Step Into the Cavernous C-17 With the RAF’s Latest 360 Video

RAF Police

It’s been a while since VRFocus featured any 360-degree videos so here’s a new one that looked interesting. Created by the RAF Media Reserves for the RAF Police, it’s a chance to get up close to the RAF’s aircraft and assets for those who love aircraft or want to learn a bit more about the UK’s Royal Air Force.

RAF Police
Image credit: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

Recorded using Insta360’s Pro 2 and One R 360 cameras, the immersive experience takes viewers through several scenes starting with the cargo hold of a C-17. From there they can step into other areas only RAF personnel are allowed, like a hanger housing an A400M – with a dramatic viewpoint under the propellers.

As the video was created for the RAF Police, Flight Sergeant Neil ‘Josie’ Wales presents the entire experience, giving viewers a little bit of history alongside the various aspects of the job. These can range from routine criminal inquiries and large investigations to counterintelligence.

“We were acutely aware of the need for an initial ‘wow!’ factor, so we set our first scene in the cavernous empty hold of an RAF C-17 transport aircraft. As RAF reservists, we’d both experienced a sense of awe the first time we walked up the ramp into the belly of one of these beasts,” explains director Squadron Leader Tony Newton in a statement.

RAF Police
Image credit: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

“Our vision was to create an experience where the viewer is fully immersed in scenes that they wouldn’t normally have access to – standing directly underneath a landing C-130 Hercules or at the centre of a road traffic incident at night,” says Flight Lieutenant Paul Gale, the team’s director of photography and 360 expert.

In the two videos below you can watch the full 360-degree RAF Police experience and the behind-the-scenes footage. Or grab your Oculus Quest, Rift or Go headset to watch it in VR. For all the latest VR news, keep reading VRFocus.

Filmmaker Phillip Bloom Puts Insta360 Pro 2 to the Test in London

Chinese camera manufacturer Insta360 has devices to cover almost every eventuality and budget, from compact handheld consumer cameras like the diminutive Insta360 One all the way up to the colossal £15k GBP Insta360 Titan which can shoot at 11k resolution. For those filmmakers who don’t want the excess of the latter and need more than the former, there’s the Insta360 Pro 2, which professional videographer Phillip Bloom took around London, UK, offering some hand tips for budding 360-degree users.

Insta360 Pro 2

Insta360 Pro 2 arrived in 2018 offering 8k resolution from its six F2.4 fisheye lenses, capable of shooting 8K 3D at 30fps, 8K monoscopic at 60fps, 6K at 60fps or 4K 3D at 120fps. Other features include a live monitoring system allowing for low-latency remote monitoring, ideal for when you need to record a scene without actually being in it – rather tricky when shooting 360 videos.

It’s these techniques and problems Bloom addresses in his video, noting how 360 content needs to be recorded in high resolutions like 8k so that it looks good in virtual reality (VR) headsets after processing. It’s not just about 360 either, he records a 180-degree sequence whilst walking across Millenium Bridge.

On the topic of not appearing in your own video Bloom has several suggestions. There is Insta360’s Farsight remote viewing system which works up to 300m away but as he notes, in the middle of a city leaving such expensive hardware on its own may not be safe. On a bridge this can be tricky, so as long as there’s a crowd simply blend in.

Insta360 Pro 2

VRFocus’ video producer Oliver Townsend had a chance to play with the Insta360 Pro 2 recently, finding that: “The Insta360 was very simple to set up and featured helpful guides to assist the whole process. The stitching software was easy to locate and download. As someone with no previous experience in filming in 360 or stitching video or images together, it was overall very easy to work with.”

Check out the full London Showcase video below – or some of Insta360’s other YouTube videos – and for further updates from Insta360 on its latest camera developments keep reading VRFocus.

Top Gear Goes 360 Putting Fans Into Stunt Cars

BBC motoring show Top Gear was one of the best-known TV programmes in the world, thanks to audacious road trips and massive stunts. Fans of the show will now be able to enjoy three new pieces of content, all filmed in 360-degrees, putting them in the driver’s seat for some outlandish stunts.

