360 Video for Equitable Assessment and Instruction

Every semester, dozens of classes with hundreds of students in the dance department need their midterms and finals video-recorded. Faculty use the recordings to assess their students’ improvement, give feedback, grade their performances and form their pedagogical plans.  

The traditional method of recording dance performances includes placing a stationary camera at the edge of a room or theatre, never crossing the imaginary line of performance, the proscenium line, and hoping that the performers do not block each other. This has proven to be a problem for equitable assessment. It is impossible to record every performer equally as it is easy for performers to go out of focus, block each other or not be correctly lit.  

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Meet the GoPro Fusion Spherical Camera

photo of a GoPro Fusion spherical camera on a white backgroundAmong the four different spherical cameras (a.k.a., 360-degree or omnidirectional cameras) available to TU students and faculty via SCS Gear2Go*, the GoPro Fusion promises the highest quality output. Its 5.2K resolution is a step-up from the competition’s 4K models, and its unique design produces better stitching—the process by which the camera joins two hemispherical images into a single spherical image.

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Meet the RICOH Theta V Spherical Camera

RICOH Theta V camera on tripod in front of iMac computerAmong the four different spherical (or 360 degree) cameras available to TU students and faculty via SCS Gear2Go, the RICOH Theta V* 4K camera is—in a sense—the old-timer. The original RICOH Theta was the first simple and relatively inexpensive spherical camera in its class. Like most of it’s peers, its sports two opposing wide angle lenses that each capture 180 degrees of available light; a built-in processor “stitches” the front and back images (hemispheres) together into single image or video. Unlike most of its peers, the Theta V is svelte and comfortably pocketable.

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Meet the 360Fly Spherical Camera

photo of a 360Fly 4K spherical camera on a white backgroundAmong the four different spherical cameras available to TU faculty and students via SCS Gear2Go, the 360Fly 4K is somewhat unique. It has only one lens. Most spherical cameras are designed around two lenses, each capturing a hemisphere of light. The camera software “stitches” the two hemispheres together to create a spherical image or video. The 360Fly captures 240-degrees of available light with a single lens. So, when oriented upward, it captures all but the circular area of ground under it*, which it renders as a black disc. Continue Reading

Spherical Cameras 101

Spherical cameras (also referred to as 360-degree or omnidirectional cameras) use one or more ultra wide-angle lenses to capture all surrounding light and produce spherical photos and videos. The resulting media can be viewed on a flat screen or with a virtual reality (VR) headset. While viewing on a smartphone or computer screen with a compatible player (YouTube, Facebook, etc.), you can drag the image in any direction to change your point of view (example). When wearing a VR headset (Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, etc.) you can “immerse” yourself in the media, viewing different areas of the recording as you move your head or body.

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