[Gear In Review Podcast] GIR9 – 360 Cameras

Hosted by Reed Smith and Bobby Rettew, MA

In the last episode we explored mobile editing software; in this episode we are reviewing 360 cameras. This is a wild and exciting area for content creators, digital photographers, and videographers. We review a few cameras currently out in the market and talk about potential applications for 360 images and video. Whether you are a healthcare marketing or real estate marketer thinking about virtual tours inside your hospital, we discuss what the camera can do and how to share the content to your audience.

Here are links to portable hard drives we discuss:

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Reed: Hey everybody, this is Reed Smith.

Chris: And this is Chris Boyer.

Reed: And we are cohosts on a show called Touchpoint, which is a podcast that’s dedicated to the discussions on digital marketing and online patient engagement strategies, not only for just hospitals, but health systems and physician practices.

Chris: In every episode, we’ll dive deep into a variety of topics on digital tools, solutions, strategies, and other things that are impacting the healthcare industry today.

Reed: And while you listen to this show, we would certainly love you to check out.

Chris: All you have to do a swing on over to touchpoint.health for more information and also some of the other shows that are featured on the Touchpoint media network.

Reed Smith: Hi. We’re back again for another episode of Gear in Review. I am your co-host, Reed Smith, joined by Bobby Rettew.

Bobby Rettew: What’s going on?

Reed Smith: And, we are here. Another episode, another piece of hardware. So today, we’re gonna talk about something that is kind of fun. Maybe initially made its debut … I don’t know. I’m kind of making this part up … But made its debut in probably the real estate world. At least that’s where I would notice a lot of it, maybe. But that is the ability to create and produce 360 video. So, we’re gonna talk a little bit about some hardware. Or a camera, specifically, that you can use to do that. Right?

Bobby Rettew: Yeah, man. We’ve been playing with … Or have been interested in 360 video and photography for about a year now. And we’ve been trying to figure out, where the heck are we gonna use this? How is it applicable? So, you can get something really small, or you can scale up and spend tens of thousands of dollars for that. So we bought something … An inexpensive barrier to entry camera, just to play. To figure it out, see what it’s like. And so, I think it would be fun to just talk about the … It’s called the Kodak PIXPRO Orbit 360 4K spherical video camera. We’ll have the links in the show notes for this, so you can kind of check it out. It’s a fun little gadget.

Reed Smith: So everybody can kind of picture this in their head physically, what does this thing look like, and how do you set it up and use it?

Bobby Rettew: Okay. First, we’re used to a GoPro. I mean, I hope that many of y’all have either held a GoPro or looked at it. A GoPro is something that you can put in the palm of your hand. It’s small. It has a camera that looks almost like a dome on one side.

Reed Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby Rettew: And then, some of the GoPros have where you can look at it. It has a screen on one side. It has some buttons to do things. It has a little place to attach it to hold it somewhere, whether it’s on top of your head, or attach it to something like a selfie stick.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: Yeah. This is the same exact size. The only difference here is that there’s a second camera on the opposite side. There’s two domes on either side of this camera, so it allows you to see … It records 360 video, so you can literally play the video, and look all around and all above and below the camera as the video is playing. So, both domes record 360 degrees all the way around, top to bottom.

Reed Smith: And again, we don’t really talk about strategy and use cases and things like that. Well, maybe we touch on some use cases on this show. But quickly, these are obviously … You know, you think about live events, or I mentioned real estate earlier. So any time you want to do kind of the virtual tour piece, things like that work. But I’ve seen this, and you can almost picture. It’s not quite this large, honestly, but like a Rubik’s Cube sitting on top of a tripod.

Bobby Rettew: Right.

Reed Smith: That kind of a thing. So, yeah.

Bobby Rettew: Yeah. It’s really cool, because I think about use cases immediately. Like, why would I want to buy this, other than just … I mean, you and I. Come on, Reed. We like to play with gadgets.

Reed Smith: Yup.

Bobby Rettew: But, you know, we-

Reed Smith: I just always am looking for a reason to buy something else.

Bobby Rettew: Right. I mean like, “How can I justify”-

Reed Smith: “I’ll come up with the use case later.”

Bobby Rettew: Right, right. “I’ll figure it out after I go.” But I’ve had more hospitals that want to do virtual tours. You know, for mom and baby, where they want to walk you through and show you what a suite looks like. You know? Or they want to be able to match up with Google Maps, so that people can see how to get themselves to a hospital from a point of view perspective. And those, that’s really smart. And it’s kind of taken off to your point, the real estate market. Where people want to be able to walk through and navigate a home, especially if you’re buying outside of the geographic area that you live.

