360Heros, a Western New York company specializing in virtual reality 360-degree video technology has been issued a patent by the U.S. Patent Office that covers the multi-camera holding assemblies popular in virtual reality and 360-degree video filmmaking with other patents pending.
The patent for invention number 9,152,019 B2 is for camera holding assemblies, which hold multiple cameras in a preset, 360 Plug-n-Play™orientation. These holders utilize cameras in their original form and dual purpose them to capture a fully spherical, seamless 360-degree field of view.
Over the last 3.5 years, 360Heros has developed a complete product line of 10 such solutions for capturing 360-degree video and photo content above water, underwater and in the air.
Manufactured in Olean, New York, the current models on the market utilize GoPro cameras for data capture. However, the patent is not limited to this make or model, as it also applies to multi-camera configurations for cameras such as Blackmagic Design, Red and other cinematic cameras.
Today a majority of these products are 3D printed using a high strength flexible nylon material, which is lightweight and easy to use. The patent also applies to configurations for capturing 360-degree video underwater. The 360Abyss is an example of one such solution, which is capable of filming 360 video at a depth of 1,000 meters, or 3,280 feet. 360Heros solutions have been sold to over 6,500 customers in the U.S. and worldwide and used for applications ranging from documentary filmmaking to music video production and commercial applications.
In all cases, the holder configurations can create content with resolutions ranging from 8,000 x 4,000 pixels to 12,000 x 6,000 pixels. This content can be played back via virtual reality head mounted displays such as the Samsung GearVR and Google Cardboard, dome projections systems, via the web and on IOS and Android devices. Free mobile apps and hosting services such as the 360Heros app and hosting network, YouTube 360 and Facebook 360 provide content creators outlets for sharing and viewing 360 video content.
"This patent makes claims in connection with the 360-degree video technology 360Heros has had on the market since 2012. It's been our goal since day one to create solutions that empower content creators to leverage existing camera technology to tell stories in a more immersive format," said Michael Kintner, 360Heros founder and CEO. "We believe this patent simply legitimizes our initial goal and what we've been striving to accomplish for years.”
With the rising popularity of virtual reality HMDs and VR drawing attention from big brands and story tellers, the demand for 360 video technology continues to grow and is being viewed as an emerging market.
The patent also introduces 360Heros 360CamMan file management software, which allows filmmakers to quickly transfer, organize and optimize 360 video files from multi-camera configurations. The managed media output from 360CamMan is fully prepped and formatted to create spherical 360 video using packages such Video-Stitch, Kolor and Nuke. Stitched content from these packages can then be re-imported into 360CamMan to optimize the content for 3D play back in VR devices such as the Samsung GearVR, Google Cardboard and large format dome projection systems.