Stupid yet impressive video innovation of the day

posted at 4:46 pm on March 13, 2008 by Allahpundit

Hit play, point your cursor at the screen, and click/hold/drag. Cool yet pointless, it’s the Ron Paul Blimp of A/V gadgetry.

Which types of filmmakers could conceivably find this useful? Just three: Travelogue editors, auteurs interested in ever more daringly unwatchable experimental techniques, and, er, let’s leave it at that.


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Got sea sick.

Akzed on March 13, 2008 at 4:49 PM

So that’s what it feels like to be Sushi!

lorien1973 on March 13, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Couple that with this and you just might have something.

ChrisM on March 13, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Which types of filmmakers could conceivably find this useful?

harem pron?

Chakra Hammer on March 13, 2008 at 4:51 PM

Cool yeah, waste of time yeah.

WildBillK on March 13, 2008 at 4:52 PM

Just because you can do something, doesn’t always mean you should.

pedestrian on March 13, 2008 at 4:54 PM

I like movies, and I liked Timecode (the daringly unwatchable film experiment). Erasurhead was unwatchable (I endured), Timecode just tended to make me uneasy.

-

deesine on March 13, 2008 at 4:54 PM

Neat, spherical VR only instead of a staic image you have a movie.

LordDaMan on March 13, 2008 at 4:55 PM

Not seeing why you deride it as stupid, AP.

Impressive, to a degree. Should be interesting to see what/if innovative use is made of it.

LimeyGeek on March 13, 2008 at 4:59 PM

All it did was crash my browser, which isn’t really that neat at all. Lot’s of things can do that.

jl on March 13, 2008 at 5:00 PM

Actually, this would be great for troops in the field, particularly in training and debriefing from an intense firefight. Would give a far better idea of what could happen, what did happen, and why.

Vizzini on March 13, 2008 at 5:00 PM

I’ve seen this used on a car website, to give a 360-degree up-and-down impression of the car’s interior (sorry, I forget which company). I found it persuasive.

Lockstein13 on March 13, 2008 at 5:02 PM

That’s cool.

Spirit of 1776 on March 13, 2008 at 5:05 PM

Well…you were right…

Snooper on March 13, 2008 at 5:05 PM

er, let’s leave it at that.

architectural studies?

jimmer on March 13, 2008 at 5:06 PM

Made me nauseous. Do.Not.Want.

ihasurnominashun on March 13, 2008 at 5:06 PM

So exactly how is this stupid?

Dr. Manhattan on March 13, 2008 at 5:07 PM

Sorry, AP; tis very cool.

Shoulda received the ‘dude‘ stamp.

elpidzo13 on March 13, 2008 at 5:09 PM

A lot of things when first discovered seem to have not real constructive use. Like petroleum…

brtex on March 13, 2008 at 5:14 PM

Hey, why no video of the President’s announcement on FISA today?
DKK

LifeTrek on March 13, 2008 at 5:23 PM

I’m not sure it’s a waste of time … this would be phenomenal for security tapes

Ludwig on March 13, 2008 at 5:25 PM

It actually made me a little dizzy, which is strange because I don’t get motion sickness often.

NeoconNews.com on March 13, 2008 at 5:32 PM

If you watch it with 3-D glasses, you can see God.

Exurban Jon on March 13, 2008 at 5:37 PM

(oh yeah, it made me motion sick too.)

Exurban Jon on March 13, 2008 at 5:38 PM

I wonder how they do it.

Dr. Manhattan on March 13, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Couple that with this and you just might have something.

ChrisM on March 13, 2008 at 4:49 PM

now, that’s impressive; one way they could alleviate the two person view problem is by giving each person a (very large) monitor; I wonder how much tolerance there is for minor deviation–maybe it would still work with small variations in a movie theater to make really good 3D

as far as this wrap around view, I’ve seen stuff like that years ago in web car ads that let you see the whole interior–apartments/houses too; the only difference here is that the camera is moving

urbancenturion on March 13, 2008 at 6:12 PM

Unlimited angles while watching porn!

Ropera on March 13, 2008 at 6:26 PM

Neat, spherical VR only instead of a staic image you have a movie.

LordDaMan on March 13, 2008 at 4:55 PM

Yup. Me likey.

- The Cat

MirCat on March 13, 2008 at 6:55 PM

Real estate companies already do this

tlynch001 on March 13, 2008 at 7:41 PM

Couple that with this and you just might have something.

ChrisM on March 13, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Johnny Lee’s work is involving pure mathematical 3D models; the tech in the OP’s video is using an omnidirectional camera, so all you have is flat imagery (360 degrees of it, pseudo-spherical, like an uber panoramic photo). You’d need extra 3D information from the filmed scenes to do the view-dependent rendering that Johnny Lee’s stuff is doing.

This [MPG file] could do it, though. Science here.

Welcome to the new world, folks. It’s changing fast.

spmat on March 13, 2008 at 7:55 PM

Unlimited angles while watching porn!

Some variation on this theme was inevitable.

And why not?

LimeyGeek on March 13, 2008 at 8:37 PM

Don’t be so cynical AP – that’s some pretty cool tech. I remember doing Quicktime 360′s years back, but to have it as motion video is pretty neat-o :) Imagine it full screen.