Top Gear Jumps

This is Top Gear doing what it does best, taking cars and doing some insane stunts, just this time you’re the driver. Over on the Top Gear YouTube channel, you’ll find the first of three 360 films covering several death-defying stunts. To start things off, the first film treats the viewer like one of the cast, relaxing in a trailer. A member of the Top Gear production team then escorts them to a buggy which drives around the stunt they’re about to face.

For the first stunt, the viewer is strapping themselves into a petrol tanker and jumping a petrol station (normal everyday stuff). Naturally, this being Top Gear things don’t go as smoothly as possible.

The next two 360 films will be released episodically, with the second jumping over a mini-music festival in an old, underpowered campervan, while the third film sees old Star in a Reasonably Priced Car motor, the Kia C’eed, taking on a jump over a supermarket carpark into the last parking space. The series will conclude with a behind-the-scenes video revealing how the films were made.

Top Gear Jumps

“We wanted to create entertaining content for our YouTube channel that took fans behind the scenes of a Top Gear stunt.  And by producing this content in 360 we were able to ‘virtually’ put viewers right there in the driving seat of three enormously inappropriate stunt vehicles, something we’ve never done before. The results, as you will see, are smashing!,” says Duncan Gray, Commercial Director, Top Gear in a statement.

Created by Top Gear in collaboration with REWIND (Curfew: Join the Race, Ghost in the Shell VR) you can check out the video below or watch with a compatible headset like Oculus Quest using the YouTube VR app. As more of the films are released VRFocus will keep you updated on their release.

Life In 360°: Last Lap

So, here we are at the end of what can only be described as an ‘interesting’ week here on VRFocus. There’s not much I can say at this poing other than this is the penultimate Life In 360°. Unless something changes rather drastically.  Which, frankly, would be nice right about now.

Life In 360° / 360 Degree VideoNext Monday is the last Li360 but that’s been in the bag for a little while since it was something I’d actually written long in advance for the Christmas period. That leaves this last slot. Now, a while back we went through the Formula E archive of 360 degree videos as a way of, well…  delaying us before we caught back up with everything that Formula 1 had put out. But since our time is up on this series let’s do just that today and fulfil my vow from a couple of months back.

Since the last time we checked in was at the beginning of July we actually need to go through everything that has happened since the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix.

Onboard With Bottas At Paul Ricard (360 Video) | French Grand Prix

“Not familiar with Circuit Paul Ricard? Join Valtteri Bottas for a few onboard laps from a 2017 Pirelli tyre test and get acquainted with the venue in good time!”

Hamilton’s Pole Lap at Paul Ricard (360 Video) | 2018 French Grand Prix

“Lewis Hamilton became the first man to take pole at a French Grand Prix in ten years on Saturday – jump onboard for a 360 view of the lap that got him there.”

2018 Austrian Grand Prix | Valtteri Bottas’s Pole Lap (360 Video)

“After a glorious qualifying battle, ride onboard with Valtteri Bottas for a glorious lap – a new Spielberg record, and good enough to edge out Lewis Hamilton by just 0.019s…”

Sainz and Grosjean’s Wipeout at Silverstone (360 Video) | 2018 British Grand Prix

“There are two sides to the story – and now 360 angles from which to see it! Take a fresh look at the dramatic collision that brought out the Safety Car at Silverstone.”

Lewis Hamilton Hits Trouble In Qualifying (360 video) | 2018 German Grand Prix

“Get a unique, all-angles view of Lewis Hamilton as he battles with his Mercedes car during qualifying at the Hockenheimring.”

F1 Miami Festival: Renault Live Car Run! (360 video)

“Miami hosted the final F1 Festival of 2018 over the weekend of the US Grand Prix. Jump onboard with Renault as they tear up Biscayne Boulevard!”

