Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

How much would you pay for this kind of F1 coverage? // A 360 degree view of Formula One shows what could be done

Published by Mr. C

I don't want anyone to think that I'm obsessed with Formula One television coverage, but when I saw a fantastic demo the other day, the only thing I thought was - Bernie needs to see this:

[Video removed, no longer working.]

If you play the video and sit back, all you'll see is a ride on board a VW Beetle around what I'm assuming is New York City. However, grab your mouse, click on the video and drag for a few seconds and then the thing really comes to life.

360° interactive images have been available on the web for years and years, but to the best of my knowledge they've all been static. You could look around a room, or you could get a nice panorama from a cliff top. I've never seen them be interactive and contain motion before.

Take a look around you

Dodeca 2360 Immersive Media Camera

The technology that enables the above visuals has been developed by a company called Immersive Media and they've created a housing containing 11 lenses called the Dodeca 2360. It's about the size of a small ball and I think FOM needs to buy about 20 of them.

Imagine watching an onboard shot during a race and being able to spin right around to see who's following or who's to the side. Envisage being able to watch the start of a Grand Prix from the center of the pack in 360°. Or catch an overtaking manouvre, but instead of seeing the beginning from a reverse angle and the end from a different one, you just follow all the action in one sweeping pan. The possibilities are endless.

Pan, tilt and zoom

There might be one spanner in the works though, in that as far as I can tell the technology only allows for post-processing viewing, so no live action as yet, but that's bound to change soon and in the meantime even using it for replays would be a major step forward.

Incidentally NASCAR already use something along these lines, although their's appears to be a single lens on a motorised platform and could easily miss much of the action. Additionally only one person can control that camera's direction, but when everything is recorded from every angle, anyone can look anywhere.

How much would you pay to be in control of your own race viewing, to be able to follow your favourite driver yet see so much more than they ever could? I'd put that right up there with the desire for high-definition coverage, what about you?