Project partner Screen Story is in charge of the podcast.
The podcast will cover different aspects of 360 video and feature invited guests for discussions about opportunities and limitations with this technology.
Project partner Screen Story is in charge of the podcast.
The podcast will cover different aspects of 360 video and feature invited guests for discussions about opportunities and limitations with this technology.
By Jaime Díaz González, Software engineer at Quasar Dynamics
We believe that 360 videos are the future of sports entertainment. The problem of the current sports broadcasting is its constancy: it has not changed in the past 70 years. Obviously, the broadcasting quality has improved and now we have colours, HD, 4K or even 8K resolution. Even so, you still watch the match from a TV without the ability to interact.
Quasar Dynamics has been exploring the use of 360 videos and the results are promising. We used 360 3D immersive technology. It is a type of video technique that captures a 360-degree field of view in three dimensions. The technology allows the viewer to explore and interact with the video by moving their head or device, providing a more immersive and engaging experience. We have visualized the idea in this video.
Unfortunately, the technology also has a big drawback. To get an immersive experience, you need a VR headset. It is not common to have VR glasses home, so at the moment, the reach of the technique is not yet great. The cheapest headset option is Oculus Quest with a price of almost 300 euros. However, a smartphone and a VR cardboard offer a similar experience for just 25 euros.
You may also like to read: Screen Story’s persperctives on business opportunities
In our first 360 video project, we were able to record a training session for the Valencian football team. We had multiple perspectives recorded: players leaving the locker room, the goalkeeper practising and players contacting the audience by the bleachers. In the post-production, we added more 3D content like a volcano-style environment to add a great introduction.
After trying the technique with multiple people of all ages, we can ensure that the experience has been well-received. Everyone in the test group agrees that it provides a turning point in the way sports should be broadcasted.
Another business opportunity for 360 videos technology is festivals, concerts, and events. During the covid-19 breakout, Quasar Dynamics explored the possibility of broadcasting a music festival using 360 video technology. The plan wasn’t implemented but we started to contact companies with the idea.
We had the chance to record the WiSH Outdoor festival, an annual multi-day electronic dance music festival in The Netherlands. It features multiple stages with a variety of EDM genres, as well as art installations, food and drink vendors, and other activities.
We recorded the DJ stage, VIP areas and other interesting facilities. The result was entertaining, as the atmosphere was transmitted via the technology. You could really think that you were present at the festival with the rest of the people.
You can watch a video recording from the event below. Use your cursor to move the camera angle.
One potential field in the B to C market is weddings and other family events. Today, people spend a lot of money on two-dimensional photographs and videos.
To liven up the customer’s experience, we are about to offer wedding recording services. As 360 videos allow the customer to relive the special day as many times as they want. This can add great value to the experience.
All in all, we see that 360 video technology has great potential and new business opportunities. The level of immersion is not yet available in any of the competitive techniques: the experience in the real-life event recordings is unique. Metaverses and 3D environments are very costly as you need to model every single detail on that world.
Unlike TVs and computers, VR glasses are not yet in every first-world home. The reason for it is the lack of experience: people haven’t tried them yet. Therefore, the next challenge will be to t spread the word, reduce the costs, and improve the experience.
In the recent months, the development work of the 360ViSi Editor has been done in GitHub, a code hosting platform that is used for storing, co-developing, and tracking codes. The idea of open-source code is that once published, anyone can see, modify, and distribute it.
From the code owner’s point of view, open source has several advantages. First, it makes the collaboration with other project partners easier as there is no need to send files.
Secondly, all changes to the code and to the source material will be updated to the public repository.
Thirdly, sharing means more developers: the publicly available code allows anyone to explore possible security-related doubts and fix the found issues. This happens by sending a pull request to the owner. If the request is seen beneficial, it can be accepted as a part of the code.
Although projects have a limited lifetime, the coders’ platform continues to exist. It is possible to continue the development work and utilize the code also after the project ends.
This is in line with Erasmus+ goal that Knowledge Alliances will stimulate the flow and exchange of knowledge between higher education and business, and the European Commision’s open source software strategy.
By Pål Berg Mortensen, project manager and storyteller at Screen Story.
Our focus has been to find business opportunities for 360° video, using simple and affordable, consumer-based equipment and crew.
Together with different customers we have done several virtual tours in the last few years. We believe this is a product there most definitely is a market for.
A virtual tour is usually based on 360° still pictures of a location, and different types of media input from the customer. You can move around using your pointer, both in a web browser and in VR-glasses. Have a look at one of our virtual tours here.
The main challenge with virtual tours is trying to streamline the process, so that it becomes product that the customer can afford. Virtual tours take lots of time to edit – it is a very time-consuming process that requires lots of computer power.
