Director's Cut TV Tech Center: Hi-Tech 360-degree Camera Used To Survey Damage In Haiti
By Joe Smith
We've been seeing horrible images of devastation out of Haiti for the past several weeks. Now a new high-tech camera is giving the world a 360 degree view of the devastation.
"It's immersive because it gets everything," says Immersive Media's co-founder David McCutchen. He envisioned the camera while working in special effects.
First there was a black and white attempt, and then came color. McCutchen took a cue from everything spherical. "This shape a dodecahedron it's called. It's the most efficient way to divide a sphere optically," McCutchen explains.
The camera is made of 11 lenses that capture full motion video. Cameraman Craig Adkins had to learn a new way of shooting. "The world of 360 is a completely new way to perceive the world. You tend to always want to be panning," he explains. "Everything happens around you and you want to pan with it. It's really tough to teach yourself to just stand there and realize you're getting things at all times."
The video signals are recorded on to the backpack hard drives. It's then edited and put on the web. "All eleven lenses have come together to make this one cohesive piece in world view," explains editor Eve Hansen.
The camera has been used worldwide from jumping out of a plane to President Obama's Inauguration to the Grand Canyon to Africa, Baghdad, Afghanistan, and now Haiti.
"They want to get a very good mapping of the entire city. So they're able to compare it against pre-destruction, post-destruction," says Chief Marketing Officer Larry Logan.
Originally, the camera was intended for entertainment and advertising. It was the first to do map surveys for Google. Now the company is shooting a 360 video for Mapquest, but it's the video in Haiti that's giving the company a new view from within.
Immersive Media will be in Haiti for at least the next 30 days. It's offering its cameras and sharing the data gratis.
The 360 view camera will be used on the upcoming Grammy Awards and also NBC wants to use one at the Olympics.