Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Heli Hallelujah! 360° Video Over Nimmo Bay, Vancouver Island

Click the FULL SCREEN ICON on the player for total immersion!

northStudio360 created this stunning 360° video for Nimmo Bay Helicopter Fishing and Wilderness Adventures

[UPDATE: Nimmo Bay Helicopters and northStudio360 have received over 2 million views on this video since it made the front page of The Huffington Post]

Sweeping through a high mountain landscape in a helicopter is an experience few will ever have.  Hanging outside that helicopter with an unobstructed field of view, is an experience no one should real life, anyway. 

Online, the freedom of 360° video taken from such a vantage is breath-taking.  Set to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" as sung by The Canadian Tenors, this 360° video takes you to places normally reserved for eagles and gives you their field of view.  Ryan Whitehead, of northStudio360, created the video by first designing a unique 360° camera rig from 6 prosumer grade cameras.  He built the camera array solidly enough to withstand the rigors of external helicopter shooting, and evidently devised a means of dampening the vibration that normaly makes heli-mounted shooting so difficult.  This was only his first acheivement as part of this project.

Next, Ryan had to "stitch" the imagery from all six cameras into a unified image.  There are a number of excellent stitching software tools available for stitching still images, but stitching video is not a simple function command in those packages.  northStudio360 seems to have also developed a new "video merging" software as their media release states.

Ryan told me via Facebook, "We constructed a aerial 360 camera rig built from consumer cameras and just stuck them on the end of a pole. I then took the videos and with my own workflow, stitched it all together".  Sounds simple, right?  Trust me, it's not.  There are difficult challenges to that workflow that resulted in a spectacular experience here.

Delivering that experience required a unique video player also, and for that, Ryan turned to yellowBird, the Netherlands-based firm behind so many recent events in the 360° video world.  The interactive, spherical yellowBird video player is social media enabled and powerfull enough to deliver a smooth experience with the content.  In full screen, the viewer is immersed in the scenery and the sound, with video controls available when needed, but disappearing when not.  Controlling the field of view in this video, following a mountain peak as the helicopter flys by, peering into a glacial crevasse as you float over it, swerving back and forth as you cruise upriver just feet over the water, all of it is simply marvelous to experience. 

My hope is that everyone with an internet connection around the world gets to have this experience and what are sure to be many more from Ryan Whitehead, northStudio360, and yellowBird. 

It is beauty for beauty's sake, and it is quite a ride.  It will also, likely, sell a lot of helicopter flights.
Ryan's team has also put together a fantastic virtual tour for Nimmo Bay Helicopter, Fishing, & Wilderness Adventures


  1. Excellent post! I invite you to kwno my 360º video site:

    Also on my twitter you can find other 360º videos. Greetings from Colombia.

  2. oder auch hier aus Deutschland:
    interaktive 360° Videos mit einem ferngesteuertem Hubschrauber ;-)