Welcome to our blog.

Our blog is all about 360 degree virtual reality (vr) and we hope to dispel some of the myths and complexities behind this new and interesting technology.

If you want a crib sheet of some of the things we have learnt so far, why not download our pdf file. The information in this file is based on our experience gained from using both the Xiaomi Sphere 360 and Ricoh Theta V. We started off with the Samsung Gear 360 (golf ball model) which is amazing value if you just wanted to dabble. However for anyone wanting a little more from their photography it does lack in many areas.

This blog entry is tinged with a little sadness.

This last week I was able to visit the St David’s Hospice in Newport, South Wales. It’s a truly fabulous site and blew me away with the quality of not only the accommodation, but also the facilities. For anyone who needs respite or palliative care, I can think of very few places that match this.

So why the sadness, well that stems from how far technology has come in just a few years and how engaged my father would have been with it if he was still with us. My father died from a combination of Dementia and Cancer.  He’d been a mechanic throughout his life and always had a keen interest in photography and latterly video. The advent of 360 Virtual Reality (vr) appearing just two years after his death.  Since vr’s arrival development of this new media continues apace. Just this past week I discovered a function that allows for images and audio to be playing together, such that a user cannot only experience the stimuli of 360 images but also ambient sounds and/or narration. Combine this with image hot spots and the viewer is now pretty much in control of their destination.

The scope for this immersive engagement is quite literally shattering. For palliative care, people who would previously have been confined to watching TV or looking at images on a tablet, can now enjoy a unique virtual reality experience. They can take an emotional journey to where they would like to go.

These and other developments are truly positive steps that I am always interested to explore. I am aware however that sometimes others take convincing of the benefit of virtual reality. I too was in that camp until I got my first VR experience. From that moment on I was hooked. I have since purchased a camera (or two) and dived in to all the challenges this immersive technology is throwing at me. I did however find my first efforts at VR video rather lacklustre.. The quality of the resultant videos, whist good on an iphone were somewhat lacking in clarity when displayed through a VR headset. I found it all rather 1990’s video-ish. A bit too soft for my liking. Improvements however are coming thick and fast. 4k vr video is quickly giving way to 5.7k and more I suspect as technology improves.

I am therefore sad that my father couldn’t benefit from virtual reality, but glad that things are moving ahead. I cannot help but feel people today with life restricting conditions and indeed anyone that simply cannot get out anymore will soon be able to live a life filled with great experiences however old or infirm they may be, and that has to be great for all of us.

Cornwall capers

We’re just back from a late break to Cornwall. During this break, I had a few tasks in mind for the VR cameras; namely a quick trip to Cotehele House to grab some pics/video of their xmas garland and to try and get a range of 360 still shots from Fowey for use later on as the basis for some 360 illustrations. Another extra would be a bonus.

Thankfully the weather was on our side for the most part and we managed to achieve all the tasks and some. I took with me both the Xiaomi Mi Sphere 360 and the Ricoh Theta V. I also made sure I had the Manfrotto extension pole and a small telescopic tripod a selfie stick. To be honest I used the tripod and selfie stick more than the Manfrotto pole. tripod and selfie stickThe uneven ground and strong winds would be too much for the Manfrotto so that was pretty much left in the car boot. I Have found that a selfie stick screwed to the tripod mount and extended gives an almost invisible pole and if the tripod is in it’s contracted state it actually isn’t too obtrusive. I found it took a little tweaking to get things level but for the most part worked quite well. The only downside was it was a bit cumbersome and I didn’t trust moving the selfie stick whilst it was still attached to the tripod.

I achieved all the pre trip objectives which was good and was able to post a few samples up to the Kuula 360 image hosting site (https://kuula.co/profile/markharvey) and a clip or two to our YouTube channel (https://youtu.be/R6c1Wrjdm18).

Vuze XR

HI guys, today we’re on the list to get a Vuze XR. What makes this camera unique is the ability to capture 360 2D vr or 180 degree 3D vr. The camera has two lenses as any normal camera, but has the option to have the lenses either back to back or side by side.

The cameras are due to start shipping in late November to arrive sometime in December which is a bit of a logistical nightmare as that is probably the busiest time of the year for couriers. It is also the time when most parcels get either lost or damaged in transit. Not the best time of the year to be shipping customers orders.

Hopefully our camera will be neither lost nor damaged, but we’ll have to wait and see along with a great many other eager film makers