The virtual reality revolution, while no longer in its infancy, still has a way to go before it is a truly viable technology. While the technology is far from perfect, 360 degree cameras, a sub-technology of the virtual reality landscape, are becoming more advanced and more viable every day. As it stands, a variety of news organizations, most notably the New York Times and The Guardian, have adopted 360 degree virtual reality technology to offer an immersive and hyper-realistic experience for its viewers.
In 2016, the New York Times announced their daily 360 video series which takes its viewers everywhere from war zones, art exhibits, and concerts. The Guardian has released a similar series of 360 videos including a recent video that attempts to describe what it is like to live with autism. These videos offer an experience that is nearly impossible to replicate through still photography or standard film techniques. WireCutter puts it simply: ‘The appeal of 360-degree cameras is the ability for the viewer to see (and often hear) not just what’s in front of you, but the entire visual sphere of that location. 360-degree images and videos enable the viewer to look around independently, whether that’s by dragging within the picture window in an app or on a computer screen, or by moving their body while holding a phone or tablet that can register its place in 3D space.’
While The New York Times, The Guardian, and other news sites have effectively used the 360 degree technology in a reporting capacity, the cameras, which are essentially two fish eye lenses fashioned back to back, can be a valuable tool for filmmakers who want to produce engaging and unique content in a variety of mediums outside of the news. MarketingTech, for example, reported that: ‘Brands across numerous industries have seen significant success via their use of 360-degree video and VR. For example, Hong Kong Airlines’ 360-degree ad was 35 times more effective than the same traditional 2D ad.’ The range of possibilities for 360 cameras is limitless. Imagine, for example, a live stream 360 view of Paris fashion week that captures not only the catwalk but the reactions of the audience. Imagine directing a music video of a live set that allows the viewer, at his or her own pace, to focus on the different musicians and different members of the crowd. It is a perfect tool for live captures of specific events as well as more cinematic projects. 360 camera technology can offer this, and more, to any filmmaker who aims to step in to a burgeoning aesthetic mode.
360 cameras offer exciting creative possibilities, but, as is the case for the industry in general, the highest quality 360 cameras do not come cheap. At BorrowFox, it is our mission to connect our users with all of the latest tech. The service is planning to stock the 360 cameras soon in order to foster filmmakers’ creative vision and, as always, support that creativity on a budget.