Friday, November 6, 2009

More Great Press For yellowBird

Great BBC explanatory 360° video for yellowBird

If only those that are so far ahead in 360° video development did as well as yellowBird at marketing themselves, the medium would be much farther down the road to wide acceptance.

Today reporter Dan Simmons of BBC Click, the BBC's flagship technology program, put up an excellent report on yellowBird, the new Dutch company that has made great strides with Point Grey Research Ladybug 2 cameras.

The BBC and yellowBird have put together something I've wanted to see for some explanatory video that uses both 360° and "standard" video versions to tell the story. On the BBC Click post, you can watch a "standard" version of the video that does a great job of showing how the technology works and the above 360° video (which can also be found at yellowBird's website)uses Mr. Simmons description ahead of some of their best demonstration footage. The skiing and helicopter footage is really impressive and the best I've seen from mobile Ladybug 2 cameras.

It mentions that it takes yellowBird about a week to turn around an hour long 360° video, which is actually quite fast even when compared to a standard production studio. To ensure the best quality of image for their clients, they are not above doing some of the "stitching" of components by hand, which is truly essential for some environments.

Marc Groothelm, yellowBird's CEO, discusses some future applications for their platform, including live broadcast and multiple 360° camera streams. It is good to hear that they are working towards those goals, but it must be mentioned that Immersive Media and MATIvision are well ahead of them on those developments. Immersive Media, the original provider for Google Map's Street View, has been broadcasting live feeds from their own 360° video cameras for several weeks from the set of MuchMusic's pop music TV show, Much On Demand, and even streamed an entire hour-long concert by Billy Talent.

MATIvision is the only provider of 360° video that has been successful in integrating multiple 360° video cameras to record an event. The user simply picks which camera they want to view the show from a diagram of the stage setup. This functionality brings an incredible sense of freedom to the user who can see just about anything at anytime happening on stage or in the venue. According to the MATIvision homepage, they have recently completed a project with MTV Studios in London to record a live session by UK rockers, Biffy Clyro.

While both companies seem to be much farther along than yellowbird, neither has been able to grab nearly as much media attention this year. A TechCrunch post in August about yellowBird was awash in comments from amazed readers that had never seen a 360°video before despite the fact that Immersive Media has had its demos online in a Flash player since January of 2008. Today's BBC piece has had many similar reactions being shared via Twitter and Facebook. Immersive Media was recently featured in WIRED's Epicenter blog for it's new live streaming capabilities.

Each player in the 360° video arena will need to find the appropriate balance in its marketing efforts, but congratulations to yellowBird for getting the message out so well. Any increase in awareness of the medium is to the benefit of all.

Stay tuned to the 360° Video Blog for more information about the newest player, SlopeViews, an Immersive Media "agent" company specializing in virtual video tours for facilities such as resorts, campuses, golf courses, and sporting events. Based in the mountains of Colorado, these professional outdoor enthusiasts promise to deliver the most engaging 360° content yet for clients and their prospective customers.

Part of making engaging content is the ability to tell a good story. Until one of these companies finds the right project to use their platform to do that, acceptance and the demand that will come from it may be still be a long way off.

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