Google Street View and Panorama 360

I’m still kind of freaked out at 360 videos- like, an excited sort of freak out, though. I think they’re so cool for storytelling and open up a lot of opportunities. That being said, I just can’t justify buying a 360 camera, though I definitely want one.

So finding apps that can capture a spherical image and give users the ability to swipe around it or use their phone to “look around” is a pretty neat step that anyone with a smartphone can take.

I originally started with Google’s Cardboard Camera app. It was cool for about one picture- since it was just a panorama camera app. You know, that thing that most default, pre-loaded camera apps can do.

I still have it, because it might make for a cool banner picture or something to break up a bunch of text. But it’s got the ugly warping to it and I’m just not looking for that.

So we moved on to other apps. For one class, we even just got kicked out to play around with 360 apps- but we really emphasized the necessity for photo spheres (capturing like 30 images from a stationary point in all directions). I made the one below on Google Street View (starting to see a trend?). It’s not pretty, and there’s a dog walking without her owner in there, but it serves a great purpose. Definitely better to frame up early in the morning by the bell tower.

As hinted at with the dog walking with a nonexistent owner, there are clear cons to taking 360 images with just a phone. Since you have to capture so many images, there’s probably some movement you’re missing out on. It just goes to show that movement in a photosphere isn’t too great to try capturing with just one camera.

I went back and did it again on a grey Sunday morning. There was no action to be distorted, which helped. I took a step at some point, so there are some discrepancies.

I tried using Panorama 360 as well, and while I believe it made sharing the photospheres to social channels, but there are few too many ads to make the experience enjoyable. 4/10 do not recommend.

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