There is often a gap between delivering on the customer’s needs and expectations, and on the other hand not spending too much time on the product, ultimately making the product too expensive for the customer.
With this in mind, we have also been exploring ways to work with 360° technologies in a more time efficient way. Is there any way we could save some time in the editing process? How can we reduce file sizes, and processing power needed?
We think the main way forward is to simplify our projects. Less emersion, and more storytelling. As soon as you give the audience the ability to have hundreds of different options in every single frame of content, the project becomes very slow and time-consuming, making the project very expensive for the customer.
We believe that simple 360° video, with as few cuts as possible, has a big potential. Many of our customers have expressed a need to capture more information than a regular camera can record. They want to record every single interaction that happens in a room/environment. This is almost an impossible task for a regular cameraman, but a very simple task for a 360 camera. Social science, teaching, sports analysis is just some of the areas where we see opportunities.
Another area we see massive potential in is training. For instance, the emergency services already do a lot of simulation training on different scenarios. They simulate situations like serious car accidents, with many actors and equipment in a specific (often remote) location. These types of emergency preparedness events are completed several times a year on different locations all over Norway.
360° videos of these scenarios would make them more accessible, and it is also more cost effective than running scenarios in real life. The 360° scenarios can be reused, and only require actors and location-design once. There are numerous other businesses and industries doing different types of on-site training, where 360° solutions could be a substitute or a supplement to the training.
For art museums we continue to believe in virtual tours. In our work with Stavanger Art Museum, we have acquired solid feedback about the solution.
The client is very happy with the product itself, but as of right now the main challenge is cost. As this virtual tour was part of our research, we were able to give them a substantial discount. To be a business opportunity for us in the future, this will not be possible. However, if we can figure out more cost-effective ways of delivering the same kind of product, we think it can be a great business opportunity.
All in all, we are looking forward to continuing the search for good business opportunities for 360° technologies in the corporate market. We believe there are still new areas to explore, and that this technology will be a part of the corporate film market in the future.
Through this project we have confirmed that 360° pictures and videos can indeed be used for educational purposes. But can it also open business opportunities for companies? The answer is yes.
By combining 360° photos and videos, Screen Story in collaboration with Stavanger Art Museum, made three virtual tours with the purpose of making art more available for the masses.
Experiencing art can be an enticing experience, but not everyone has the opportunity to visit an art museum for different reasons. Be it physically challenges, geographical impracticalities or an ongoing pandemic. By making a digital representation with the use of 360-video/photo technology, anybody can visit the Stavanger Art Museum and the exhibitions Kitty Kielland, Frida Hansen and The Hafsten collection.
“We have some pretty unique works of art here that’s in the forefront of Norwegian art history,” says Hanne Beate Ueland, director of Stavanger Art Museum.
When the pandemic hit, they closed the museum and sent everybody home. They had to find new ways for the visitors to enjoy the art.
“To experience an art museum is very much about walking into a space and being surrounded by the art. We talked to people who we respect within technology, and they suggested that we contact Screen Story, and we did. They had this project going on with 360-video. We immediately found that quite interesting and inspiring, and it turned out to be project where we could collaborate quite easily,” Ueland continues.
Screen Story took on the task and saw an opportunity to gain new know-how in the field of 360- technology. Project leader at Screen Story, Øyvind Torjusen, says it was a perfect fit.
“This proved to be a great case for the 360ViSi-project. Screen Story’s main task in this project is to look at the transferability to business, and create a 360-product which in turn can be commercialised. Having an actual need from an institution such as the Stavanger Art Museum is a much better starting point than a made-up scenario,” he says.
The recording process took a total of six days, with over 170 images and 48 videos shot, all in 360 degrees. A script consisting of about 18 pages written by the three mediators, each presenting a different exhibition. A whopping 3.25 TB of data was needed for all the materials.
Shooting in a museum can be a challenge. Lighting conditions are often set in such a way to preserve the art, and not optimal for shooting with a 360-camera which requires a lot of light. And because of the nature of shooting in 360 degrees, there’s nowhere to hide a light rig which complicates shooting even more.
“We had to bring up the brightness of the fixed lights to the maximum while shooting, but even then it was a bit too dark in some of the rooms,” says Stian Skjerping, videographer at Screen Story.
This meant some extra hours in post-production to brighten the footage.
“But when you brighten the footage you add more noise to the image as well, which meant we had to use some noise removal tools to clean it up,” he continues.
When all the footage was colour corrected and cleaned up, the assembling of the tour began. Every image and video must be linked together so that the viewer can move seamlessly through the exhibitions. Along the way, new ideas and solutions were discussed to make the user experience the best possible.
“Stavanger Art Museum wanted a simpler way to reach more content, so we came up with a top bar with a menu where you quickly can navigate to all the videos, as well as get help navigating,” says Pål Berg Mortensen, editor at Screen Story.
