Note that the most recent changes to the PanoMoments platform (non-360 PanoMoments) aren't yet reflected in this documentation.
What devices currently support PanoMoments playback?
The web viewer is compatible with most modern browsers and fully supports WebVR, but it is most optimized for Google Chrome - offering the best web performance and streaming downloads. We'll be bringing the streaming optimization to other browsers (Safari is our top priority) in the next few months. For the highest performance experience, try the native apps with either a Google Daydream or Gear VR headset. Note that the native apps currently offer higher performance at the expense of using more data, though we working on an update that will greatly reduce the overall file size.
Why PanoMoments vs. regular 360 video / photos?
We see PanoMoments as the perfect middle ground between 360 photos / videos. PanoMoments give you a new way to create immersive content with a 360 video camera you may already own, and also opens up VR capture to non-360 cameras through rotating rigs. While PanoMoments are inherently constrained by their association of time + space, it's that constraint that makes them so consumable and enables all sorts of creativity. We can't wait to see what your imagination brings.
What is the PanoMoments format?
The core PanoMoments format is comprised of "an arbitrary number of frames equally spaced around a 360 degree rotation". This makes time an integral part of the PanoMoments medium and an important part of the creative process.
Are there any downsides to converting 360 video compared to a rotating camera?
While converting 360 video is very easy, there are a couple downsides: there will be no motion parallax as 360 cameras can’t capture parallax like a rotating camera, and any stitching errors will be visible. You'll also need to ensure that the pre-stitched 360 video content was captured while stationary - content that was captured with a moving camera (ie. handheld, attached onto a bike, etc.) doesn't usually convert well to the PanoMoments format. That being said, with stabalized footage it can still be fun and we want to encourage creative concepts that stretch the limits of the format.
Can I use a smartphone to capture PanoMoments?
Can I embed PanoMoments on my own website?
Yes, but only Pro members can embed PanoMoments. It's just a matter of copying a simple iFrame code snippet (just like a YouTube video) and pasting it into your website. You can find this iFrame code snippet on your user gallery page (it's the little arrow icon). You may also want to add this small JS library which provides a workaround for iOS gyro issues with iFrames. Please feel free to reach out via email if you have any issues with embedding.
How can I auto-rotate / play PanoMoments?
On a desktop computer just hit the left/right arrows to auto rotate. The more times you tap the key the faster it will rotate. Hit the spacebar to stop rotation.
As the photos are captured over a period of time, isn’t there a jump in time at the beginning / end?
You’re right, and you can see that in this example (pan around near the sign). This temporal disparity / cut-point, does result in a "jump" between the last and first frame as you rotate across this point. However, it’s only visible if there is motion located at this point, and it can be used in creative ways allowing you to play tricks on the viewer. We may end up offering features for content creators to fade/blur the transition if they choose, as well as potentially offering a way to create PanoMoments with >360 degrees and <360 degrees captured.
How do you capture PanoMoments in stereo 3D?
The underlying principle behind PanoMoments is in fact very well suited for stereoscopic viewing due to the natural horizontal parallax, large number of virtual camera viewpoints, and lack of stitching errors. To capture in stereo 3D you’ll need two cameras that are triggered simultaneously while they are rotated. And for completely static scenes, it will be possible to capture stereo 3D PanoMoments with just a single camera and one rotation. Stereo 3D PanoMoments should be available sometime over the spring of 2018.
When using a rotating camera can you create a PanoMoment without parallax (ie. shot on the NPP)?
Yes... but we don’t really recommend this as it negates one of the large advantages of using a rotating camera to capture PanoMoments - the visualization of depth as you pan left and right. That being said, it’s entirely up to you, and one advantage of shooting a PanoMoment without parallax is the lower frame requirements. Ie. you can effectively shoot a PanoMoment without parallax in as few as 12 frames using a full circular fisheye lens. Keep in mind that the lower number of frames you use, the more likely angular deviation error in the capture will be visible (ie. visual jump when frames transition).
What about the Zenith/Nadir (top and bottom) regions when using a rotating camera?
Rotated PanoMoments aren't stitched like traditional 360 content. This means that they don't contain the full 360 degree image in each frame. Most likely you'll be capturing around 180x180 degrees compared to a full spherical 360x180. This does mean when you look up/down on a mobile phone, you'll notice regions where there is no image data. This is in fact just part of the trade-off PanoMoments make to gain their ability to show movement and motion parallax. The truth is that most people don't spend much time viewing these regions; it's just not a comfortable head position. However, we will likely be adding a mirror+blur option of this region to reduce the contrast which will make it easier on the eyes as well as opens up more compatibility with photo sets that that contains <180 degrees vertical coverage.
