Friday, August 21, 2009

Unique Experiences Online from the University of Plymouth

Karol Kwiatek, PhD researcher at the University of Plymouth's ICCI (Innovation for the Creative & Cultural Industries), has been working hard since becoming responsible for the University's wise investment in a LadyBug 2 camera from Point Grey Research.

With a unique take on story-telling through immersive experiences, Karol's projects provide the viewer with not only the look and feel of a place today, but also often incorporate a view of the past using historic panorama photographs, CGI, and audio dialog for contrast. Using Jason Vilmer's Lucid Viewer, the user experience of each project is unique and represents what can and will be done with this new medium.

Take a tour of a Polish Heritage Site, experience the memories of a couple with an extraordinary wedding story, or just feed the pigeons at the link below:

Karol Kwiatek's 360video

Thanks Karol, for sharing your work, keep it up!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

yellowBird Captures T-Mobile Sing-Along 360° Video Experience

A couple of days ago, Tech Crunch had a piece about yellowBird, the Dutch startup employing LadyBug 2 cameras from Point Grey Research. Glad to see so many comments in favor of the 360° video platform, I chimed in on the discussion and mentioned that I had not seen much from yellowBird since it's initial demo was released last January. Well, thanks to another commenter, I was pointed to T-Mobile's Sing-Along 360° Experience. This is just good fun.

Apparently, the team at yellowBird were invited to Trafalgar Square by Saatchi & Saatchi London to shoot this T-Mobile brand-affirming event. 13,000 people gathered to sing Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in front of a larger video display of they lyrics. This sort of branded flash mob sing-along has been quite popular with the people in attendance, on YouTube, and with T-Mobile as a way to connect with customers with little fun. It's great to see a company like T-Mobile wanting to take the concept still further. By documenting the event in 360° video, they gave the rest of us the opportunity to see and hear what it was like in the crowd.

It's also great to see a renowned creative team like Saatchi & Saatchi continue to bring 360° video to its clients. Saatchi & Saatchi teamed up with Immersive Media earlier this year on it's work with Armani Jeans in a guided 360° video brand experience for its new website.

Congrats to yellowBird on garnering significant attention for their work with 360° video. Apparently, the TechCrunch article (spread widely on Twitter) drew enough interest to overload their servers this week, those are growing pains that I'm sure they are happy to deal with. Here's the video that got people talking.

You can also experience a hot-air balloon ride with yellowBird's founders over the Dutch country-side while they interview for a TV news program here
Here's a photo from the Trafalgar Square event

Monday, August 3, 2009

Texas On Tour Update: 360° Experience Is Now Online

Big Look 360 has uploaded their kayaking adventure for everyone to experience online in 360° Video! As a kayaker who began my outdoor adventures in the Big Bend Country of southwest Texas, I am especially appreciative of the opportunity to relive my best memories of the Lone Star State through the Texas On Tour experience.

All over the country this year, the State of Texas's Tourism Office and Governor's Office of Economic Development and Tourism have sponsored a travelling exhibit to promote travel to the state. One of the most popular pieces of the exhibit has been the virtual kayaking experience produced by Big Look 360, in which prospective visitor's are seated in a kayak and, through head-tracking, head-mounted display devices, are taken on a kayak tour of Texas waterways.

According to Lance Loesberg, Executive Producer for Big Look 360, the 360° Video experience is also combined with a variety of sensory components, including vibration, smell, and wind, to further immersed participants. Now, the visual experience is available to the rest of us online in an excellent, full-screen, Flash player that appears to be the Lucid Viewer referred to elsewhere in this blog. I just love it when great things come together!
Experience the Texas On Tour kayaking adventure now!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

360° Video Powers A Serious Game To Train US Army, Wins American Business Award

The YouTube video above describes RealityV, a 360° Video platform built by InVism, a simulation and visualization services company, in partnership with EffectiveUI, an award-winning user experience design and development agency.

The project effectively employs 360° Video in a "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style training program for US Military personnel to put them into photorealistic experiences that they are likely to encounter overseas and aid them in effective and culturally-sensitive decision-making. Deployed as Army 360: Immersive Cultural Simulation the RealityV platform also incorporates "emotionally charged high-definition video" in combination with 360° Video. Marking the first publicly discussed use of actual actors, scripts, and production values for a 360° Video project, Army 360 appears to be a highy effective training tool.

You can see a rather long and slow to load trailer for the project here. Below is a simple screenshot from the trailer.

The project won a Stevie Award in the "Interactive Multimedia - Training" category from the American Business Awards according to Fox Business News on July 22 in New York. Read the full story here.

It is worth noting that the 360° Video content seems to have been captured with a GoPano optic from EyeSee360° on an HD video camera. This is the first time I've seen a project use this single-sensor system, and I am intrigued.

Congratulations to InVism (formerly Intelligence Gaming), EffectiveUI, and The US Army on an innovative and effective program that will saves lives, both military and civilian. I, for one, hope to see much more of this type of focused effort to create engaging, educational, and entertaining projects in the powerfully interactive 360° video medium.