360° Cameras Are a Game Changer for Aviation Videos

  • Dec 7, 2015 10:02am GMT

Have you seen these things? 360 degree cameras are slowly gaining popularity in the aviation world, and I consider them to be a game changer, similar to what the GoPro did when it was first introduced a few years ago.

These 360 degree action cameras are no bigger than your current action cam, but have one major advantage. The single lens has a super wide field of view that records all angles at the same time. When playing back the video the viewer can change the angle they want to see at any time. Its kind of like having a regular camera on a motorized gimbal where the viewer can pan and tilt the camera using motors. But in this case nothing is physically moving. All you are doing as the watcher is choosing which section of the video file you want to see.

There are a few 360° cameras on the market now, but the one I tested is the 360fly. It looks a lot like a big weird eyeball. But this eyeball records a circular image extending to 30° behind the lens. That means this camera can actually see what's behind it. A smartphone or tablet is used as a remote and can show a live view of what the camera is recording. When playing back the video the field of view can be zoomed in and out, and the angle is moved with a flick of the finger. Moving the phone around will also change the view using the on board accelerometers.

Social sharing sites like YouTube and Facebook have only recently updated their players to allow for the user to interact with the video as the designers have intended. The only thing you cannot do is zoom in and out.

I'll have a more thorough review of this camera online in the near future with some tips & tricks for its use in the cockpit. For now enjoy some aviation eye candy with the 360fly camera mounted to a couple of my R/C airplanes both on land and water. The videos are not interactive unless you watch them directly on YouTube, so click on the video title to open it up. When playing the video you can "move the camera" with a click-n-drag of the mouse, or you can use the "WASD" keys on the computer keyboard to move the angle up/down or left/right. Or if you viewing on your tablet/phone just move it around!

Explore! Have fun! That's what this camera is all about!