Dec 28, 2017

By Anthony Holland Parkin, Head of Immersive Content, Getty Images

Spherical content is arguably one of the biggest developments in image making since photography went digital. For the team here at Getty Images, this is hugely exciting as we enter a new age of content creation. The diverse range of 360-degree content that we produce - from the red carpet to frontline news - allows consumers to access information and experiences that were previously off limits.

Technology has extended the human experience past the limits of biology and physiology. 360-degree content gives the viewer an immersive experience; it lets you be in the place rather than a passive viewer looking through a 2D window. It allows our photographers and videographers to capture images that not only document what was happening, but provides the viewer with deeper access than ever before by showing them a place they would otherwise never see.

We know that people crave immersive experiences because immersion is emotive. People searching for first person point of view (POV) content on our website has increased by 20 percent YOY. Its popularity is because POV content provides a raw, immersive and authentic feel leading to greater levels of engagement.  It allows you to be in the place rather than a passive observer of a 2D window…we're moving from seeing something to experiencing something.... even more, searches for Virtual Reality grew 320 percent YOY!

Getty Images has been experimenting with spherical imagery for several years, shooting key events as a service to customers.  As the Head of Immersive Content at Getty Images, I am always looking to equip our content creators with first-rate technology that enables them to maximize their capabilities. So, when GoPro approached me with the opportunity to use their Fusion camera, I jumped at the opportunity, knowing it would allow us to experiment and create incredible spherical content. 

Just one exciting example of how we’ve used it so far: a photographer mounted a Fusion to his helmet and hurtled down a hill in a soapbox cart at 40 miles per hour!

Though our photographers won’t always be traveling at high speeds and racing down hills, the light-weight and compact two lens design of the Fusion allows our creators to throw the camera in their bag and use it when needed. 

We have also been exploring the OverCapture feature which allows our creators to capture content from every angle and then enhance the content down the road. In the editing process, we can comb through the entire spherical file to find the perfect shot and then yank out a full HD image.

It is clear to see that this technology has all the potential to revolutionize the way we consume visuals, much like color film did in the 1930s. 360 capture devices have become indispensable on the proverbial Getty Images tool belt and though it is relatively new, it is most definitely here to stay. We’re entering a new and exciting time for visual language and I can’t wait to see what comes next.