How Do 360-Degree Cameras Work?

The Growth of 360-Degree Videos and Photos

In recent years, 360-degree videos and photos have become increasingly popular, as they offer a unique and immersive way to view the world around us. As technology has progressed, so too has the quality and affordability of 360-degree cameras, making them more accessible than ever before.

With 360-degree content, you are no longer limited to traditional video or photos shot from a single point of view. Instead, you can capture an entire scene in all its 360-degree glory. This means that you can experience things like never before, getting a true sense of scale and immersion that is simply not possible with traditional methods.

So how do 360 degree cameras work?

How Do 360-Degree Cameras Work?

360-degree cameras work by capturing an entire scene in a single instant. Standard cameras like the one on your smartphone typically have a field-of-view of about 60-90 degrees. Even a “wide angle” lens generally covers only 100 degrees or so. But 360-degree cameras typically have multiple, wide-angle (“fisheye”) lenses arranged in a carefully designed circular geometry, which allows them to capture every different angle at once, providing an complete and unobstructed field of view.

After capture, the individual images from each lens are stitched together to create a single 360-degree panorama. The resulting stitched image creates a 360-degree photo, or one frame in a 360-degree video. There are several different projection formats available to map the 360 sphere onto a standard rectangular image frame, similar to how a map of the world is represented. The most common and most compatible format is called an “equirectangular projection.” Here’s an example of this projection:

equirectangular 360 degree image

A 360-degree image in equirectangular projection format. (Credit:

Images and videos in this format can be displayed on a variety of devices, including smartphones, computers, VR headsets, and even immersive rooms like the ones available from our partner Igloo Vision.

Some 360-degree cameras even come equipped with special features that allow you to stitch together multiple 360-degree images to create an even wider field of view. This is how many 360-degree cameras are able to achieve such a high level of image quality, detail, and clarity.

Other 360-degree cameras might use a single lens, but they utilize advanced image processing algorithms to “unwrap” the images they capture and create a panoramic effect. All 360-degree cameras provide a complete and even birds eye view in a dynamic range.

360-degree cameras can be used for live 360-degree video conferencing, as with Avatour. They can also work in VR contexts due to the immersive quality of the experience.

Types of 360-Degree Cameras

There are two main types of 360-degree cameras: those with multiple lenses, and those with a single lens. In either scenario, these cameras use 180-degree forward and rear-facing fisheye lenses to capture the surroundings. Multi-lens 360-degree cameras usually have a circular array of lenses. This feature allows them to capture an image that is truly panoramic. Some of these cameras even come equipped with special features that allow you to stitch together multiple images to create an even wider field of view. Single-lens 360-degree cameras, on the other hand, utilize advanced image processing algorithms to “unwrap” the images they capture and create a panoramic effect. All 360-degree cameras give you the ability to see everything happening around you in one single shot.

Some of the most common 360-degree cameras on the market today are the:

    These types of cameras are only growing more popular, many with front-facing action cameras to make video production easier.

    360-Degree Content in Virtual Reality

    Virtual Reality is the perfect platform for 360-degree video and photos, as it provides an even more realistic and immersive experience. When you put on a VR headset, you step into the 360-degree world that you are viewing, making it feel as if you are really there. This is the closest thing to actually being in another place that you can get, and it is an incredible way to experience 360-degree content.

    Live 360-Degree Business and Site Meetings

    More and more businesses are using live 360-degree video conferencing to hold meetings in real-time. With live 360-degree video, captured by a 360-degree camera (such as a Labpano or Insta360) you can see all the participants in the meeting as if you were really there, making it easier to connect with them and understand their body language.

    360-degree meetings are used in industries that rely on site meetings, such as real estate, construction, and manufacturing. Site meetings are an essential part of the construction process. They allow everyone involved to see the progress of the project and identify any potential problems. Traditionally, site meetings have been held in person, but with the advent of 360-degree video conferencing, they can now be held remotely. This is a great way to save time and money, as you no longer need to travel to the site in order to attend the meeting. 

    The Takeaway

    360-degree technology have come a long way in recent years and will continue to advance  quickly. With new applications of the technology as a collaborative tool or in Virtual Reality, we’re sure to see cameras improve in quality and become more affordable.

    Avatour is reshaping the way remote teams collaborate with 360-degree video communication. Using live video capture, the Avatour platform brings remote guests to a physical location in real time. 

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