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08 Dec

The GoPano Micro could be awesome, but still has a bit to go

Posted by 3 comments

GoPano MicroI just got a new tech toy in the mail that I think could be pretty effective in journalism.

“Could” is the key word.

The GoPano Micro (around $80) allows your iPhone to record and upload 360 videos that lets users to zoom in/out and scroll while watching the video. (I didn’t know this, but they have adapters and software made for better-than-iPhone cameras.)

It’s pretty easy to install and start recording. First, you snap on an iPhone cover and pop in the periscope-looking lens. Then you install the app and creating an account. That’s it… you are ready to go.

You can record, view and share your 360 videos through your phone. The videos are even embeddable.

It’s all pretty simple.

Except for one significant issue… the image focus is not good. It’s bad.

Here are two tests I did:
USC Heritage Hall

My USC office

The @GoPano Twitter account did respond to my request for times on how to improve the focus by providing me with these links:

  • http://support.gopano.com/customer/portal/topics/98224-gopano-micro/articles
  • http://blog.gopano.com/2011/10/20/where_have_my_pixels_gone/
  • http://support.gopano.com/customer/portal/articles/221550-how-to-manually-calibrate-the-gopano-micro
  • They didn’t really improve anything, but I appreciate their responsiveness.

    I think software/app tweaks could really improve this device. Perhaps allow touch focusing as the video is recording… that way we can really control what gets in focus, rather then everything slightly blurry.

    If the quality of the image improves, I can easily see this in a variety news situations and events. Can you imagine how awesome this would be in the middle of a riot?

    Outside of the obvious need to improve the image, the next cool feature would be to live stream the 360 video.

    There is no doubt that the technology is coming… I just wish it got here with my GoPano Micro.

    1. 360 fan
      December 12th, 2011 at 09:24 | #1

      IMHO this is a ridiculous looking, shoddily made piece of equipment.
      The comments on Kickstarter were overwhelmingly scathingly negative and I can see why.
      In addition to the focus issue you mention, the attachment is not securely attached in all cases and can have a tendency to fall off. The lens is also not protected and is thus susceptible to dirt and dust.

      I opted for the Kogeto dot and am quite pleased with the quality of both the attachment and the finished videos. It is a much better looking piece of kit, focussing just works works and the lens is protected. Only issue is that depending on the lighting conditions, there can be a glare showing up in parts of the video marring the otherwise overall decent quality.

      • Robert
        December 13th, 2011 at 00:57 | #2

        It looks like the http://www.kogeto.com/ is pretty cool and has some better imagery. But you can see what you are filming, which is a negative, I think.

        But that’s for the tip! Glad this space is emerging.

    2. Michael M
      December 23rd, 2011 at 09:38 | #3

      I have a dot and it’s awesome. aside from being able to focus (!), the great thing is you can PUT IT DOWN WHILE SHOOTING (the gopano has to be held, or I guess put on some sort of tripod). I’ve gotten amazing footage of my kids (and my dogs) that I don’t think I could get with something I need to hold in my hand.

      since you’re shooting 360, there’s no need to see what your shooting – it’s getting everything. after some initial practice with vertical placement (to make sure people’s heads aren’t cut off), I can’t live with out my dot.

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