When Apple announced its QTVR way back when, we got all excited about the emergence of holodeck-like immersive virtual environments. Until we realized that we were WAY too optimistic. The technology had a long long way to go before it could come anywhere close to matching the hype.
Fast forward (only) twenty years and there’s still no holodeck, but some of the initial promises of immersive VR are starting to come to pass because:
- Quality digital images can be taken even with cell phones, making the process of capturing a scene much more mobile and dynamic;
- Software is now able to automate the process of aligning, assembling, and creating a 360º environment, reducing much of the time, tedium, and cost of producing quality VR scenes;
- Displays with head/eye tracking capabilities, while still cumbersome, are no longer cost-prohibitive for the consumer.
We are going to explore all aspects of VR this year. To start things off we are going to try our hands at taking some 360º panoramas. Initially, we thought we would need to get a lot of new equipment, but we soon realized that we already had in-house much what we needed to get started.
- olloclip lenses (iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 6/6+)
- Grip & Shoot Bluetooth Smart Grip for iPhone
- Pixeet Fisheye Lens
We have already reviewed much of the gear listed. The Orion StarBlast Alt-Azi mount is the only item which is new. While we acquired that mount for astrophotography, it is also helpful for taking panoramas.
Orion StarBlast Alt-Azi mount offers the following:
- an automatic tracking of astronomical objects as they appear to migrate across the night sky;
- it can trigger the camera for automated time-lapse photos, panoramic photos, and snapshots at pre-selected positions;
- it comes with L-bracket and cell-phone adapters.
We will be using this gear along with the iPhone 4S and 6+ for our experiments in creating VR panoramas. We are also looking at head-mounted displays and 360º headsets.
This is going to be fun!!!