Thursday, November 20, 2014


Taylor Swift not only released a music video for her new song “Blank Space” but also an interactive app based on the music video. It’s an immersive technological experience. This is the regular music video: 
In the interactive tablet and smartphone app you can explore the virtual mansion for the length of the song. When using the app you are transported into a recreation of that setting for the course of the song where you can follow a realistic animated Taylor Swift and her love as they enter and exit new rooms of the mansion or you can leave the couple and explore.  You use the phone or tablet as your eyes, wherever you move it is the angle of your vision. The 360-degree action is very similar to the actual video. Aside from following the couple there are several trinkets placed in the virtual mansion. For example, a book on the coffee table includes exclusive, never-before-seen photos from Taylor’s childhood.

The app was created right after the video was completed. Once the video was wrapped another crew was brought in to photograph the mansion and created the interactive world. Taylor Swift talks about it in a short interview

After using this app I was very curious about how they did it so I researched and found a bunch of interesting information...

Immersive Media was the company responsible for the 360 camera systems, on set live-stitching/viewing, and 360 post services. The linear music video production was shot with a Red Dragon in 6K and used a DJI Ronin for a lot of the camera work. The 360 crew had the challenging task of recreating the key scenes from the music video after the linear crew was finished. During a 360 take the entire room must be clear of equipment, lights, and crew. The actors have their directions but are basically free to move where they want as the camera is capturing them from all angles. The 360 camera is placed on set and a cable connects the camera to the primary recorder. The camera used on this production is a called a Lady Bug and is made by Point Grey. There are basically two other types of 360 camera systems today including the GoPro version and the Red Epic version.


None of the GoPros allow for real time viewing of the stitched image. However, in some cases the small form factor of the GoPro rigs make them the only chose for 360 video capture. Most of the popular 360 videos online were shot with GoPro rigs.

The Red Epic version has way more resolution, allows for cinema lenses. However, their downsides are that they are very large and that they image plane of each camera is very far offset. Therefore, they are not ideal for stitching. This system doesn’t currently allow for real-time viewing of the final stitched image either.

The real strength of Immersive’s 360 camera system and workflow, is that you can view the 360 image roughly stitched together live while you are shooting. You also have control of the shutter, gain, and some other key controls.

I think this is a very cool idea and its going to become more prevalent. 

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