It’s time to say hello to 360 degree panoramic photos and videos... all round images you can create and then walk through, long after. Here’s how: Not too many camera and phone makers are talking about it, but 360 degree shooting has crept upon us, unheralded. Photos and videos captured with a 360 camera offer a stunningly immersive way to see places. You can enjoy a full spherical view, around you, above and below you. Most recent mobile phones can display 360 media and use special internal sensors to act as a sort of moving window into your photos/videos. You load the image, then move the phone to see the image as if you’re inside it. It’s a unique view of the world — and you are at the centre! But first you need to generate that 360 degree still or video image. Cameras to do this are already available in India on online sites.
The market leader in 360 degree cams seems to be the Japanese company Ricoh which has multiple models in the Ricoh Theta series, shooting basic HD to full 4K video. They are all slim, lightweight easy to handhold made-for-dummies devices with dual fish-eye lenses to capture all of the surroundings with a simple push of a button. You can capture up to 5 minutes of 360° video, which can then be transferred and viewed directly on to your mobile device or uploaded directly to social media sites such as Facebook.
The big jump has come from Chinese spherical video technology company Shenzhen Akashi Vision whose Insta 360 cameras are the world’s tiniest in this class, the size of a ping pong ball and weighing about 25 grams. The company has a model for professionals — the Insta Pro that costs over $3,500. But for you and me, they have models that plug into a mobile camera and turn it into a 360 degree video and still shooter. The Insta Air is for Android phones, The Insta Nano, for iPhones. Both have a recessed micro USB connector which plugs into the matching port on the phone and voila! the required software pops up on your screen, lets you start shooting and stitches the images together in real time. It’s very easy to use and lets you instantly share 360 videos or still photos on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat etc. One home grown industry can be expected to embrace 360 degree cameras in 2018: The shaadi-ka-album and shaadi-ka-video business. Expect many videographers to shoot in 360 and record every event: baraat, saat-pherey, receptions so that you can share them with your friends and provide them the unique feel of walking through every ceremony in intimate detail, without ever being there!
Goodbye photo albums and wedding DVDs. Hello, walkthrough videos!