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Old November 29 2013, 08:32 PM   #1
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This video will turn your head

I previously wrote about panoramic images and viewers.

GoPro camera fans can get into the act now with spherical panorama videos.* Kolor has free player apps for Mac, Windows and iOS, along with a handful of sample videos.

The creation process appears to be the same as with Kolor's static panorama software. Record views in all directions, then "stitch" the views together into an equirectangular file. Due to the nature of a moving scene, one must use multiple cameras for video, while a single camera can be used for a static scene.

Without the panoramic viewer, the videos look like any other equirectangular image. The Kolor Eyes viewer for iOS, like the iPano viewer for stills, reacts to the movement of the iOS device. Thus, panning around the device creates the illusion of looking through a window frame into an alternate world.

In short order, I can see this technology being added to mobile games with visors. Still not a holodeck, but a fun novelty.


* I have no association with Kolor, except as a customer.
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Old November 30 2013, 12:40 AM   #2
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Re: This video will turn your head

Sounds like you've never heard of Oculus Rift, which promises a lot more than simple panoramas.
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Old November 30 2013, 03:12 AM   #3
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Re: This video will turn your head

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Sounds like you've never heard of Oculus Rift, which promises a lot more than simple panoramas.
I hadn't heard of it specifically, although I know of various other visors used for games and 3D work. (Thanks for the tip.)

What I find striking about the panoramic video is that it is photography of a real scene. As noted in another thread, I made lots of QTVR object movies for clients back in the '90s. Most computers were too anemic to render photo-real 3D models in realtime. So "pre-rendered" substitutes, like object movies, were a solution. The downside was that object movies were too big to use on the Web at that time. (But they were fine for "interactive CD-ROMs." When was the last time you heard that term? Maybe while re-watching JURASSIC PARK?)

Ironically, as computers got faster along with the Web, QTVR objects fell out of favor for CAD-like files that are much smaller.

Panorama "movies" (which are actually stills) are still around, and even used within videogames as "environments" or backgrounds. Panoramic video may be as short-lived as object movies. Many feature "films" contain digital extensions or entire virtual scenes. So recording people panoramically may be pointless. Instead, performers shot in 2D (or even 3D) may be composited into panoramic scenes.

So the visor is not the big thing for me; it's the ability to record a live scene panoramically—like the concert demo video included with the free players.

EDIT: Meanwhile, Kirk protests that the images in "The Menagerie" are too detailed, too perfect. No ship makes recordings like that. Then in "Court Martial" we see recordings exactly like that—the bridge from different angles, including a tight closeup on Kirk's control panel. How did Finney manage to change such records in a short time? Did he have a super-advanced version of After Effects with auto-rotoscoping functions? Or does the Enterprise feature some "non-photographic" recording system that stores everything as spatial coordinates with attributes—like the yellow alert light is on or off—that Finney could alter with a few keystrokes?
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