Spherical Storytelling
December 3, 2007 6:16 PM   Subscribe

More examples.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:18 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Whoa. That's pretty dang cool.
posted by brundlefly at 6:42 PM on December 3, 2007

Very neat. It would be great if there was better scrubbing back and forth along the video. Maybe there is on a faster connection, I dunno. It would really feel like something out of that Denzel Washington movie Deja Vu.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:46 PM on December 3, 2007

I could watch the whale one for hours.
posted by brundlefly at 6:48 PM on December 3, 2007

Neat camera (and amazing whale video), but really shitty presentation of the data. I want to see the whole 360° at once, without needing to pan around! As it is now, we're always missing half of it. It should be done like this (which, as a bonus, doesn't require flash to view).
posted by finite at 6:58 PM on December 3, 2007

[cue queue of patent infringement lawsuits]
posted by finite at 7:01 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

The whale one is unbelievably cool.
posted by rtha at 7:07 PM on December 3, 2007

[cue queue of patent infringement lawsuits]

Heh. There are a bunch of mefites that chime in when patent law comes up saying that software patents are the best thing since sliced bread. But this certainly violates some patents, and if the developers had done a patent search, and found out about it, they probably never would have even started coding.

The fact is, almost all software wouldn't have been written if software authors had to spend their time doing patent searches. Modern web browsers all violated the Eolas plug-in patent, and patent violation is what allowed something like Flash to exist in the first place.
posted by delmoi at 7:15 PM on December 3, 2007

Oh, and about this: The depth of field in the x-axis is way to high, giving passing buildings a huge curved effect. The same thing isn't true of the y-axis so it ends up being very weird looking. At least in the city view one I looked at.
posted by delmoi at 7:17 PM on December 3, 2007

This was an easy development to predict years ago after pano photos came out, I'm only surprised it's taken this long (or maybe it's not new?). The next step is to allow the viewer the ability to decide where to go, instead of a pre-scripted trajectory. This has already been done with pano still shots.
posted by stbalbach at 7:34 PM on December 3, 2007

It strikes me as an obvious idea, with mediocre execution, at least over my connection. Even with pre-loading the whole movie it seems to drop resolution when running, requiring a pause to see the detail. Not what I want to see.

Also, I really dislike the geometry of the view and it lacks the pan and zoom feature that quicktime spherical views have had for years and years. If I'm going to be pausing to see the content I want to be able to zoom in.

I hope they keep going with it, but it isn't there yet.
posted by meinvt at 8:14 PM on December 3, 2007

Wow. Video games just got a lot cooler.
posted by tehloki at 8:28 PM on December 3, 2007

They need a scrollbar or other gui control, rather then using dragging to pan.
posted by delmoi at 8:36 PM on December 3, 2007

Definitely done before, but very hard to productize. See the defunct ipix. (Their research arm, specifically.)
posted by abulafa at 8:57 PM on December 3, 2007

That's really cool. Is a fisheye lens really necessary, though? That distortion works for some situations, but a simple wide angle would be fine. This has big potential.
posted by zardoz at 9:01 PM on December 3, 2007

>< Doesn't work for me with firefox portable.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:06 PM on December 3, 2007

Yikes, that distorted city view reminds me of some bad trips I've had. No thanks.
posted by puke & cry at 9:29 PM on December 3, 2007

It says on their homepage that their technology is patented, so at least the PTO disagrees with you, delmoi -- what patent lawsuit are you talking about here? I have no idea what you're hypothesizing -- do you?
posted by spiderwire at 10:58 PM on December 3, 2007

I can't wait for the Rule 34 versions.
posted by sfts2 at 11:40 PM on December 3, 2007

This is really, really cool. I don't care if there is lens distortion, I CAN LOOK ALL AROUND WHILE IT MOVES.
posted by Mister Cheese at 1:07 AM on December 4, 2007

Mister Cheese is right, being able to Look Around instead of just Looking At is a major difference. Vertical movement (ie, Looking Up) would be even better.
posted by Tzarius at 2:05 AM on December 4, 2007

It does sort of fly in the face of normal video/motion picture storytelling though. It'd be hard to notice what you're supposed to focus on.

As for the distortion, they address some of that in the "how it's made" demo, where they describe a way of projecting the video onto a largish dome, for a community viewing experience. Displayed in a flat format, as it's done here, just accentuates the distortion.

On one of the pages, there's a link to an article for another application of the system -- one you're probably already aware of. But they also mention how they can only shoot five hours a day due to the changing angle of the sun, which I thought was sort of curious.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:58 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

The whale thing didn't seem to be keystoned as badly as the city one though; why is that I wonder? Different hardware?
posted by Mister_A at 6:17 AM on December 4, 2007

No streets to accentuate the forced perspectives?
posted by Dave Faris at 9:43 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yea looking through the other videos I think that is it. Seems like natural surroundings may be more effective in general, no straight lines to bend....

Thanks Dave!
posted by Mister_A at 7:44 AM on December 5, 2007

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