Telling The Rest of the Story
Capturing, Extracting, Using 360° Content
The heart of the "Rest of the Story" concept is to provide 360° photos and/or video clips that provide the full context around either a traditional still photo or a comment in an article. Primarily, the focus is on a 360° still to provide context for a traditional still. This page presents information on how one can capture 360° content with current, consumer grade, products to support this. It also discusses some of the ways to extract the desired contextual content as well as some of the limitations of these techniques.
Mounting the 360° camera
It is also possible to put the mini monopod directly in the camera's hot shoe, but then the journalist would not easily be able to photograph in portrait orientation. Additionally, the mini monopod itself is optional with the trade-off being between getting the 360° camera higher above your head versus having to adjust to the slightly higher center of gravity as you hold your camera.
Capturing 360° content
We have designed a prototype app and wiring system that allows a photographer to connect their camera to an Android device via the camera's flash sync port to have a Ricoh Theta S fire just after they take a photo with the traditional camera (contact Evan Golub if you are interested in this). However, in exploratory trials we have found that the constant reliance on wifi and the slight delay that exists before the Theta will fire might only make this marginally better than the 8 second interval approach while increasing the risk of missed shots. If having a photo of the exact moment is the goal, then the video frame extraction technique is the only one that will assure that ability exists during post-production.
Alternative 360° camera mounts
We also explored using hands-free umbrella holders in a novel way. We would note that mounting a Ricoh Theta on a bicycle helmet seemed to get far more attention and odd looks, which is why we mention mounting a small camera specifically. By mounting the 360° camera on a traditional monopod, we were then able to insert the monopod into the umbrella holder. Two examples available to see on Amazon are a back-mounted one and a shoulder-mounted one. This seems to work equally well for large and small 360° cameras. In terms of ease-of-use, there are pros and cons to each of these two umbrella-styled mounts.
Matching 360° content with traditional still photos
If the photographer was recording a 360° video while shooting their traditional photos, individual frames need to be extracted from that video. Players such as the VLC media player have the ability to pause the video and save a snapshot of that frame as an image file. It is then a matter of identifying the time index within the right video clip where each final traditional photo edit took place. Again, the prototype desktop application mentioned above supports this in several ways if you are interested in a more automated process.
If a 360° video snippet is desired from a full video, rather than capture a single frame at the time the traditional photo was taken, you will want to identify that moment in the video and then watch for several seconds before and after to determine the best start and end points for the snippet. A variety of video tools such as RealNetwork's RealPlayer or Freemake Video Converter can be used for this.
Incorporating 360° content into an article
Testudo in front of McKeldin Library, click for 360 degree context
It is also possible to post the 360° image or video clip on a site such as Facebook or Flickr or YouTube or Vimeo. However, to do so with frames or snippets taken from a 360° video, requires an additional post-processing step to inject the appropriate metadata into the file. For an individual frame to be recognized as a 360° photo, the Exif data of the jpg needs an XMP tag "ProjectionType=equirectangular" to be in there. Some image editing software allows the Exif data to be changed, but there are also standalone tools such as ExifTool by Phil Harvey that can be used. For a video snippet to be recognized as a 360° video, it too would need the appropriate metadata. There are resources online such as a page that Google has up explaining how to inject the required metadata into a video file.
We would notes that practice runs are highly advised before utilizing these techniques in the field at an event, and then back at the office as the article is being published online, but the result of a successful application of them is being able to support telling the rest of the story through 360° augmented content.
This page last modified on Tuesday, 12-Dec-2017 21:29:35 EST.