Conan O’Brien and His 360 Video Experiment

This is amazing! The link is to a 360 degree video (one among several) Conan has just published on his website. While the video is playing, you can drag your mouse to look around in the scene. (You can also use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out but irritatingly enough, the page scrolls at the same time.)

Maybe I’m just behind on technology a bit, but I’ve never seen 360 video before (I’ve seen lots of 360 still images though) and I’ve got to say the experience is something really new. Not that there are a lot of interesting things to see in this particular video besides Conan and his shenanigans (so there’s no real need to look around), but I can imagine this kind of technology could be used to create some interesting video art, or for certain movies or shows. Another thing to note is that if we start to use cameras like these, and especially if we get them on our cell phones, this might change criminal investigations. We’ve already seen how people use their camera phones to record encounters with the police at demonstrations and other places, and that this at least can raise public awareness of police brutality even if it often fails to lead to convictions of the officers in question. Not that the police are always the ones at fault of course. Here in Sweden, we have a crime show focusing on reporting about everyday crimes (and some more serious cases) and seeking help from the audience. Since starting to watch the show probably around 20 years ago, I’ve noticed the effects of having fairly high resolution cameras on subways, buses, and other places. Every week, we see good, clear images of faces of robbers, assaulters, rapists and others and every week, they announce the identification of at least one or a few of these.

If we had 360 recordings, we would know so much more about what happened all around in crime scenes. To take an extreme example, imagine if the Zapruder film had been a 360 recording. The film as it is forms an important piece of evidence regarding the shooting, if it was in 360 degrees, that would seem to enable a more thorough analysis on the path of the bullets.

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