Over the past several months we have been working on a 360-degree video experience with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce called Winnipeg VR. This experience takes you to multiple different businesses including some well know, and some new businesses that show our diverse business ecosystem here in the prairies.
Some of the businesses included in this app are:
- CN Rail
- The City of Winnipeg
- Mere Hotel
- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers
- Save on Foods
- Across The Board Cafe
- Vera Chiropractic
- The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada
- North End Family Centre
- Lennard Taylor Design Studio
When we initially approached the chamber to talk about the potential technology we had very loose guidelines on how we needed to produce this application. We wanted to give them creative freedom over whom to include, as long as they had a good role to play in the application.
We shot the content using a couple different cameras. All of the content is in 360-degree photos and video. The cameras we used were:
- Ricoh Theta S – Great for shooting large areas quickly, like the CN Rail Training Facility
- Samsung Gear 360 (2017) – This camera we actually got later on, it shoots great photos and uses HDR. We used this for our outside locations like with the Blue Bombers.
The application was developed for Google Cardboard and is released on the iTunes store and the Google Play Store. We also built an Oculus Rift version to showcase at events with the chamber. This early demo video shows the application running within Unity3D.
The idea is to expand this technology to enable any business access to this for marketing and tourism.
We are currently working on future plans for the technology. For now, this application is a good example of businesses coming together and utilizing technology to build something of cultural significance.
Eventually, we would like to turn this into a framework for creating tourism focused VR applications. There are limitations to 360 videos and photos, but until better technology like photogrammetry becomes more accessible. We don’t want to create something the average user can not handle.
You can download the app onto your smartphone, you do require a Google Cardboard enabled VR HMD to operate.