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Capturing the Virtual World

The new Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K has massive potential to change the way filmmakers see the world and, as Spanish researcher Asier Arranz shows, the scope is there to use it in a variety of innovative ways.

Blogs 24th March 2017
Capturing the Virtual World Written by: Pro Movie Maker

Action cams have made a huge impact on the way we see the world with their diminutive size and rugged nature enabling point-of-view images from the heart of the action. But the new Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K takes things to the next level by offering a dramatic 360° viewpoint, allowing a viewer with a headset the opportunity to experience exactly what the participant can see, or even just use one of the latest sharing platforms like YouTube 360 to interactively alter the viewing experience by using a mouse to change the field of view at will. In short what we’re looking at here is the next generation of action cameras, one that’s very easy to use and incredible to experience. But to see the Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K as solely an action camera would be to miss out on the potential of 360° filmmaking.

There are so many exciting possibilities the immersive nature of this technology can bring to commercial work that we’re likely to see an explosion in unique uses of 360 cameras very soon, and filmmakers who are at the forefront will be in a great position to offer new and exciting projects to clients. And with the Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K also coming in a 4K model, the quality is amazing. Latest developments One forward-thinker already reaping the benefits of 360 technology by using Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K cameras is Asier Arranz at the IE Business School in Madrid.

As head of the technology laboratory, Asier is always looking at how technology can be used to improve the learning experience at the school. And he’s using the Pixpro SP360 4K in a whole range of different ways. Asier uses a single camera for 360 video and pairs two together for full VR projects. One key use of 360 is that remote students can learn from their own homes. “At the IE Business school we have the WOWroom, one of the biggest immersive video walls in the world,” he says. “We use it to connect with students in their homes, using Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K for 360 simulations.” Another key development is Asier’s use of the camera to take students inside an environment that a large group could not get access to.“We can take students inside new locations, such as the anechoic chamber at Airbus,” says Asier. “There we filmed the Airbus CEO explaining how they test antennas in satellites. We also went inside the Ariane space rocket, too. The idea is to record 360 environments so that students can see all around the plant without having to go there.”

The 360° footage means students can really have a good look around every aspect of the location, and the school is planning to set exams based on the film. “Students can see an engineer working and be asked about what he is doing.” The immersive and captivating experience of watching in 360°, along with the live streaming capabilities of the Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K, makes it ideal for long-distance, real-time communication. That’s something Asier is using to pitch new ideas to distant audiences – such as the classic ‘elevator pitch’ of new business ideas to investors. “Entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas to companies all over the world,” he says. “Using streaming from the camera, the audience could be in Silicon Valley.” Immersive, 360° video streaming from all sorts of events could be a real benefit to commercial filmmakers everywhere.

Audiences could watch sporting events or any sort of live show and experience it like never before. Creative uses Of course, the Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K can also be used to make more creative images, in video as well as stills. That’s something Asier has also used his cameras for, such as in this shot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It’s one of the world’s most photographed landmarks but the 180° view of the Pixpro f/2.8 lens brings a whole new look to the image. “I found the central point under the Eiffel Tower, and placed the SP360 4K on the ground looking up,” he says. “I dialled in exposure compensation to gain more detail on the shadows inside the tower without losing the clouds.” To check out the view from the camera and trigger the shutter, Asier used the Pixpro remote app on his HTC10 Android phone (iOS versions are available, too).

Showing good dynamic range and detail capture from its 12-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, Asier could also further enhance the image. Creating very different-looking images is part of the SP360 4K’s huge appeal. Of course it can be used for less glamorous applications, such as performing as a security camera, but the more creative filmmaker can use the advantages of this easy-to-use technology to get results that just haven’t been possible before – certainly not at such a low cost or with such intuitive software. With different image options – from dome view and panorama – to live view shooting via the NFC and Wi-Fi compatible app, a motion-detection feature, 4K still image bursts, 4K and HD video and time-lapse as well as fast 120fps recording, there are virtually no limits to what a forward-thinking filmmaker could achieve. The editing software is simple and fast, too. And as the camera is so small it can be safely mounted in lots of places that normal cameras can’t.

With a range of custom accessories – everything from a waterproof housing to suction mounts, a selfie pole, a Dual Camera Drone mount to be used with the 3DR SOLO and even an RF remote Control to control up to eight SP360 4K cameras to render 360° spherical videos – the Kodak SP360 4K is right at the forefront of the latest filmmaking technology in an easy-to-use package.

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