What is 180 video?
180? 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 would shoot a few tests below to show off the format.
Get off the set!
Often times like in typical TVs 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 and not need to control the whole environment so carefully.
Easy to produce 3D media
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 camera pointing in multiple directions. 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.
Typical set behind a regular camera @Bigman
Our 180 video test footage
Half the problem
Because we have only half the data it also helps solve some of the problems of huge files for 360 video content, with longer format high quality 360 videos being gigabytes in size 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?
Other use cases
I got thinking that for certain disabilities such as paraplegia people might not have the ability to look behind them and therefore this could be a more inclusive immersive format.
It also struck me that perhaps as working in VR becomes more commonplace people might partition their virtual space similar to how we work wth multiple monitors today, perhaps 180 degrees for the news, 90 degrees for the stock exchange and some documents in the other 90 degrees?
Cheaper to produce
Google is partnering up with a few choice camera manufacturers to produce new dual lens 180 cameras that will launch on the market from late 2017
I think google is hoping that whilst 360 is cool and all that, 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 more 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