PanoMoments are 360-degree images which sit somewhere between 'traditional' 360-degree photos and videos by capturing still images across a snippet of time. A Kickstarter campaign is currently underway to create a platform for these immersive images, which can consist of hundreds of photos taken on an interchangeable lens camera using a rotating panorama head.
PanoMoments differ from 'traditional' 360-degree photos and videos shot by the likes of the Nikon Keymission 360, Ricoh Theta S, or 360 rigs, in that they do not look in all directions at the same time. Instead they capture 360-degrees across a period of time, but only looking in one direction at any moment. By combining the images into an equirectangular photo, users are able to view them as a 360-degree or VR experience, observing the passage of time like a stop-motion video as they rotate their viewpoint.
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Because you're only ever looking at one image at a time there's none of the nasty parallax stitching errors which all too often plague 360-degree images and video. PanoMoments, which each come in at around 30 MB to 150 MB, can also be experienced on a desktop, smart device or VR viewer, and feel a little like Apple's Live Photos crossed with a Time-Lapse video as you move your view.
While there's a certain stop-motion feel to the images, it's a different and interesting experience. We found it works best if rotating in the same direction as the camera was, otherwise the backwards movement of subjects can become distracting. The team behind PanoMoments says it thinks photography enthusiasts and VR fans will embrace the images and use them alongside regular stitched 360 content.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running to create a web-based platform for hosting and viewing PanoMoments, with pledge rewards offering annual or lifetime memberships to the service. This is due to offer features including 500 GB of storage, the ability to embed PanoMoments on websites, and higher-quality options than will be available on an alternative free membership.
Because few people currently have the necessary hardware needed to rotate their camera with the precision needed to produce a quality PanoMoment, the team has also partnered with PanoCatcher to also offer its Loop robotic tripod head as a pledge reward too.
This device, which is controlled via an Android app, can be used to rotate your camera in the way needed to produce a PanoMoment. This means having the lens 80mm in front of the the No Parallax Point to emulate head rotation, and moving in tiny increments between shots. It's important to note that there are other compatible robotics heads available separately.
Camera-wise the PanoMomnets team suggest a shooter with a Mirco Four Thirds sensor or larger, paired with a circular fisheye that captures 180 degrees (or more) for the best results. Once all of the required images are captured, with 250-300 shots said to be the sweet-spot, users will then need to convert the images to an equirectangular photo using available external software (such as PTGui, Hugin, and Autopano) before uploading them to the PanoMoments service where they can be viewed.
The campaign to create the PanoMoments platform is currently on Kickstarter, looking to raise US$10,000. Pledge rewards from $50 include memberships to the PanoMoments Pro service, and can include the PanoCatcher Loop, from $300. If the funding target is reached and everything goes to plan, shipping is due to start early 2017, with backers getting Beta access to the PanoMoments service before the Pro features launch and their memberships kick in.
You can check out the Kickstarter video for PanoMoments below, and view examples of the images on the PanoMoments website.