Moving around a 360 virtual tour can be a challenge, because it’s a relative new product, so there are no set conventions yet. It was therefore important for both Screen Story and the museum to make the tour as intuitive as possible.
“We made an intro where you get some instructions on how to navigate, hopefully making it less intimidating,” says Mortensen.
The museum also wanted to incorporate more information and content about single works of art.
“Early on there were discussions about including more information on individual art pieces, and how that would work. The solution was to create a pop up menu that appears when the the art piece is clicked on. The user can then choose to watch a video about the piece, or see it in high quality and read more about it,” Mortensen explains.
The Stavanger Art Museum were fascinated by the experience of being able to actually walk through the exhibitions, and see several use cases for the 360 virtual tour.
“It’s something we are able to use, not only towards the general audience but also in our dialogue with other artist we are working with for the coming exhibitions,” Hanne Beate Ueland says.
She sees a clear benefit over “traditional” video:
“One of the most interesting things for us, that separates 360-videos and images from a normal video of a exhibition, is to give people an actual experience of being there and walking around, looking at the artworks, but also reading, and finding more information. That adds a complexity and quality to the project that we liked.”
“It’s great to see that the customer was satisfied with the tour and appreciates all the hard work behind it,” Skjerping says.
The potential for a “360 virtual tour product” is definitively there, and Screen Story has learned a lot in this process moving forward.
“We wanted to create a truly immersive experience where you can interact with the pieces of art, and absorb the atmosphere in the exhibitions. And I think we managed to do that. This is only the beginning of what is possible with the 360-technology,” Skjerping concludes.
EuroLeague Metaverse: Success case
In a previous post, we described what a metaverse is and how can it be used. Interestingly, only a few months later, Quasar Dynamics, partner of the 360 ViSi project developed a metaverse for the basketball EuroLeague Final Four competition.
The EuroLeague is a European professional basketball club competition, widely recognized as the top-tier league in Europe. It consists of 18 teams and its first season took place in 1958.
The main objectives of the EuroLeague were to attract attention as metaverses were raising popularity, engage with the youngest fans (generation z) and to be considered as an innovative sports league.
“To achieve these objectives, we had to think about multiple features that could be interesting for basketball fans who could not physically visit the fan zone in Belgrade,” explains Lead developer at Quasar Dynamics, Jaíme Diaz González.
These are the features Quasar included in the EuroleagueLand.
“The hardest part of the development was making the EuroLeagueLand metaverse fully accessible to all users. We were able to optimize it for any kind of device (Android, iOS, Windows) and with any web browser,” says González.
Therefore, you can try it here with your favorite device and an internet connection.
The EuroLeagueLand can be considered a metaverse because it is a complete 3D world where users can navigate using their preferred device. They can interact with each other and live unique experiences kilometers away from the real event.
“We were able to achieve impressive numbers. 30,000 unique users got connected during the 7 days of the finals,” González states.
“Finally, we think that metaverses are still too new. Its definition may change from one person to the other. However, we are sure that in the future many real events will have its virtual counterpart,” he concludes.
With the ambition to highlight business opportunities for private companies using 360 video, the day started with a presentation from Stavanger Art Museum and Screen Story. They talked about their successful collaboration with 360 visualisation of art exhibitions. Read more about it here.
ADE shared their experiences about commercial and educational 360 and VR solutions that they have developed. A Learning Management System (LMS) developed was presented, which includes practical trainings in health care and the technical sector.
Quasar Dynamics presented their other projects with immersive technologies, for instance using VR goggles for people with different disabilities, and a horror Playstation game they are soon to launch.
Guests VID Specialized University and the company Mediafarm have collaborated to create student active learning activities.
They explained their journey from the beginning of working with 360 video, what they have learnt and shared advice on everything from actors vs real patients, locations, scripts, how to create emotional impact, placement of camera, lighting, user interactions, playback solutions, subtitles, graphic interface needs, technical considerations and more.
The 360ViSi project team was invited to try out one of their education solutions with VR goggles.
The project team visited two different companies located in Stavanger, who both use simulation tools for training and education purposes – in very different ways.
Aker Solutions delivers integrated solutions, products and services to the global energy industry, and uses simulation extensively. For instance, the company simulates complex offshore operations in order to prepare staff, to reduce risk of accidents and injuries, and to enhance efficiency.
The team also visited Lærdal Medical who creates realistic simulation-based learning for healthcare education, for instance the world-known Resusci Anne manikin.
Analysis by Jaime Diaz, Quasar Dynamics
Metaverse is a concept defining the next generation of the internet, describing an immersive, multi-sensory experience based on the use of multiple devices and technological developments. A 3D universe that combines multiple virtual spaces.
