In this article we look at how virtual reality photography in 360-degree photos and 360-degree videos is the next big thing!
A Brief History of Photography
The world is ever changing in every aspect, and new technologies keep on replacing old technologies on an almost daily basis.
The photography industry is no different, and it all started with very basic cameras that produced blurry black and white photos to more refined versions that allowed better images to be produced, and eventually to portable cameras. The next shift in photography’s evolution came with the introduction of color cameras that produced washed-out photos, but they were in color nonetheless! Film technology improved more and more and in addition to producing rich, vibrant color photos, photographers had the choice of many films to choose from, each with its own type of grain effect.The first electronic camera came from Kodak in 1975, but it was cumbersome and not user-friendly.It took more than a decade for the first digital single-lens reflex camera, more commonly knows as a DSLR camera, to emerge with Nikon’s help in 1986, and it took around another 2 decades for digital cameras to outrun print photography in consumer adoption as digital cameras became more portable and higher in image quality.
Emergence of Virtual Reality
With huge advancements in computer processing capabilities, more virtual reality devices are coming on to the market day-by-day.The photography industry saw this as an opportunity to take digital photography to the next level in realism with the birth of 360-degree cameras.The 360-degree content produced by these cameras immerses the viewer in the photograph or video by allowing him or her to look around in any direction from a single standing position. Virtual reality photography takes this feeling of realism to a higher level by adding the element of depth into the pictures and videos thus making them
3-dimensional (3D) as well.
How 360-Degree Photos and videos are Produced and Viewed
360-degree photography requires multi-lens cameras, with each lens facing in a different direction, to produce two or more images or videos. The resulting images or videos are then stitched together in the camera or by using a computer program to form a single 360-degree photo or video.The final photos and videos can then be viewed on a multitude of devices including, but not limited to, computers, smartphones, tablets, and virtual reality headsets. Viewers can use a computer mouse or their finger on a touchscreen as eyes to move the images or videos and view them in all directions.Inexpensive virtual reality headsets can also be purchased, which require a smartphone such as an iPhone or any other Android phone to be put inside the headset; thus, the headsets can use a phone’s processing power and screen to allow the viewer to have a similar experience to using the higher-end virtual reality headsets and yet remain inexpensive.
Uses of virtual Reality and 360-Degree Photos / Images
360-degree photographs and videos give us an opportunity to view entire rooms, large spaces, and landscapes in a single shot as opposed to images produced by pure digital cameras, which limit the viewer to view only the one point of focus at a single time; this is the main reason why
360-degree photography is being adopted and
embraced across the world at such a fast rate!Imagine viewing what a business has to offer without spending the time and effort of actuallygoing there in person. Imagine looking at virtual tours of real estate properties or popular tourist destinations right from your chair or couch! And, finally, imagine being able to re-experience and share the special moments in your lives such as weddings or a baby’s first steps, and feeling like you are actually there at that exact moment when the photo or video wascaptured! Greeting Card companies such as Hallmark and online social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr have already embraced 360-degree photos and videos thus making it easy for you to share your 360-degree content with your audience. With the climbing number of big companies adopting the technology, it is evident that virtual reality is here to stay!