Immersive Video Technology Comes Of Age
By Ralph Thomas

We are about to enter a new age of video and photo technology in which the viewer interacts to and observes views from all sides of a given point of view. Although panoramic photography has been around for a long time, it it now merging with video technology and the internet to produce was is now being called Immersive Video Technology.

Immersive Video Technology is 360 degree photo technology that lets you move around in a photo north, south, east west as well as up and down direction. It is also been called VR technology or virtual reality. To get a feel of this in basic terms, go to the panoramic view of the Spy Exchange and mouse around with the second photo. Virtual Panoramic views have been around for a while and are often used to show panoramic views of the insides of homes on the online real estate for sale web sites. You can click here to view some more panoramic type video examples from Immersive Media.

Google Maps And Street Views
Google Maps is the really the first mapping service to offer what they call Street Views. Street views lets you go up and down streets, look to the north, south, east and west as well as look up and look down. You can actually walk or drive around certain locations now with this technology. To the right is a camera they use that it attached to a vehicle that drives around so you can use this technology. If you want to try it, go to: http://maps.google.com/. Once there, type in either New York City or Las Vegas. Zoom the map in, click on Street Views and then click on the people icon that you will see on the map. You can then move around at street view and look to the left and look to the right. We you come to intersections that have arrows going down those streets, you can turn left or turn right with your mouse and travel down those streets. You can now travel down major cites throughout the world without even leaving your desktop. Not only that, there is likely a whole lot more to come in the near future. Think about stores linking up to street views in which you can enter stores and actually shop in virtual reality in them. It's coming to a computer screen near you never soon!

Still Photo Screen Shots Of Street Views On New York City And Las Vegas from Google

If you have seen a gray VW with a strange looking camera on it's roof (see above) driving around a major city, this is likely the vehicle that is taking the Immersive photos for Google Maps Street Views. The secret of course is in the 11 lens camera called Dodeca 2360 which shoots the images and then seamlessly stitches the images together with a software program so viewers can then move around in the photo 360 degrees.You can review video demos of this camera by clicking here. Someday in the near future, investigators will be using video cameras like this. As of June of 2007, Google has shot 35 cities and 45,000 miles totaling over 125 million images. You can beat that they plan on shooting very major city in the world with six vehicles in North America and three in Europe.

Apple's QuickTime VR
QuickTime VR is an authoring program that lets you stitch photos together making a 360 degree panoramic photo and then lets you create a QuickTime VR others can interactive with. There is even link hotspots than can be created that would let one click on (for example) a door and then walk inside which would then present another Quicktime VR. To see a sample of Apple's QuickTime VR, click here or on the graphics below. For more information on QuickTime VR, click here.

Apple's QuickTime VT Sample Of Time Square! Click Here To View It.

Below are some more QuickTime VR Examples.

Canyon QuickTime VR Full Screen. Click Here To View It.
For Even More Full Screen Quicklime VRs, Click Here.

Click Here for A QuickTime VR Of A Race.

The good news about panoramic views is that you can obtain stitching software and do this with just about any camera. You simply take photos at different angles and then stitch them together with software such as Cannon PhotoStitch which has ben around for a long time. There are several other photo stitch software programs you can use including stitcher, EasyPano, and PhotoFit.