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360-degree camera captures head-spinning videos

Action sports footage captured by an advanced 360-degree video camera lets viewers take control of the camera angles while watching.

Making View race car still
This may be the closest you'll get to driving an F1 car. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The phrase "immersive experience" gets bandied about quite a bit when talking about technology. I wouldn't use those words to describe the online video experience... until now. The Making View 360-degree ViewCam video system brings you into the action much more than a regular clip.

Remember those panoramic house tours that were popular for a while on real estate sites? The ViewCam videos created with Red Bull are like that on steroids -- with a shot of adrenaline on the side.

Demonstration videos let you ride along with a race car or a downhill mountain biker. You hover with the driver or rider and control the viewpoint with the arrow keys on your keyboard. Jump out of the launch chute, and glance behind to see the next bike rider coming down, or look ahead as the car angles into a corner.

The camera system weighs a little over a pound. It's surprisingly compact, but still much bigger than a regular GoPro you'd mount on your helmet. It captures 4K by 2K equirectangular video at 25-50fps. It uses 160GB to 224GB of internal memory to hold all that video data. The MakingViewer video viewer lets you share the experience online.

The video looks a little distorted sometimes, but it doesn't distract from the sense of excitement at being able to control the viewpoint, pan around, glance up at the sky, and then back behind. The novelty may wear off at some point, but the videos are a lot of fun for now.

(Via Outside Online)