An introduction… Why I’m into 360 imagery?

October 4, 2018

During my travels across the globe I’ve always enjoyed capturing my adventure through images and sharing them. One of my first overseas adventures was to the United States. Quite a few of my friends had visited the US before, but not many of them had ventured beyond the main cities. My trip was different. I went on a mountain bike adventure along most of the 782 km long Colorado Trail. I felt that what I was sharing was my unique take on what an overseas holiday could be. Somehow though, those holiday snaps never fully captured my experience.

 

Skip forward few years and virtual reality has become a hot topic. The technology supporting virtual reality has become more accessible. The thought of using a VR headset to share an experience absolutely fascinated me. I was able to research techniques and set out learning how to photograph, edit and stitch images together to display full resolution 360 panoramas. The possibility for virtual reality to be the medium for me to share an experience had reignited my love of photography.

 

I’ve always had a love for the technological side of image processing and it wasn’t long before I wanted to start producing immersive 360 videos. The technology was there to be explored. I searched online for plans for a 3D printed rig that would hold 6 GoPro cameras. Once sourced I approached a lecturer from the University of Sydney print them out in a fluoro-green plastic. It was crude, but the 3D printed rig allowed me to explore the technology further. This was the start of my 360-video camera and rig collection.

 

360 videos are currently the ultimate for immersive genuine and real experience sharing. But this only is part of the reason for my interest in them. When flattened out, a 360 spherical projection presents a full distorted panorama. Re-framing the projection or projecting it onto a different plane produces some curious effects. The field of view is completely customisable. With one frame, many different views are possible. This is the other main reason I love this method of capturing images. 360 video and photography open avenues to explore my creativity in expressive forms of image manipulation. From popular ‘tiny planet’ projections to more lateral unfolding and processing, technology presents opportunities to capture my world and for me to present and share my unique representation of the space that surrounds me.

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