BJ* on March 13, 2008 at 9:00 PM

What many of you are mentioning, the car 360′s (Daimler Chrysler does this) the house 360′s and such, were all STATIC images. IE: A fisheye lens digital camera on a tripod with an electric motor.

The camera spins around in a circle while creating a long contiguous image file. Software is then used “stitch” the image together into a single 360 degree image afterwards. One company used to hold the patent on this, but lost it’s patent in a court battle that ultimately sunk the company. Now other companies are picking up the slack and making use of the technology.

HOWEVER, this is something entirely different. These are video images, and I have no clue how they get them, other than perhaps two (or more) fish-eye lensed mini-cams back to back mounted on some kind of (apparently waterproof) headgear or transportable stand. They must use some kind of specialized software (possibly some they wrote themselves) to stitch the video together later. But it has to be more than a single camera. To the best of my knowledge, there is no lens in existence that can capture a complete 360 degree arc like that to a single CCD input source. At least, not without MASSIVE image distortion. (imagine looking through a glass sphere. stuff in the center is almost normal, but everything else is a stretched out blur.)

Very interesting technology. Oh, and absolutely “dude”worthy.

wearyman on March 13, 2008 at 9:10 PM

I fell off the boat and drowned. I ended up in vegetable market Haven.

Sailor7 on March 13, 2008 at 9:14 PM

Ah. I just saw spmat’s post. The immersion technologies website has the answer for us:

The camera head is one unified camera system made up of 11 lenses and sensors configured according to a dodecahedro

HERE is the camera description page.

Cool stuff!

wearyman on March 13, 2008 at 9:21 PM

I am glad there are smart people like Johnny Lee out there

windansea on March 13, 2008 at 9:52 PM

I know a local startup here that’s doing this sort of thing. It works by taking a movie of a hemispherical mirror (put two together and you’ve got 4π steradians). Yes, there’s a lot of distortion — the technology development is the ability to undistort the images in real time. Moreover, every viewer can undistort locally, so that even for real time video every viewer can look in an arbitrary direction.

As for utility, one application I think that would do well is video feeds to sports bars. Just think about watching a game and being able to aim the camera where you want. A bit of TIVO, and you can replay the action and look anywhere on the field. People would pay some serious cash for that.

I think they’re looking more at surveillance / security. Put one of these on a post and you can look at anywhere, instantly, because the camera pan is purely virtual. And again, if you see something suspicious off in the corner, rewind and look right at it. The guys are also trying to hook up with 3D modelers so that rather than touching camera controls, you pick a point on a map and tell the video system “show me this”.

Annoying Old Guy on March 13, 2008 at 10:01 PM

To the best of my knowledge, there is no lens in existence that can capture a complete 360 degree arc like that to a single CCD input source. At least, not without MASSIVE image distortion. (imagine looking through a glass sphere. stuff in the center is almost normal, but everything else is a stretched out blur.)

Bell Labs invented something like it about a dozen years ago, before Lucent tried to cure its recession hangover with last-year’s-products cyanide. The camera gets a 360-degree cylindrical view, but not a full sphere. The trick is a pyramidal mirror, with the camera looking down (or up) at the apex. It’s not a full pyramid but a frustrum, and I image that with suffiently good software you could make it work with a conical pyramid as well.

Whether this is done with that technology I couldn’t say.

njcommuter on March 13, 2008 at 11:22 PM

Which types of filmmakers could conceivably find this useful?

Streaming in-car racecam.

Reaps on March 14, 2008 at 1:11 AM

This is actually an impressive innovation. If the tech can be made cheap enough, and works with live feed, you’ve got a webcam than can be independently steered by thousands of users. There are some webcams that you can steer now, but it’s actually motorized, and points wherever the one person who happens to be controlling it is pointing.

Imagine being able to access 360 views on the top of Everest, or on a coral reef (like in the movie). Would people pay to access this kind of scenery? Hell, stick one on the Moon (of course, nothing really moves there).

What about sports events? A centrally-placed camera where you can decide what to look at, not the cameraman. Maybe even that one girl in the bleachers jumping up and down.

Take some time…bet you can all think of some applications yourselves.

Next step is to improve resolution, and maybe figure out some kind of zoom. Or make a helmet that steers the view with your head.

tbrosz on March 14, 2008 at 1:39 AM

Streaming in-car racecam.

Reaps on March 14, 2008 at 1:11 AM

Holy Crap! – Strong Bad

Imagine floating one of this down over a basketball game. Like you’re right on the court dude and 9 feet tall.

MirCat on March 14, 2008 at 4:47 AM

I thought it was pretty awesome, actually. I can think of a lot of uses for it.

Jewels on March 14, 2008 at 9:33 AM

OK, I think we all know this will pay immediate dividends in the online porn industry. :p

Beside that, this could revolutionize security technology. how often do you see a person pass from one camera to another in a blind spot. If there is a few of these cameras that a security person can click and drag to follow on, it could be a valuable tool.

the sports angle is also another area that could really benefit from this technology.

It is essentially useless for narrative filmmaking though.

MannyT-vA on March 14, 2008 at 9:40 AM