In an article by Stephen Shankland in CNET called, “This Crazy Camera Could be a Boon to VR Filmmakers,” he explains that “researchers have found a way to build a 360-degree camera that’s compact but shoots high-quality video.” He said this “could be just the thing for virtual reality.” Would you rather choose a camera that’s compressed, or a heavier one that offers sharp imagery? Shankland writes how “researchers at the University of California at San Diego have found a way to get the best of both worlds” and it is a camera called PMast. As of today, PMast is just a prototype; it’s a “cube bulging with lenses and laced with fiber-optic.” The hope for this design is that it will eventually bring immersive video to movies, concerts, sports, and more interactive events – this is a real critical step for virtual reality. Imagine if you were able to be digitally transport to somewhere far away such as viewing the Northern Lights or touring the Egyptian Pyramids? How cool would that be!
Researchers at the University of California at San Diego have been working hard on this new technology for VR, and it’s starting “to take off with high-profile backers like Facebook, Google and Samsung all investing in different headsets.” Not only are tech companies playing around with VR, but Hollywood is taking a stab at it. It does make sense that the movie industry would want to catch onto the VR tread, to give filmmakers a fresh perspectives on storytelling. An example of how filmmakers are using VR is from the Sundance Film Festival where “virtual reality [was] one of the attractions in movies like ‘Dear Angelica,’ which wants to get you inside a painter’s brain.”
Shankland’s article also explains that “there are a number of different setups, from the high-end $600 Oculus Rift from Facebook to Google’s $50 Daydream headset, [yet] there’s still insufficient VR content to tempt mainstream consumers.” Why is VR content not a big hit with mainstream consumers? The answer could be as simple as that it’s “more of the same” as Ian Sherr explains in his blog article called “Virtually boring: VR really disappoints at [Consumer Electronics Show – CES] this year.”
In Shankland’s article, UCSD professor Joseph Ford, who helped lead the project notes that there are a few companies who are starting to “build smaller, more convenient 360-degree cameras [but] PMast is [compact and] can capture the rich, high-resolution imagery that professionals need.” I guess we will just have to see what becomes of PMast and how well it’s received by companies and the everyday consumer.
What are your thoughts about PMast? Have you used any VR technologies, and if so, what? Do you think VR is here to stay? We look forward to hearing your thoughts on VR.