Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NYC Gets Immersed in Texas

To show a side of Texas that too few get to see, Texas Tourism and the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Tourism have employed a 360° video exhibit for it's Texas On Tour (TOT)traveling promotion. Last week, TOT's dusty trail was in New York City, giving residents of the Big Apple a realistic experience from several Texas waterways. Potential visitors from NYC climbed into kayaks and put on head-tracking video display systems to become immersed in 360° videos from locations around the state.

Running the rapids of the Rio Grande River in the depths of the canyons of the Big Bend region, virtual visitors of the Texas on Tour experience traversed the line between the US and its southern neighbor, Mexico. In the Gulf of Mexico, they virtually explore the Corpus Christi coast, visiting historic aircraft carriers and getting to see, first-hand, the surf of America's "Third Coast". Among the Spanish Moss covered Cypress trees of Texas' only natural lake, Caddo Lake, virtual visitors enjoyed an adventure typically reserved for its most adventurous residents. With 360° video delivered with head-tracking HMD's, participants could look in any direction and see the scenery passing by exactly as if they were actually there.

From exit surveys, the promotion was a huge success because it improved the New Yorker's perception of Texas as a travel destination by 22 percent. A natural application for 360° video, such destination promotion campaigns benefit hugely by taking potential visitors exactly where they want to go and delivering an exceptional experience. Now, Texas Travel simply needs to put these experiences online via available Flash players, so that those of us who weren't lucky enough to be near a Texas On Tour exhibit can check out all we don't know about the Lone Star State. I mean, I want to see Caddo Lake, too. Until then, here's a photo of NYC residents getting immersed in the Texas On Tour experience to give you the idea:

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Players Under the Camera!

Two new companies have joined the world of 360° Video production:

ChaseVision 360 is applying 360° Video to the commercial real estate, civil engineering, and asset management realms. Using a Ladybug camera from Point Grey Research, they're providing a view of assets that was previously only available with a field trip, saving client's precious project resources. They appear to be using the Lucid Viewer (at least for demonstration) which I've linked to in a previous post here. The large window and fullscreen options are great for 360° Video and the "Unmanned Asset" demo has an excellent usage of 3D Objects as hotspots linked to 360° still images. For commercial use, this works well to take to user exactly where they want to be without scrubbing back and forth to find it. The advantage of 360° Video, in this case, is a matter of production. Instead of setting up a 360° still pano in multiple locations, it looks like they simply made a pass around the tower with the 360° Video camera and pulled the needed stills in post. Excellent demonstration! Question to ChaseVision360: Any embed codes available for these demos?

Also using Point Grey Research's Ladybug 2 cameras, yellowBird wants to take 360° Video into the advertising and entertainment spheres, where Immersive Media has gotten its feet wet with Red Bull, Armani, and Mercedes-Benz.
They appear to have designed their own Flash player that has an excellent user experience, but full screen would be nice, too. Looking forward to seeing more from yellowBird soon. They've taken their demo off their site, but it's still playing here

Good to see organizations with targeted, attainable goals.

Friday, June 5, 2009

360° Video Fullscreen! Check out the Lucid Player!

There's no audio, but this clip from a Malaysian boat ride really doesn't need it. The visuals are fantastic and well represented in the Lucid Player.

Created primarily for 360° video files from Point Grey Research's Ladybug cameras, this new player is a fantastic, full screen user experience. All of the demo clips found on the lower toolbar are worth the small loading wait.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wanna Go Paragliding?

Launch off Mt. Alyeska over Girdwood, Alaska in one of my favorite shooting experiences with Immersive Media

Special thanks to ace pilot Nik Peterson and the crew at both Alyeska Resort and Alyeska Paragliders. Oh, and the crew at IM360 Studios for the editing.

Humvee Tour in Utah

This 360° Video is not embeddable yet, but you can go on a Humvee Tour across the Utah desert and listen to the tales spun by one of Moab's best tour guides. Shot by Brad Trites of 360 View Productions this spring, the experience is like Google Maps Street View, but it's on a 4x4 trail over the slickrock, you can hear the roar of the engine, and (of course) it's in video!

Check it out here

360° Video from the Grand Canyon

From the rim of the Grand Canyon at Guano Point on the Hualapi Nation's land. The steel structure looming overhead was used to run a cable to the large cave on the far side of the canyon (look for it using the zoom tool in the upper left). The operation mined bat guano from the cave until an F-16 running the canyon well below the rim sliced through the cable at some point in the 1980's, at least that was the story that our guide told us. That's his white Hummer parked under the structure. If you get a chance to visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk, Guano Point is just a short hike away and offers a bit more rustic view.