And that’s us all up to date! Look out for update throughout today and the weekend and Life In 360° will be back for the final time on Monday.


It’s Here Today: Integrating Virtual Reality Into Business

Virtual reality (VR) is not far out in the future – it is now. VR is being used across all industries in many ways and is helping businesses grow. No matter how big or small the company, virtual reality can benefit operations, sales and marketing, planning, design, and much more. And today more than ever, VR is approachable and can be integrated into workflows without significant cost.

Whether you are a professional American football player or a driver for UPS, companies worldwide are using virtual reality for job training. Also, colleges like the Texas A&M University (a Concept3D client for full disclosure) are using virtual campus tours to highlight their campus and give hopefully future students a powerful and memorable idea about what the campus and school culture are all about. These are but a few ways that virtual reality can be used in business. Below I dive into more detail on various business applications of VR and immersive experiences.

Big Data Visualisation

In its raw form, big data can be incredibly difficult to understand and work with. Companies across the globe are struggling with a massive influx of data, data that is imperative for many businesses to thrive and grow. And while spreadsheets, pie charts and bar graphs will always play a role in making sense of data, it only scratches the surface of its meaning. Businesses are always looking for new ways to interpret big data, and VR has the potential to change the big data game.

Visualising data is a new frontier, and VR – while not necessary for visualising the data – can take it to a whole level. VR makes data more interactive, as employees can move through it, see what they want to see and how changes would reflect on physical and digital twins (twinning). The digital twinning approach is incredibly powerful, especially for companies that have massive inventory and physical asset to manage. Visualising data through VR also allows you to view large amounts of data at a glance, determining which is most relevant to the project. In short, VR can make understanding big data easier, faster, and more comprehensive – leading to better decision making.

Employee Communications & Training

VR and immersive platforms have the advantage of being able to communicate in multiple dimensions, and therefore make an ideal tool for employee communications and training. Think back to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books – training can be set up as a self-guided tour and become so realistic that employees can gain powerful knowledge of the inside of an engine, a below-ground facility, sites and instruments they may never actually touch. They can view the entirety of a site from a bird’s eye view, or dive down into a single interface.

Regardless of your industry, you should be considering how you can use VR for training and education. In preparation for 2017 Black Friday and the holiday season, Walmart uses VR simulations to train their employees. Because every situation can be accurately visualised and made real, your planning and decision-making within the company will improve.

Virtual Company Tours

Step one for anybody interested in your company is visiting your website. Using VR-ready virtual tours inspire them to learn more by exploring, take the next steps on their journey to take a deeper look at all your physical (or planned) locations have to offer.

Virtual tours can be as simple as a call-out of locations or a complete, immersive VR experience. Today, tours can easily be built in-house with off-the-shelf software, integrating 360-degree or standard images, and offering a fun and compelling way to showcase your location or locations. For example, Hotel Covington in Kentucky, has a virtual tour that explores all areas of their space, so future guests can know what to expect upon check-in.

Integrating a virtual tour into your business is a simple yet powerful way to gain brand and company awareness by bring audiences around the world right to your location with the click of a button.

Human Resources and Recruiting

What is it like to work at your organisation? VR can help attract the right employees for your company with unique experiences that show how your company operates, what it’s like to work there, and (using 3D virtual tours) the physical location and offices where employees would work.

Virtual tours can help future talent to better understand your company’s ethos and work culture and as a result help your business to stand out among other companies. INDUSTRY, a creative workspace in Denver, CO, has a VR tour of their office spaces in order to attract the right potential business and employees to use the space.

Marketing and Sales

Say goodbye to static 2D presentations and hello to immersive 3D materials that will help your business grow. For example, are you pitching a pre-production product? Create a 360° tour of the product where clients or employees will be able not only visualise, but better understand your company mission.

