Our campaign's goal is to build a free web-based platform to enable the creation and discovery of PanoMoments: a new creative VR medium that is both easy to capture and fun to explore. Our hope is to connect with photographers looking to try something new, and provide them with the hardware, tools, and guidance necessary to capture PanoMoments in their own creative vision. PanoMoments aren’t photos; nor are they videos. We call them 360° living photos, but they’re really best understood by experiencing one yourself.
Click on the examples directly below, ideally using a modern Android / iOS smartphone on WiFi, and stand with your phone about elbow length (or use a VR headset) and move slowly around in a circle. If you’re using a desktop computer, you’ll need to have the latest version of Google Chrome on OSX / Windows 8 or newer. Additional browser support coming soon.
To us, PanoMoments are something special, and finding out how people want to use them is why we chose to bring the idea to Kickstarter.
If you’re interested in capturing one, or just intrigued by their potential, please consider helping fund our campaign to bring PanoMoments to the world. Every dollar, Facebook post, and Tweet helps; and note that all rewards can be purchased for yourself or given as a gift. Just add a message with the name, email and physical address of the giftee and we’ll mail them a personalized gift card in time for the holidays.
Capturing PanoMoments currently requires some prior photography experience and a willingness to tinker, but once you get the hang of it, it really is quite simple and fun. As part of the PanoMoments platform, we’ll be releasing a thorough guide, but feel free to take a look at a rough draft here. The basics are as follows:
- Capture 120+ photos around 360° using a still / video camera and fisheye lens mounted ~80mm in front of the the No Parallax Point (to emulate head rotation) and a robotic panorama base (see next section - we’re offering one as a reward).
- Convert photos to Equirectangular projection with a 4-click batch process using a lens specific template for software like Hugin (free) or PTGui ($91). No stitching required!
- Upload Equirectangular photos to PanoMoments.com and you’re done!
Time is an integral part of the PanoMoments medium and a core part of the creative process. By modifying the time period of rotation, the number of frames captured, and the exposure, you have extensive creative control of the viewer’s experience. And as a benefit of not stitching, the camera can be positioned in a way that emulates human head rotation, providing a natural sense of depth through motion parallax. If you’re interested in learning more about the capture method and lens / camera compatibility, take a look through the FAQ at the end of the campaign.
We’ve partnered with PanoCatcher, makers of some of the finest panorama gear available, to build a custom version of their second generation robotic panorama base that is perfectly suited for capturing PanoMoments. The Loop’s macro-focused design enables quick setup and reliable captures of PanoMoments, traditional panoramas, and timelapses. Check out the full set of features below:
- Android app control via Bluetooth (iOS not yet supported - see FAQ)
- Made of 100% cnc-machined aluminum for strength and durability
- Powerful and precise with excellent repeatability
- Arca Swiss compatible rails, clamps and plates
- High-contrast OLED screen
- Dual camera opto-isolated connectors for simultaneous stereo shooting
- Auxiliary port for camera feedback that enables advanced features
- Upgradeable to dual-axis control for regular stitched panoramas
- Comes with a battery and camera shutter release cable (we'll send out a backer survey after the campaign ends where you can specify your camera model)
- *Note that a camera, lens, and additional mounts are sold separately
We’ve built the core PanoMoments web-based viewer and captured a few examples, but we’re barely scratching the surface of the creative possibilities. Now, with your support, we hope to build a free web-based platform where everyone can explore, create, and share PanoMoments. To offset the costs of running the free platform (ie. storage, bandwidth, servers, etc.) we’ll be offering additional features tailored to professionals in addition to custom licensing and self-hosted solutions. The Free and Pro membership features will be broken down as follows:
Native iOS / Android apps and Stereo 3D support (see FAQ) are very important to the future of PanoMoments, but our first focus needs to be on creating the core platform to enable content creators to start capturing PanoMoments. Any additional funds we raise during this campaign will help us get there faster, and if we hit the stretch goals below, we’ll re-prioritize and focus on building them sooner. Spread the word!
Here are a few ideas of what we're thinking of for the future:
- Native fisheye and rectilinear support
- Offline playback and rendering
- Custom galleries
- Original file backup
- Sound and virtual tours
- Auto stabilization and error correction
- Cinemagraph integration
Have an idea for an awesome feature? Let us know!
We’ve funded development on our own so far, and now we’re looking to you to make this field of dreams a reality. We have all of the platform specifications set, and we’re ready to kick off the next stage of development. Our campaign’s funding goal of $10,000 will only partially support the cost of building the PanoMoments platform. We will be funding the remaining cost ourselves, but we feel that’s how it should be. We’re not looking for a free ride.
PanoMoments has been a collaborative effort between Dustin Kerstein, Kuan Luo, and Aaron Henshaw - all friends and previous coworkers at Grand St. and most recently at Etsy. Post Kickstarter, we will have Ross Cohen coming onboard full-time as our primary platform engineer while both Kuan and Aaron are moving into advisory roles. Interested in working with us? We’re hiring. Send an email to email@example.com and we’ll get in touch.
PanoMoments take advantage of some of the latest browser technologies (WebGL, Media Source Extensions, GPU video decoding, etc.) That means they aren’t compatible with all devices and browsers at the moment and performance isn’t as good as it can be. Currently, viewing is limited to iOS / Android mobile devices, and Windows / OSX computers running Google Chrome (versions > 52.x) with h.264 GPU decoding. We hope to expand support to other popular browsers (likely Safari and Firefox), but our longer term goal is to build native applications which will feature significantly smoother rendering at much higher resolutions and quality.
Risks and challenges
We know PanoMoments aren’t going to be for everyone. There are times when existing 360 capture methods are the better choice. PanoMoments are just a new option in your creative arsenal, and it’s for that reason we are doing this Kickstarter. We truly just want to see what other people will create, and we’re almost there. The remaining platform development work is already spec'd / designed and is actually quite straightforward. As for the PanoCatcher, almost all product development is complete. The firmware, app, and prototype are ready. Suppliers and their delivery quirks are known and bottlenecks that can slow things down have been identified along with design mods necessary to avoid them.
Our biggest challenge is spreading awareness. We’re hoping that you see the possibilities PanoMoments represent as a new medium, whether as a viewer or content creator, and help spread the word.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)