UT students get close look at one of world’s most advanced cameras

A small group of students at the University of Texas at Austin got up-close with one of the most high-tech 3D cameras in the world that also shoots 360-degree video on Saturday, April 22, 2017. (KXAN/Paul Shelton)
A small group of students at the University of Texas at Austin got up-close with one of the most high-tech 3D cameras in the world that also shoots 360-degree video on Saturday, April 22, 2017. (KXAN/Paul Shelton)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Virtual reality and 3D cameras are the latest and greatest things in technology.

On Saturday, a small group of students at the University of Texas at Austin got up-close with one of the most high-tech 3D cameras in the world that also shoots 360-degree video.

It was part of a VR Workshop held by the UT3D Immersive Media Program at the university to help students learn the basics of VR in a single afternoon session.

As for the specialized camera featured in the session — only a handful of people know how to use it.

“There are only two people,” said UT3D immersive media instructor Deepak Chetty, who led the workshop.  “So, Simon Quiroz, who is one of the 3D gurus here at UT, and then a fellow company member of mine at a company called Digital Quilt, Josh Fritts. And he is the guy who actually designed the rig.”

Click and drag the video below by KXAN videojournalist Paul Shelton to view it in 360 degrees. (Story continues below video.)

Why only two?

“Because it’s a highly proprietary camera system that we built,” Chetty said. “We could definitely train more people, but today if we were to send it out, Simon and Josh would be the only two who understand to really put it together, and sort of the technical levels of complexity that go with the rig in and of itself.  Hopefully that number will increase as they start training some students and undergrads.”

During the event Saturday, students split into pairs with the 360 cameras and headsets to view their video while completing a short project.

“Some of the people that are taking my class will become the leaders, the industry leaders, the media leaders, the great thinkers of this technology because it is in its infancy right now,” Chetty said. “And really, this generation of people will be the ones that really help set up that language that we use going forward.”

Although technology is constantly evolving, Chetty said he believes 3D video will never replace two-dimensional video.

“I think everyone understands here this is never going to replace filmmaking,” he said. “This is its own thing and should be treated as such. Just like the idea that 3D is never going to replace 2D, it’s not like the difference between color and black and white. I think everything is still relevant. It’s up the filmmaker or media creator or the project lead to sort of decide what is the best tool to tell their story or give across the information that they want to give across.”

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