Bobby Rettew: One of the things that I think is really interesting with these is, definitely a lot of hospital applications here, number one. Two, I even think that this could be a really good use case for surgical suites from a teaching methodology, where you drop a 360 camera in there and record a surgery, and you can show what everybody’s doing during that surgical process. You can see what the cardiologist is doing, and at the same time, the nurse practitioner and the nurse anesthetist, all the people that are doing their things. You know? That’s kind of fun from a teaching mechanism.

Bobby Rettew: The thing that I think that we have loved the most on this is attaching it to the bottom of … Through 3D printing, we have attached it to the bottom of a drone, and we have popped it in the air and got aerial 360 videos of just different real estate pieces.

Reed Smith: Oh, interesting.

Bobby Rettew: That is amazing content, because it allows you to look all around and see, and allow people to explore, which is a lot of fun. Which kind of plays off what Google is doing. I mean, whenever you see the Google car ride around, they essentially have a 360 camera on top of their car and they’re capturing.

Reed Smith: Yeah, absolutely. So, the use case for this. I think people could come up with lots of ideas, quite honestly.

Bobby Rettew: Right. Absolutely.

Reed Smith: And we’d love to hear from people, of how you might use the different things that we talk about. But talk a little bit about kind of the interoperability. So, you have this thing and it captures content. What ways does it allow you to move that content around? Can you do Facebook Live directly from it? Can you port it over to other devices to then edit and upload, or … You know, kind of how do you logistically use the device, or could you use the device?

Bobby Rettew: Okay. So, I’m a photographer by nature. I was trained as a still photographer. And so, I love the 360 pictures in this. It allows you to edit the imagery, and get really beautiful landscapes. So, number one, I use it for a lot of photography. Number two, the video portion of it, it allows you to do a couple things. It will record, but you can select which camera video content you want to edit. So, you can pick the lens.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: For instance, if the front lens got something that you want to just focus in on, you can edit that content. From a-

Reed Smith: Pretty cool.

Bobby Rettew: Yeah, it’s really cool. So, how do you interact with it? Number one, it works off your phone. Okay? That’s where it works the best. It connects through Bluetooth, and so you can control the camera through your phone through an app. It’s the Kodak PIXPRO app, and it allows you to take pictures. It allows you to record video. And then, it will store that content … Not only on your phone, like a lower-res version of that? Where you can take a 360 video, and then upload it directly to Facebook, and it allows people to scan. Have you noticed how you can use your phone to-

Reed Smith: Yeah, you can kind of mouse around on the picture or whatever. Yeah.

Bobby Rettew: [inaudible 00:08:16] has built the code into that image so that Facebook recognizes it as VR, and they can scan around. And you can do that directly off your phone. You don’t have to take the card out, and go edit on a piece of software to do that. It has built the code into the image, so Facebook will recognize it.

Reed Smith: Very cool. So can you do Facebook Live, or any sort of live streaming, from it?

Bobby Rettew: There is. Through their desktop software, and also within the app, they are starting to develop the connection point, to more seamlessly do Facebook Live. It’s a little clunky right now. You know, where it wants to connect through the phone to your Facebook account, and then you have to go through this authentication process. It’s still clunky. It’s still … Yeah. I don’t think the code’s there yet. But it will allow you to do it, if you’re willing to work through it a little bit.

Reed Smith: Yeah. So, maybe not the primary use case, or maybe don’t go buy it directly for that sole purpose.

Bobby Rettew: Right.

Reed Smith: But it would be something worth kind of checking out. So, folks that may not be interested in this particular model … And there are other 360 cameras out there.

Bobby Rettew: Lots of them.

Reed Smith: [crosstalk 00:09:34] not. But who do you recommend taking a look at this? If they’re looking at what? Not another 360 … Or maybe other 360 cameras. Obviously, you’d want to take a look at this. But, would you look at this if you’re thinking about buying a new GoPro or something? Would you look at this, and maybe it’s instead of, or …

Bobby Rettew: Yeah.

Reed Smith: Kind of what are your thoughts there?

Bobby Rettew: First of all, it shoots a 4K image. Okay? So, the image has a lot more stuff built into it, so it’s a lot prettier image. And, it gives you a second lens. I specifically chose this over the next GoPro because it allows me to do 360 if I want to. It has a 4K image. I can control it from my phone. I can turn it on and off. It allows me to do the selfie stick, so it came with a selfie stick option. If you go to B&H Photo, you can buy the satellite pack or the adventure pack, and it basically comes with every possible … It comes with a tripod and a selfie stick, and all of those pieces that you want to use, built into the package. It’s really cool. I would recommend that.

Bobby Rettew: Number two is, there is more to play with in the video that you record in your phone. Have you seen the pictures or the videos, where it looks like the world is a big circle?

