Saturday, March 19, 2016

Insta360 Nano is a compact 360 camera that attaches to your phone

Insta360 is launching a compact 360 camera designed to attach to your smartphone. Called the Nano, the camera will be smaller and lighter than their previous model, the Insta360 4k. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Free LG 360 from T-Mobile; LG 360 Price and Availability Revealed!

You can get a new LG 360 camera for free in a joint promotion by T-Mobile and LG.  If you order the new LG G5 camera before April 5, you will get the LG 360 camera for free (while supplies last).

LG 360 Price and Availability
T-Mobile's promo also revealed that the LG 360 has a "$200 value" which suggests that it will have a $200 MSRP.  If so, that would make it the most affordable 360 camera at the moment.

T-Mobile also said that the camera would come 6 weeks from being redeemed.  The redemption period for the offer is 4/1/16 to 5/15/16, which implies that the LG 360 will be released in the first week of May, or possibly earlier.

360 Rights Grab?

Unlike simple photos, 360 shooters generally can't share their photos or videos without uploading their images to a service that supports 360 viewing, such as Google Streetview.  What rights are they giving up in the process?
GROUP 1: limited license
In this group are services where the photographer grants the service a limited license to use his content to provide the service.  The photographer still owns his photo or video.  The service apparently can't use it for other purposes.
Flickr - "With respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of Yahoo Groups, the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Yahoo Services solely for the purposes of providing and promoting the specific Yahoo Group to which such Content was submitted or made available. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Yahoo Services and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo removes such Content from the Yahoo Services."
Bubl (Bublcam).  "By posting Content to the Service, you grant us the right and license to use, modify, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content on and through the Service. You retain any and all of your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Service and you are responsible for protecting those rights. You agree that this license includes the right for us to make your Content available to other users of the Service, who may also use your Content subject to these Terms."  "Article 5.  1.  All rights to Content belong to the user who posted the Content or to the right holder who gave the user permission to use the Content. By posting Content, the User gives this Company usage rights to the Content, including permission to copy, process, modify, display and/or send the Content, and may not exercise moral rights of the author against this company for processing, modification, etc. of the Content.  2. By posting Content, the User gives consent for the Content to be displayed publicly. ..."  This one is less clear than Flickr or Bubl, but because it refers to "processing, modification, etc. of the Content," and doesn't have sublicensing rights, it does not seem to be intended to extend to commercial use, but I could be wrong.  Better consult an IP lawyer.
Giroptic - It's a broad license but it says "... and otherwise use Your Content in order for Giroptic and its subcontractors to provide and enhance the Products and Services for you and other Giroptic users and for Giroptic to investigate and act upon any complaints regarding Your Content."
GROUP 2: Broad license
This appears to be the most common model.  The photographer still owns his photo or video, but by uploading his content to the service, he's giving the service very broad rights - practically as though they were also the owner.  For example, the company can sell the photo to someone else, or use it in an ad, without compensating the photographer.  In some cases, the service also requires the photographer to grant the same broad rights to other users of the service.  Sometimes, the rights are perpetual and irrevocable.  The service continues to have the right to use your uploaded content even if you deleted it from the site.
Google (Streetview, Google+)
GROUP 3: Copyright transfer
Some services and photo contests require the photographer to transfer the copyright when they submit a photo or video.  The photographer loses any further right to use his own photo or video.  I haven't seen a 360 service in this category thus far.
Some caveats:
  • Terms of service can be changed at any time.  The links above can be outdated and might not even apply to you.  Check to see if they apply to you.
  • Your rights depend on your specific situation, including where you live.  Consult an intellectual property lawyer!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ricoh Theta Adds 3D Sakura Effect

#sakura3d #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

You can now add a 3D sakura effect to your Ricoh Theta 360 photos, where light pink petals float down in 3D.  To add the effect, upload your shot to then add the hashtag #sakura3d .

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I took this shot with a Ricoh Theta S.  Click for a 360 view!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Alton Towers Launches Riders to Space on VR-Enhanced Roller Coaster Ride

from Galactica's website

You can get a tour of space without a seven-figure passenger fare, virtually, on Alton Towers' Galactica ride, which will be enhanced with a synchronized virtual reality experience.  Passengers will don Samsung Gear VR headsets which will show a 360 video that is synchronized with the roller coaster's movements.  The VR-enhanced Galactica will be open next month.

Last week, Six Flags also launched VR-enhanced roller coaster rides.


