Isn’t 360 better?
The clever folks at Google figured out that whilst 360 video might be best for most immersive VR content, there is definitely a gap in the market for something halfway between regular video and 360 video that has a few unique advantages. We already have a 180 camera as part of our collection so we thought we'd share our thoughts.
Get off the set!
In a similar fashion to typical TV sets, we might not have access to 360 degrees of suitable views, sometimes there is just nowhere for the all those lights, wires and production crew to hide. 180 video makes it much easier to work like traditional camera operators without the need to control the whole environment so carefully.
Because the images are captured with a couple of fisheye lenses, the same distance apart as human eyes, we get lovely stereoscopic images without the complex stitching work we have with 360 images involving cameras pointing in multiple directions. The depth of field created by stereoscopic cameras make the experience looks more 3D. Also, because less cameras are needed, it gives us the option to use our bank of cameras to record multiple viewpoints at the same time, something very expensive to do with the bigger 360 camera rigs.
Half the problem
We only have half the data, compared to 360 video, so it helps solve some of the problems of huge files for 360 video content, with longer format high quality 360 videos up to 25GB in size. So anything we can do to limit the download problems becomes a blessing. Perhaps the eventual arrival of 5G could make this a moot point though.
Perhaps, as working in VR becomes more commonplace, people might partition their virtual space similar to how we work wth multiple monitors today e.g. 180 degrees for the news, 90 degrees for the stock exchange and some documents in the other 90 degrees?
I think Google is hoping that whilst 360 is cool, 180 video will make immersive cinematic VR cheaper and easier to produce for anyone more familiar with traditional cinematography techniques. 360 is certainly a very challenging format and perhaps 180 is a great stepping stone for content creators who would just like to dip their toes into the waters gradually.
Perhaps a format for the next 5 years than something that endures? Or is this a new emerging medium in its own right? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below...