Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Immersive Media

If I have not forced you to check 360 degree video already, please check out the following website: Immersive Media. Make sure you click and drag your mouse to pan the video. The website is full of details on how they accomplished this feat as well as a bunch of different examples of how the technology is currently being used.

For our purposes all you need to know is that they are using 11 cameras to record the video and then projecting the compiled video onto the inside of a sphere. You are sitting on the inside of the sphere and are just changing the camera angle. Now here is where the really cool part comes in (at least for me). The sphere is done in Flash using Papervision3d. Why is that cool? I am glad you asked.

Check out this papervision aquarium (give it a few minutes to load, it will sit at the logo for awhile). It has some similarities. You can move your mouse around to change the view and you feel totally surrounded by the image. The two key differences here is that this aquarium has a static background image instead of the video and it has the additional 3d moving fish that you can click on and interact with.

Since both sites use the same underlining technology, lets combine the two. Not only would you have an immersive video, but you can also click and interact with with objects within your "viewing sphere". You could have the underwater aquarium video playing in the background while you have interactive 3d fish swimming in the foreground. This could easily be turned into a game or some sort of choose your own adventure. Lets say if you can find and click on Nemo in the first 30 seconds the video will seamlessly cut to Nemo swimming with the Narly Turtles (yeah, I liked them too). But if you don't find Nemo in the first 30 seconds then you will seamlessly cut to a video of a Nemo getting eaten by a shark (just to motivate the kids, they better try harder next time or Nemo will get it).

The Nemo thing is a tangent. But regardless, there is a lot of potential for interactive videos/games on the web and from the looks of it we are very close to seeing it.

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