Spinnable App Releases Major Update

Spinnable, the first 360 social sharing platform, has been updated to v1.6.  Here are some of the improvements:
  • Improved search and discovery.  Previous versions listed users alphabetically.  The new version prioritizes users who are more active and who upload more photos.
  • Featured content.  The app now presents the best 360 photos and videos selected by Spinnable's editors.  To see Featured content, tap on the magnifying glass icon.
  • Better zoom control. In previous versions, pinching to zoom would zoom only as long as you held down the pinch.  In the new version, it will remain zoomed in or zoomed out, until you change the zoom.
  • URLs added.  Starting with this version, you can now get a URL of your 360 photo or video, which you can share on other platforms.  However, visiting the URL will only show a thumbnail of the 360 photo and specify that the image can only be viewed on the Spinnable app.  Spinnable developers are still working on a desktop version.  When that is released, I'm pretty sure the URL will link to a 360-viewable image.  (To get the URL, click on the "..." beside the photo, then select "Copy link.")
  • 360 live streaming.
The update comes just in time for the 360 livestreaming of LA Fashion Week starting today at 7pm Pacific Time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Playstation VR for $400 in October!

Sony has finally announced the price and availability of the Playstation VR.  It will be $400, coming in October.  This compares with the Oculus Rift for $599 and HTC Vive for $799.  Moreover, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require very powerful PCs that can be very expensive to upgrade if you don't already have the hardware for it.  By contrast the Playstation 4 is available for $350.

Why is this important?  Because when people buy the PSVR, they will want content.  And you don't necessarily have to be a game developer.  You can buy a 360 camera to produce 360 photos and videos.  Remember, the PS4 has over 35 million units sold.  If even a fraction of those players get the PSVR, it will dramatically increase the demand for 360 photos and videos!

Updates on 360 Camera Availability (March 15, 2016)

There are many 360 cameras that will be available soon, so here's a list to help you keep track of them.

Currently available

Kodak SP360 (original version - ~$290)
VSN Mobil ($350)
360fly (original version - $399)
Kodak SP360 4k  (Single - $499; dual pro pack $899)
Panono (EUR1499)

Now available for preorder:
Bublcam ($799)  - Release date June 15, 2016.

Giroptic (2k 360x300 camera) - Now available for pre-order from for $499. Release date not yet known.
Insta360 4k (4k 360x360 camera) - Now available for pre-order from B&H Photo video for $899.99.  Release date not yet known.
Sphericam v2 (4k 60fps 360x360) - $2,499 ($500 discount) on Sphericam's website. Available 10-12 weeks from order.

Soon available for preorder:

Vuze (360 3D camera) - pre-order delayed from March to April 2016.  Shipping scheduled for Q3 2016.
Samsung Gear 360 (almost 4k 360x360 camera) - B&H Photo is still showing a price of $399.99.  Preorder not yet available.  Release date not yet known.

Available in the near future:

360fly 4k (waterproof 4k 360x180 camera) - scheduled for April 2016 release for $500 from Best Buy.
Luna (waterproof 360x360 camera). $349.  Scheduled for shipping in August 2016.

Upcoming announcements:

Go6D is scheduled to announce several 360 cameras at SXSW March 17-19.
Olympus TG-Tracker (not sure if this is a 360 camera)

Unknown availability:

Nikon Keymission 360 - Nikon says Spring 2016.  Unknown price.
LG 360 - unknown release date, unknown price.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Virtual Reality Dominates SXSW Buzz

At the ongoing South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) in Texas, virtual reality has generated the most buzz by far, as reported by Adweek.  It's not even close.  As measured by Twitter impressions, VR had 102.4 million impressions.  The next closest tech topics were self-driving cars with 45.1 million impressions, mobile apps with 32.6 million impressions, and robotics with 30 million.  3D was a distant fourth, with 8.8 million impressions.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Is the "Olympus TG-Tracker" a 360 camera?

Digicameinfo spotted an Olympus camera that will be announced in the future called the Stylus TG-Tracker. Based on the timing of previous similar leaks, Mirrorlessrumors speculates that the TG-Tracker will be released in one or two months. The question is, what kind of camera will it be?

The TG series is for Olympus' "Tough" weatherproof cameras. But the "Tracker" name is a departure from the alphanumeric names of previous cameras such as the TG-3 and TG-4. My totally wild speculation is that it will be a 360-degree camera. Tracker might be referring to its ability to allow the viewer to "track" a subject that moves anywhere around the camera. So there you have it! Remember: you heard it here first! :D