Dot panoramic lens shoots 360-degree iPhone videos
By Ben Coxworth
June 16, 2011
Not long ago, we reported on the GoPano micro panoramic lens, that allows users to shoot interactive 360-degree videos on their iPhones. Well, perhaps not surprisingly, it's got some competition. Kogeto's Dot lens also lets iPhone 4 users shoot videos "in the round," although in a different configuration.
Panoramic video, for those who aren't familiar with it, is actually pretty neat. The camera records everything that's visible within a horizontal loop around itself, a portion of which is displayed on the computer screen upon playback. To see what they're missing, viewers can pan 360 degrees within that loop, as they're watching the video. This means that the same footage could be watched many times, with new surprises showing up every time, depending on what the viewer chooses to look at.
More advanced systems are also able to take in what's above the camera, as seen in the video for Professor Green's song Coming to Get Me.
The Dot attaches over an iPhone 4's existing lens, via a partial cover. As with the GoPano, users will see part of the panorama on the phone's screen, but what's displayed on the screen won't affect what's being recorded. In the case of the GoPano, the panoramic lens sits up at a 90-degree angle from the phone's lens, so users hold the phone vertically when they're shooting. The advantage to this configuration is that users can see at least part of what they're shooting, on the phone's screen.
Because the Dot sticks straight out from the iPhone's lens, however, this means that users must hold the phone horizontally. This means that they can't see the screen (unless they stick their head underneath), but it also allows the phone to easily be placed on a flat surface such as a tabletop, where it can capture a level 360-degree shot without having to be propped up.
The Dot should be available sometime in August, and can be preordered now for US$98. A web platform for the posting and sharing of Dot-shot videos is scheduled to launch in July.
The GoPano micro is expected to sell for about $80.