KitPlus - The TV-Bay Magazine

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EDUCATION SEEING THINGS WITH A Michael Parsons The reactions that I see from people experiencing 360 video for the first time is usually amazement. 360° VIEWPOINT One of the benefits of working in teaching support is you often get opportunities to explore and experiment with lots of new kit that has been purchased for teaching or research. I have spent the past couple of years supporting the activities that take place within the Creative and Cultural Industries TV Studios (CCI TV for short) at the University of Portsmouth, and I assist in all kinds of areas such as live video production, video editing and outside broadcasting. Aside from sharpening my own skills I also get to help others learn and develop as well. My most recent exploration has involved 360 degree video. I first noticed the ability to view 360 videos on YouTube last year, and like many others I was quite struck by this exciting and novel way to view video on screen. More recently there appears to be an explosion in 360 video with content appearing regularly on my Facebook news feed. When I first came across 360 video, viewing on a mobile phone seemed beyond the technology, but thankfully that’s a thing of the past now. There is something magical about moving your phone around in order to explore a scene and location (when using the official YouTube or Facebook mobile application), and of course you can also just swipe with your finger if you’re worried about looking silly in a public place! The reactions that I see from people experiencing 360 video for the first time is usually amazement. It really does have that wow factor, and viewers seem more likely to explore a sequence just out of curiosity. There is no doubt the recent explosion is due to the fact that 360 video recording equipment has also become more affordable. We have been experimenting at the University of Portsmouth 32 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 115 JULY 2016 with a pair of Kodak PixPro 4k 360 cameras (costing about £750 in total). Each camera produces a 235 degree 4k sphere (which gives some overlap) that can be stitched together to form a full 360 field of view. The quality for the price is quite good, however for best results the focus of what is being filmed needs to take place within a few metres of the camera rig. We have been using our camera’s for a series of experiments, with the prime intention of proving the use and worth of 360 video to our faculty. This is in the hope of getting something of more substantial quality, like the recently announced GoPro Omni Kit. One of the main things we have used the cameras for is the opportunity to provide a behind the scenes look at some of our outside broadcasting from locations such as Ben Ainslie Racing Headquarters and Portsmouth Football Club’s Fratton Park. Normally our viewers only see what we want them to see in front of the camera, but now with 360 video some of the hard work of the students, the broadcasting equipment and many of the cables and wires can all be revealed! By placing the camera in between our studio and makeshift gallery you can get a full 360 experience of everything that is going on.