Since the onset of the pandemic, many aspects of daily life have gone virtual – from conferences and events, wedding ceremonies and birthday parties, and real estate showings. And as the pandemic continues on, recent data indicates that holiday celebrations will also shift from face-to-face to online. A new Engine study from RICOH THETA of 1,004 American consumers showed that while 42% of Americans are still optimistic for in-person gatherings this season, more than half of respondents (58%) will be celebrating the season in a non-traditional way.
Understanding that the holiday experience will look different this year, RICOH THETA aimed to uncover how imagery (photo and video) is being used to tell stories. The survey showed that the majority (60%) feel that photography falls short of being immersive enough to put them in the action. In addition, this need for eye-catching content is of the utmost importance to Millennials and Gen Z – 47% from each group surveyed believe that their images need to stand out from others.
With the desire for immersive, high-quality imagery on the rise, consider broadening your photography repertoire to techniques that give the full picture to capture this year’s holiday festivities. A few emerging technologies to explore:
Full-Perspective Video: To take it a step further, 360-degree cameras also record videos that put the viewer right in the action. Unlike regular cameras that only capture the view of the direction they’re pointed in, 360-degree cameras create spherical videos utilizing two or more lenses to document the view from every direction at the same time. During playback, viewers can control the viewing direction, allowing them to watch from any vantage point they’d like.
Immersive Imagery: 360-degree cameras allow the photographer to capture the entire environment around the camera with the single touch of a button – no need to take 15 individual photos to document an experience. 360-degree cameras also snap the ultimate selfie, capturing both the photographer and full scenery in one shot – something that’s difficult to achieve with a smartphone. While the resulting imagery looks highly impressive, capturing photos that stand out is easy and affordable. Many 360 cameras have the ability to connect to Wi-Fi for seamless transfer from the camera to your smartphone or computer for editing and social sharing.
And there are plenty of consumer-friendly models at approachable price points, making it possible to add a 360-degree camera to your arsenal for a minimal investment. Imagine being able to capture the entire family around the holiday dinner table or catching everyone’s reaction as the kids open gifts under the tree in one click. User-friendly editing tools allow you to create cool effects and animations that allow the viewer to become immersed in the picture – almost as if they were there.
Virtual Reality: While still in its early stages of adoption, VR can unite family and friends beyond a 2D screen with the ability to explore images and video in a first-person setting. Capturing holiday festivities with a 360-degree camera and sharing via VR equipment will make loved ones feel like they are right there with you. Beyond recorded imagery, VR-friendly families can immerse themselves in virtual chat rooms, of which many are free to use. While VR equipment like headsets and haptic sensors are typically pricier, it can open new doors in remote communication during the holidays.
No matter how your holiday celebrations look this year, I encourage you to explore more immersive photography and video methods to create memories you’ll be able to share with loved ones in the moment and look back on for years to come.