Provides: 360º panoramic photography for iPhone 4/4S Developer: GoPano Minimum Requirements: iOS 4.2 or later, GoPano iPhone App Price: GoPano Micro – $79.95; GoPano App – Free Availability: Now
The world exists in 360º, so why should your photographs and movies be limited to the tiny sliver that your iPhone’s camera captures? With the GoPano Micro panoramic lens and GoPano’s companion iOS App, you can shoot, share, and explore the world around you in a whole new way. The panoramic lens attachment coupled with the free app build a great experience for shooting and sharing 360º panoramic videos.
Snap It In
The GoPano Micro consists of a two-piece hardshell plastic case that snaps on the iPhone and a panoramic mirror lens that captures the 360º field of view. The case has a pleasant matte finish that is comfortably grippable while filming, and it snaps in place both on the back of the phone and around the front edges for a secure fit.
A cutout around the camera is designed to hold the panoramic lens inplace, which looks like a small periscope with a mirror around the interior top surface. When the lens is affixed to the case, the flash is covered and unusable. Without the panoramic lens, both the front and rear cameras and flash are unobstructed.
The GoPano app is required for the iPhone to make sense of the warped image produced by the 360º mirror. It is a free download and comes with an easy-to-use interface that is minimalistic and practical. Upon launch, you may choose to Explore, Record, or View My Videos. Hit “Record” and the app searches for the GoPano micro and maps the panoramic image produced onto the screen. Autofocus works well enough, though the distortion caused by the panoramic view renders most images with a slight haze.
Should the phone fail to automatically find the GoPano micro, or to make minor adjustments, simply tap “Calibrate.” The calibration menu allows you to refresh the automatic focus detection, manually force the camera to focus, and map the image. Since the iPhone’s video mode crops the sensor, the manual mapping option allows you to alter what portion of the sensor is cropped to ensure an optimum field of view for your subject. Good news for novice users—99% of the time, the autofocus and auto adjustments are enough to ensure great results without any fiddling.
App It Up
Once your incredible video is shot, the app connects to the EyeSee360 website, where you can share your videos and explore other user’s videos. Experiencing panoramic videos is simple on an iDevice: simply start playing the video, then use your finger to spin the video or turn your iDevice and watch the camera move with you. For desktop viewers, a Flash-enabled browser player allows you to click and drag to spin the video, but do not try to pick up your laptop and spin the video around!
Check out this video of the Cirque du Mac party held after hours in San Francisco during MacWorld|iWorld 2012:
And a recap from the show floor by Jeanne Li, with a special guest appearance by some dude in a brown jacket who looks confounded:
The freedom of 360º panoramic video is the ability to explore not just the action going on in front of you, but also see the crowd behind you reacting to it. GoPano promises to never deliver the same video twice, and with a fuller field of view and endless angles to watch your videos from, GoPano certainly delivers.
Be sure to explore more videos at the GoPano website. Whether capturing the expansive view from the top of a mountain or really getting a feel for the hustle and bustle of a city street, the GoPano micro makes it easy to capture the world in a brand new way.