New 360-degree cameras have made it possible to capture the full view around one point in three-dimensional space and portray the resulting imagery through 360-degree photography or interactive videos. Specialized video players (YouTube, for example) allow viewers of 360-degree interactive videos to move a cursor and select the viewpoint they want to portray within the space afforded by the two-dimensional viewing window. This grants viewers of the resulting panoramic videos a much richer sense of the of the camera's location within its environment compared to conventional video formats, and the additional interactive element helps to keep viewers engaged in the experience.
Omnidirectional cameras use two basic designs to produce panoramic photos and videos. Mirrors and other structures are used to direct light from the surrounding environment into a single lens in some 360-degree cameras. Other 360-degree cameras combine visual information from multiple lenses surrounding a given focal point into one cohesive data steam. Both design styles allow for the production of panoramic videos and photos which result in immersive imagery, often enhanced with interactive controls that allow viewers to change perspective through a digital media player.
Panoramic videos were not even possible prior to the development of 360-degree cameras. Panoramic photography was technically possible before the development of these cameras, but costs could be prohibitive. Previously, multiple shots would need to be combined into one to produce 360-degree photography. The techniques needed to do this were fairly involved. Omnidirectional cameras allowed for much more efficient production of panoramic photos, and the resulting images turn out with much higher quality and significantly less need for correction in post-production, meaning that 360-degree photography is now produced at a higher quality for less expense.
Panoramic photography produced today has a greater impact and is more cost-effective than ever. 360-degree interactive videos represent an even greater breakthrough in marketing technology, inviting viewers to take an active role and thus helping to make it more memorable. 360-degree interactive videos result in enveloping experiences that excite end-users and drive interest, thus helping maximize the impact of any marketing effort.
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