place, so feel free to have a look around!
Winchester, Cathedral, Nave and Salisbury, Cathedral, Chapter House and Magna Carta by Carsten T. Rees(click the picture to open the pano)
This week, we will conclude our trip in two amazing places in England, two cathedrals in Salisbury and Winchester, respectively. Two wonderful pieces of art really – as well as both panos!
Posted by Jeffrey Martin on April 13, 2016 at 2:07 pm.
Today Facebook dropped a bomb on the VR Video world. Things are speeding up even faster.
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.
In our weekly round-up of the panoramic photos selected as editors’ picks, we start in Chile, with a wonderful view of the Grey glacier in southern part of the country. Not only the view’s great, but we love the colors and the way the clouds cast shadows on the glacier below. Brilliant pano!
Time to move to the other side of the planet, as Alexey Miroshnikov made a trip to Vietnam and we can join him, thanks to his lovely panoramic pictures. Four panos from two different places – seaside and mountains – give you the idea how beautiful the country really is. Check it out!
Posted by Elena Martinez on April 11, 2016 at 9:34 am.
On April 12, 1961, at 09:07 Moscow time, a rocket with the Vostok spacecraft-satellite flown by pilot-cosmonaut Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin was launched from the Cosmodrome near the Baikonur station.
The Vostok 1 spacecraft-satellite descent vehicle has been kept in the Museum hall of NPO Energia ever since, which is named after Academician S.P. Korolev.
All structural elements, devices and units of the Vostok spacecraft-satellite descent vehicle are original (except for the interior lining, reconstructed due to deterioration). Hi-resolution 360-degree panorama of the Vostok spacecraft-satellite created by Andrew Bodrov:
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
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
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 “.
Posted by Elena Martinez on April 7, 2016 at 1:52 pm.
The refugee crisis has been one of the most discussed events in recent times and it has been getting a lot of media attention as well. The crisis was also one of the most searched topics on Google in 2015.
Thousands of Syrian families fled the war and violence and headed to Europe in hope of finding peace and better future. Yet a number of them were not that lucky.
The stories of the immigrants are sometimes unbelievable and, thanks to our community photographer Martin Bruining, we have the opportunity to get a glimpse of what the situation is like at the refugee camps in Greece. Just looking at the beaches in Lesbos gives you an idea of the tragedy that has unfolded.
“People arrive in Lesbos in boats every day, looking for safety, risking their lives taking rickety boats supplied by human traffickers. Men, women, children and babies. All arrive daily on the beaches of the Greek Islands, welcomed by residents and volunteers who came there to help,” Bruining told us.
Despite the number of volunteers, the refugees’ stories are not happy at all.
“The stories are far from ordinary. In one of the camps I met a Syrian man with a baby in his arms. The baby girl was born in Turkey and made the dangerous crossing on the first month of her life, not knowing what still lies ahead. Turning one year, she will have suffered more than I hope I ever will in my whole life.”
Martin said and added another story:
“There was a 16-year-old Afghan boy, whose family gave him all their money so he could go and look for safety in Europe. He just heard that the border between Macedonia and Greece was closed for Afghans. ‘I can’t go back home. Where am I supposed to go now?” he asked Martin.
Many stories similar to these are now forgotten and lost in the waves of the Mediterranean Sea. This huge pile of life jackets, each of which has its own story, looms there as a sad reminder.
Posted by DavidPavlicek on April 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm.
After a short while, we’re back, so let’s have a look together at the coolest stuff uploaded to 360Cities in recent days. After a couple of snow-related editions of our round-up, it now looks like the spring is coming! Finally!
Crazy House, Dalat — Stairs labyrinth by Alexey Miroshnikov(click the picture to open the pano)
This week, we open our summary with a lovely shot of a famous guesthouse in Da Lat, Vietnam. It’s called “the Crazy house” for a reason, as Dang Viet Nga, the architect, gave it a really unusual look. Natural elements, used in the construction and design, make it look pretty cool – this is definitely a place to stay!
Dominic took this pano at Biawak Island in West Java, which can easily be called the paradise. With its amazing fauna and flora, it is really a place to remember – make sure you read Dominic’s description about lizards, corals, fish and so on!
The Milky Way arching over Arco Iris by Vincent Lawrence(click the picture to open the pano)
Would it be a proper weekly round-up without a cool night shot? No, for sure. But Vincent’s pano of a Milky way from Patagonia is really amazing. Despite a bit of a light pollution, Vincent captured it wonderfully – and added a couple of interesting stories using 360Cities annotations. Cool!
Huuhanmäki observatory by Janne(click the picture to open the pano)
No starry sky here, but certainly a cool pano! Another night panoramic photo takes us to the Huuhanmäki observatory in Kuopio, Finland, so you can see what the sky looks like from up there.
What we love the most about his pano (apart from its photographic quality, of course!) is the view at the floor, as the perspective looks pretty confusing for the human eye. Just have a look in the direction of one of four statues and you’ll know what we mean.
Posted by Elena Martinez on April 4, 2016 at 11:57 am.
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.
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.