The growth of 360° video and photography

4 reasons why it’s set to continue

At the start of the summer we bought our first agency 360° camera – the portable and incredibly simple-to-use Ricoh Theta S. We wanted to understand the applications for our clients, but I was sceptical; 360° felt most likely to be a gimmick. I remember the IPIX technology from the early noughties well; it achieved relative popularity (amongst estate agents in particular) but never reached critical mass. Surely this renaissance would pass quickly too?

But after a summer of realising a) how easy it is to now shoot (IPIX needed its own rig and software) and b) watching people’s delight as they explore the resulting footage, it now seems obvious the format will only grow. We just needed the technology to catch up with our ambition…

So here are four things driving the growth of 360° video/photography:
1. It’s cheap

Our camera was £300 (a mid-range consumer device) and costs will continue to fall. It’s quite possible that other devices (phones, tablets, wearables) will start to integrate 360° cameras too.

2. It’s easy to shoot and share

There’s no need to point the device (it shoots everything) - you simply push a button. The camera stitches the shot together automatically and allows you to share it via Flickr and YouTube.

3. We have the technology

Smart phones (with or without a VR headset) make the technology accessible and fun. Check out the interior of the new Mercedes E-Class, for example (don’t forget to move your phone around).

4. Facebook is betting on it

360° is the door to Virtual Reality and Facebook is heavily invested in VR (they spent £2bn on Oculus in 2014). Why? Because Mark Zuckerburg believes VR is the platform through which we will all consume content in future: “This is early, and it’s going to be a long-term thing,” he says. “This is a good candidate to be the next major computing platform. It’s worthy of a lot of investment over a long period.”

And this final point effectively sums it up. The reason 360° will continue to grow is because it quite literally shifts the users’ perception – it engages like nothing else can. It transports and utterly immerses you. In other words, it’s good fun.

Post by

Ben Martin