Long gone are the days of virtual reality limited to flimsy 3-D glasses: the 360fly is here to challenge your perception of interactive, fully immersive video. This revolutionary camera weighs less than a pound, is water, dust and shock-resistant, and captures 360° horizontal x 240° angles, but there is still one huge goal: to make it accessible for the everyday user. 360fly talks about the 360 video industry and how they're working to bring it into the hands of the common consumer.
ProductionHUB: Why do you think the demand for 360-degree video is rapidly growing?
360fly: People have always been interested in ways of capturing a more immersive and “true-to-life” experience. And the growing interest in virtual reality has been a major driver in that. We’re at a stage now where the concept of VR is both broadening and becoming more defined—meaning it’s not just about someone who’s buried behind a set of goggles. People will be experiencing virtual experiences in a range of ways, including on their personal mobile devices.
PH: What filmmakers have been approaching you to work with 360 video?
360fly: We’ve had interest and contact from a super broad range of content creators—from independent filmmakers…to nature, travel and other documentary shooters...to global news organizations. And of course, there’s been a massive amount of interest from action sports.
PH: What types of projects are you currently working on? What types of businesses are using this the most; commercial/corporate, etc.?
360fly: We’re pursuing a few different development tracks. Our primary focus is on bringing 360-degree video capture to the mainstream masses. In a sense, this is the hardest thing to accomplish with 360, because it requires that we make this very complicated technology both simple and affordable to the everyday user.
At the same time, we have teams looking way out ahead at ways to integrate 360 camera technology. Some of those applications are obvious—like security or law enforcement. Others are less obvious at first, but make incredible sense. So we’re in development on a range of pretty groundbreaking consumer products, as well as integration within a bunch of commercial applications and verticals.
PH: For what type of business is this most successful? Should every business consider using 360-degree video?
360fly: There’s really no right answer. It’s like asking what single POV video would be best suited for. Is it best for entertainment, news, social sharing, security or automation? The answer is yes, and much much more.
PH: Do you think there are any conceptual limitations on 360-degree video? If so, what are they and why?
360fly: No. We’re just at the beginning. So it’s going to be incredible to see the evolution of how 360-degree video is used and manipulated.
PH: How did you decide to work with Break.com and how has that been helpful for 360fly?
360fly: We know that social sharing is critical for our users. And we’re at a stage where the social platforms are also trying to get their heads around where the market is going and what types of content platforms they need to support. We’ve been in ongoing conversations with all of the major networks to make sure we’re aligned, because we absolutely don’t want to restrict where our users can post. Ideally,our goal is that users be able to post anywhere and everywhere they already do.
At the same time though, we believe that our spherical format delivers the best experience for users...and it essentially supports video shot with any other type of 360-degree camera. So we’ve be doing everything we can to avoid having 360fly-generated content dumbed down to fit the equirectangular format that many platforms initially launched with. We’ll consider licensing our player to any viable content platform. And our arrangement with Defy Media and Break.com was the first of those such deals.
PH: Anything else you'd like to add?
360fly: As mentioned before, the evolution in the 360 space is going to be phenomenal to watch. There’s going to be incredible technology released over the coming years, and I fully expect that 360fly will be a major part of that. But the important thing to us is that that technology be accessible to the masses. It can’t require 16 GoPros, complex stitching software, massive hard drives, and a few extra days of editing time to make a video. And if quality 360-degree video capture devices are only available to pro users, the platform won’t take root—just like 3D hasn’t. We need to make the gear accessible, affordable and easy to use. And that’s the core of what we’re focused on at 360fly.