The Dutch company's video system mainly distinguishes itself by its simplicity and ease of use. The recording and broadcasting of video images require the user to only take a few steps. "In fact, all you have to do is connect an internet cable to the device and to an internet connection and you are ready to record and broadcast straight away," according to Marc Groothelm, Managing Director of Surround Video.
Part of the recording system is a special camera with six separate lenses: five in a horizontal circle and one pointed upwards. The signals of those lenses are sent to a so-called "base unit", a processing device with a touch screen which processes the separate video images to one seamless whole and transmits it to an online distribution platform. From there the images can be distributed online.
The result is a panoramic video, which is shown inside a virtual sphere. In this sphere, viewers can decide for themselves, where they want to look, by using a mouse, a touch screen or the gyroscope in their smart phone or tablet. The Groningen company's technique most closely resembles that of Google Streetview, the most important difference being that Surround Video involves panoramic video instead of stills.
"Many producers of TV shows or other forms of video have difficulties providing compelling, additional content online. With panoramic videos they would be able to offer their viewers much more complementary information on already successful 'traditional' formats through their online channels – both live and on demand – about recording locations, storylines or actors. With Surround Video they can fully leverage all interactive functionalities the Internet has to offer," explains Groothelm.
Statistics show that panoramic video material is catching on. People watch panoramic video images three times over on average; a huge difference compared to online traditional video materials.
Moreover, thanks to the simplicity of the Surround Video system, video producers do not or hardly have to change anything in the way they work. "Our system fits into the existing work flows", according to Groothelm.