We understand the metaverse as the combination of technology and software that moves the user’s mind to an environment that is different in sensory perception from where they physically are. This would include the use of VR headsets, controllers, or haptic suits (see image).
Immersive Education is designed to immerse and engage students in the same way that today’s best video games grab and keep the attention of players. It supports self-directed learning as well as collaborative group-based learning environments that can be delivered over the Internet.
Some of the possible uses that metaverses could have in educational experiences are described below.
The real laboratory equipment, tools and machinery are expensive. Imagine a chemistry class where a teacher wants to observe the formation of four acids that occur in acid rain. Such an illustrative presentation would require multiple pH sensors, test tubes, protection glasses, burets…
In addition to the economic realities, we should not forget the risks that these kinds of experiments entail.
Quasar Dynamics, one of the 360 ViSi partners, created a complete 3D laboratory to emulate a very common practice in engineering degrees where the students had to use a power supply, a function generator, oscilloscope and a polimeter.
To interact with the environment, students used VR glasses and controllers. As the students “broke” the tools frequently by connecting the wrong poles, this was the best way to save costs but yet learn by using a practical method.
Imagine if students could visit the most important museums in the world every week. Metaverse enables this mental transition to the 3D museums.
Quasar Dynamics also developed a 3D art gallery where artists can upload their artworks, such as 3D sculptures, configure the gallery with furniture or add videos and audio recordings. You can visit the gallery here.
Meta also released interesting software for real-time 3D conferences. Even with its business focus, it can be used in education, especially for students that have to interact remotely.
In the workrooms, attendees can wear VR headsets or just use flat-screen computers. They can start drawing on a virtual board, add images or different content for others to see. When using VR glasses, an avatar of the user is displayed showing the user’s own tracked hands. This working method could be the future for meetings or work presentations for online education.
The metaverse has the advantage of being a completely 3D experience in real-time, allowing the developer to build an environment without the barriers that reality imposes. For example, it is possible to recreate the interior of the International Space Station without having to be there.
However, the metaverse is a young technology that still needs development. Some environments are still laggy if you do not have a powerful, expensive device that many companies are not currently supporting.
In addition, there is some fear that the metaverse will create a generation of people with poor social skills due to a lack of interaction with the real world.
In summary, the metaverse is the future. Not only for educational purposes but also for a lifestyle. We must ensure that students benefit from its technological advancements while still remaining competitive in real life.
The Erasmus organisation aims to involve private companies in their Knowledge Alliances and create business opportunities for them. Why? Because it will increase the quality and relevance of the project, boost innovation and enhance knowledge sharing.
In addition to the four universities participating in 360ViSi, three companies from the private sector contribute: Screen Story from Norway, ADE from Finland and Quasar Dynamics from Spain.
The 360ViSi project was launched around the same time as the corona pandemic exploded and the world went into shutdown, making it challenging for the project partners to test technology and methods.
It turns out, however, that when some doors close, others open. Screen Story was asked to help their customer Stavanger Art Museum to find new solutions to overcome the problems the pandemic forced on them.
– The art museum had to close its doors for a while due to national restrictions, but still wanted to make their newest exhibition available to the public. Thus, we could create an interactive online version, and at the same time use it as a test in the 360ViSi project, says producer Øyvind Torjusen in Screen Story.
When restrictions were lifted and Stavanger Art Museum reopened its doors, the museum had discovered the value of digital exhibitions. The exhibitions reach a larger audience, and especially those who do not have the opportunity to visit the museum physically. Therefore, Stavanger Art Museum continues to create interactive digital solutions together with Screen Story.
See one of the digital art exhibitions here.
Broadcaster NRK made a report on national television news about the latest exhibition and interviewed a group of elderly people who experienced it through tablets. You can see the story (in Norwegian) here:
– This proves that 360 video technology represents business opportunities for companies like us. We will definitely offer this kind of solutions to more customers in the future, says Torjusen.
Learn about the Turku Game Lab here.
Together with Tarja Enala, a senior advisor at Business Finland, the Finnish government organization for innovation funding and trade, travel and investment promotion, the visitors were introduced to the 360ViSi Editor and explained how 360 video can be used in education.
Project engineer Mikko Österman gave the visitors a guided tour through the software that enables teachers to compile and edit simulations from separate 360-videos.
The visitors saw how a simulation can be built and what features it already has.
“From our point of view, the concept is great”, says Dr Kumar. “The idea can be applied in many fields. It is going to happen since the resources to learning premises are limited.”
Dr Kumar continues that the positive side of the software is that it allows students to proceed at their own pace and practice at any time. That has also a bigger impact:
“The concept also democratizes the sometimes elite rehearsing opportunities.”Dr Kumar, NeoSim Oy