Reed Smith: Yeah. Yeah.

Bobby Rettew: Yeah. You can take any video or photo and do that. It allows you to navigate the image, and spit it out in a way, or share it in a way, that looks cool or different. So, it allows you to give it that ability to make it look like a small little world, or you can pan around. It gives you a lot of different ways to spit out an image based on your need.

Reed Smith: Okay.

Bobby Rettew: It does not plug and play with GoPro extensions. Like, if you want to use a way to hook it to your head mount for your GoPro, it does not plug and play. It’s a little bit … The accessories don’t work as well. But it has so many more video viewing options than your traditional GoPro.

Reed Smith: Interesting. So, you’re making a conscious decision to choose this over something else. It’s not really gonna work with your other accessories and mounts quite as well. So, what am I gonna pay for this thing?

Bobby Rettew: Right now, if you bought it directly from Kodak, you’re gonna pay 500 bucks. If you go to B&H Photo, you can get this whole thing between $400 and $425.

Reed Smith: That’s a pretty good deal. I mean, it’s comparable to a GoPro package of some sort. Right?

Bobby Rettew: Yeah. Yeah.

Reed Smith: Or other adventure cameras, or whatever you kind of want to classify that stuff as. So, it makes a lot of sense.

Bobby Rettew: I’ve personally used it at my kid’s birthday parties, in lieu-

Reed Smith: Nice.

Bobby Rettew: Yeah. I’ll set the 360 camera on the cake table or the present table and then just let it record, and then you can watch everybody as you open the presents. You can see all the reactions. It has built in, instead of just recording video, it will take pictures every three seconds, five seconds. So you can just take tons of pictures, and it will do it by itself.

Reed Smith: Pretty cool.

Bobby Rettew: And I love that, because it allows me to get a picture of Rose with her expression, and someone that’s looking at her taking a picture, their expression. So-

Reed Smith: Very cool little deal.

Bobby Rettew: Yeah.

Reed Smith: Very cool. Anything else folks should know?

Bobby Rettew: It comes with … So, you can control it with your phone.

Reed Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby Rettew: You can also, it comes with two different remote controls that you can control it with. This is really critical, because I use this … Once again, my child. Her dance recital. I wanted to record video of her dancing on the stage, so I took it and just set it up on the stage. It’s very unobtrusive. But, my phone. Someone started texting me right in the middle of using my phone to control it, which made me get … You know that thing, where you’re trying to manage it and take a picture, and someone keeps texting you and it gets in the way?

Reed Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bobby Rettew: The remote works really well, because it just allows you to turn it on and off and record, or select if you want to take pictures or video. And so, that gives you the option to do that.

Reed Smith: Very cool. All right. Are there different models, or is it pretty well one … I guess one product in that lineup?

Bobby Rettew: For Kodak, this is their first 360 camera. They used to have the PIXPRO where you put two cameras back to back, kind of like-

Reed Smith: Gotcha.

Bobby Rettew: … two GoPros. But in the VR or 360 world, there are so many options out there, and so many different price ranges.

Reed Smith: Sure.

Bobby Rettew: GoPro can do that. You can put a bunch of GoPros together. There’s a few other options out there that people are creating. Samsung’s doing a good job, because they’re trying to dive into that VR world. So, I would really research it. The drawback, the one thing I don’t like about this camera is, if you want to stitch … Stitching is when you go in and take the video, and you make sure that the image from one camera matches the image from the other camera. You can kind of control it a little bit, to get a clean stitch edit together. And one side of this lens looks a little, almost has some deterioration, where you can see where it’s degraded a little bit. That’s the only issue that I have, and I’m just being a purist, because I love clean images. There’s like a little brown haze on one edge. That’s the only thing I don’t like about it. But for an entry level to figure this out, this is a great place to start to play.

Reed Smith: Yeah. Yeah, it sounds like it. Well, it’s the one that we’re tooling around with, and Bobby’s spending a lot of time with. And so again, any feedback, thoughts around these, or if you’ve tried other models, we’d love to hear from you.

Reed Smith: So, another great episode of Gear in Review for Bobby Rettew. I’m Reed Smith, and we’ll see you next time.

Bobby Rettew: Have a good one.

Reed Smith: This show is made possible in part by the Social Health Institute. Through research and partnerships with healthcare organizations around the country, the Social Health Institute explores new and innovative ways for hospitals and healthcare organizations to develop and enhance their social media and digital marketing strategy. To learn more about the Social Health Institute, visit them online at socialhealthinstitute.com. That’s socialhealthinstitute.com.

Reed Smith: This has been a Touch Point Media production. To learn more about this show and others like it, please visit us online at touchpoint.health.

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