Take a look around

Adding another dimension to how we can capture and remember our stories.

Words: Ben Seymour

Photos: Ben Seymour

I've been following the developments in the VR space for some time, and have so nearly bought a Rift or Vive. More recently Jack and I had an amazing Star Wars 'Hyper Reality' where we got to move around in a physical environment, while wearing VR headsets which matched the physical map.

With the start of the 2018 MotoGP season, the BT Sport app has been updgraded to now give onboard 360 video, and we got to see the real-time full panoramic view fromt he back of Zarco's bike. Even more immersive was using Google Cardboard and slotting the iphone into the simple VR headset, such that as you turn your head, the visual maps it.

I had recently looked at some of the Samsung offering in the VR space, but it wasn;t good enough to tip the dial, and to get me to switch back to Android. I was also aware of the insta360 nano, which was a plug in camera for the iphone, but only recently read an article about the new One, which functions both as a plugin device for the iphone, but also, as a standalone device. While waiting in an Apple store for an iphone battery problem to be resolved, I was able to get hands-on for a good hour or so with the inst360 One, and was sufficiently enamored to leave the store with one under my arm.

The unboxing was nicely orchestrated, and the device mostly pleasing to look at. While the controls are not completely intiutive, and many of the instructions not yet even in English, we were able to have a good time, taking the One out for a spin.

Here is the 360 photo embedded in a web viewer. On a mobile device, clicking the little arrow top-left will put in gyro-mode where tilting and turning your phone changes the view accordingly... on desktop, you can click-drag the image around to see the surrounding view: *** on mobile, click the compass button (top-left) to get gyro control **

Playing 360 video directly within a webpage will work on desktop in many cases (in which case click-dragging should work on the below video). However mobile devices will typically require you to open the video in the native player, in this case I am using vimeo, and once that app is launched (if installed) you should then be able to use the gyro control.

One of the inst360's amusing party tricks is to replicate the 'bullet time' effect from The Matrix

This is achieved by having the camera on a selfie stick, and spinning it around your head. The camera automatically removes the stick from the frames, and it leads to a pretty interesting effect:

We sat for some time, just saviouring the view (and huddling with each other for warmth)