How does a robotic panorama head control the camera's shutter?
Most robotic panorama heads come with a 2.5mm camera connector (some have two or more) that allows the camera to be remotely triggered. However, not all cameras have this feature, so make sure to check. If your camera doesn't have wired trigger compatibility you can still use a robotic panorama head, but you will need to find another way to control the shutter. This can be as simple as a rubber band holding down the shutter button, or if you're using a video camera you'll just begin the recording before starting the rotation.
Can I capture PanoMoments with greater / less than 360 degree rotation?
We’ve done captures like this and it’s something we are strongly considering offering. Let us know if you’d like to see this supported.
What about fixed perspective and linear “Moments” rather than 360 panoramas?
We've actually played around with a few tests like this. Depending on feedback, we may decide to build it into the platform.
Can a PanoMoment be used as an alternative to software like Hugin, Autopano, or PTGui?
Yes and no. While rotated PanoMoments don’t rely on stitching, they currently do require the photos to be uploaded in Equirectangular projection. To accomplish that, you’ll need to use the same software used for stitching (Hugin, PTGui, Autopano, etc.) but the workflow is significantly easier. You can easily build a template file that makes it a 4 click process (load images, apply template, adjust crop, export). It’s important to understand that unlike a stitched panorama, a PanoMoment can’t be printed or shared in a way that shows all 360 degrees at once. PanoMoments are only viewable on digital devices, so they can’t fully replace panoramic stitching software. We do hope to one day provide support for native fisheye and rectilinear photos. At that point, you’d be able to upload straight from your camera, bypassing the Equirectangular conversion step.
What if there are errors / angular deviations during the capture rotation?
PanoMoments rely on frames being equally spaced around the 360 degree rotation. Any deviations will result in alignment errors during viewing. That’s why working with a robust and accurate rotating panorama head is extremely important. Minor alignment errors aren’t usually much of an issue due to the large number of photos captured. Down the road, we’re looking to add software stabilization to the viewer so that any alignment errors captured can be corrected during the rendering process.
How big are PanoMoment files?
It depends on the number of frames and the quality selected at playback, but typically it ranges from 20MB - 100MB for the web viewer (native mobile apps will be initially optimized for performance resulting in larger files but we're working on a big 20-30x optimization). When using desktop Chrome and the native app, we start the experience by downloading a small but complete 360 degree set of images, and then download additional frames. This allows you to start interacting with PanoMoments quickly. The mobile web viewer doesn't have this feature yet so it must download the entire file before viewing.
I’m having playback/performance issues in the web viewer. How can I fix this?
First try selecting a lower quality and if that doesn't fix it, then try another browser (ideally Chrome) or the native app. We’re working on improving performance and compatibility, but not all devices (especially older ones) will be compatible with PanoMoments.
It says my computer doesn't support WebGL even though I know it should. Can I fix this?
In order to view PanoMoments you'll need to have a modern computer that supports WebGL. Most computers do, however, there was a recent change in Chrome that blacklisted the Intel HD3000 GPU found in many older Macbooks (and other computers). Check out this Google support ticket for some additional background information on the issue. If this issue is affecting you, it is possible to override the blacklist. Type in chrome://flags/ into the address bar, and enable "Override software rendering list" and restart Chrome. This should allow WebGL apps including PanoMoments to work.
Would you consider open sourcing the core PanoMoments viewer?
This is something we’d love to do, but we first want to get the format off the ground and we believe that our current approach gives it the best chance for success. We’ll revisit this very important question in the coming months.
What about a virtual tour using PanoMoments?
We think that could be really neat and it’s something we are considering. However, it’s important to note that regular 360 photos require much less data and may be more appropriate for some types of tours. A hybrid approach may be the smartest where you could integrate PanoMoments into an existing 360 photo virtual tour. We're hoping to build a SDK / library that developers can use to integrate PanoMoments into their own applications.
Could you add sound to PanoMoments?
Absolutely! We are thinking about ways to add both ambient and captured sound to the experience.
What about partnering with a stereo 3D camera maker like LucidCam?
We’d love to! We are actively exploring several such opportunities.
Wouldn’t lightfield technology such as Lytro be a better solution compared to a rotating camera?
Lightfield technology is truly incredible, however, we are still a long way away before a consumer Lightfield camera that can capture video in 360 degrees becomes available. The Lytro Immerge doesn’t quite count as “consumer” :) The beauty of the rotating camera method is that you can use any camera, a whole range of lenses, and it doesn't need to be physically as large as a 360 lightfield camera array. It is possible that one day we’ll be able to support data formats that Lightfield cameras output.