Another example is at the Pack Expo Trade Show, Key Technology, a manufacturer and designer of food processing systems, created a VR demo that allowed attendees to experience a detailed, hands-on look at how the company’s VERYX digital food sorting platform works. By using VR within your marketing and sales strategy you will eliminate doubt, and become one step closer to a lasting business relationship.


Immersive technology is also redefining the design space. From creating the layout of a mass retail store, to wedding planning, or interior design of a celebrity client – VR makes sketches come to life. Event planning and room design can be visualised and seen far before anyone starts setting up tables and chairs.

For example, do you want to make sure that your brand-new product looks great in a major retailer? VR can help you plan out exactly what your point-of-purchase (POP) should look like and how it should be set up. Don’t leave your POP design in the old ways when virtual reality can take it to the next level.

Building Design and ArchitectureVR is the here and now. Companies across the world are integrating this technology into the daily operations of their companies, from employee training to visualising big data.

The State of Virtual Reality in Cambodia

When people think of Cambodia, they don’t tend to consider virtual reality (VR) or even emerging technologies of any kind. It is a country often reduced to a few years of its modern history, temples and the many stereotypes usually associated with emerging countries. However, there is much more to the Kingdom of Wonder including a growing community of tech enthusiast, entrepreneurs and, a generation eager to push their country forward.

Banteay Chhmar
Banteay Chhmar, a 12th century Angkorian temple in Cambodia.

My company Aniwaa, a tech media startup, is based in Phnom Penh so when we saw VRFocus published a 360° video of Banteay Chhmar Temple in Cambodia, we felt we had to reach out. Aniwaa is specialised in developing comparison engines and decision-making tools for emerging technology. We recently launched a comparison engine dedicated to VR, augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) headsets, and much like we did for 3D printing, we hope to help the adoption of this exciting tech around the world, sharing its impact along the way.

NGOs embrace virtual reality

Golden West Humanitarian Foundation

Cambodia is a country rife with non-governmental organizations (NGO). Among them, two stand out for their use of VR. The first is Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, an American NGO that works with CMAC, the Cambodian Mine Action Centre. GWHF’s mission is “to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of men, women, and children residing in areas contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordnance through the development of innovative and practical materials and technologies designed to combat these life-threatening munitions.

GWHF is developing VR experiences and programs to assist specialists in charge of removing explosives from the Cambodian countryside. Developed in Phnom Penh and still in beta, these programs have attracted attention worldwide according to Allen Dodgson Tan, the NGO’s director of applied technology. This will help not only Cambodia create a safer future but also other countries face similar issues.

Cambodian Living Arts

Another NGO, Cambodian Living Arts, has also embraced VR technology. The organization has taken to filming and recording Cambodian artists, masters and traditional dances in order to preserve and share them with Cambodians and the world. They hope this will help young Cambodians.

“We are still experimenting with this technology but the first results have been very promising. It is allowing us to capture cultural experiences, such as traditional dances and music, within their performative context, making them richer and more accurate.” shares Kai T. Brennert, Institutional Partnerships Coordinator at Cambodian Living Arts. “360 degree cameras are also less intrusive than their 2D counterparts so that the performers are not distracted or stressed by the camera.”

Cambodian Living Arts
SVAY Sanuch setting up a 360 camera to film an event with The Khmer Magic Music Bus in Oddar Meanchey province in northwestern Cambodia. [Photo by THON Dika.]

VR startups and initiatives in Cambodia

VR in education

Virtual Reality Cambodia

Aniwaa is not the only startup working with VR in Cambodia. Virtual Reality Cambodia is a business startup providing a full range of immersive tech hardware, systems, and development solutions. It is leading the way in Cambodia in getting people excited about immersive technologies like AR/VR and mixed reality, and how it can be used in transformative ways to improve their lives.

Saraboth Ea, VR Cambodia’s founder and CEO, has been visiting local schools, armed with an Oculus Go, to provide demos of educational content and show the technologies potential. His work caught the attention of Facebook, which selected him to be the Facebook Community Leadership Program (FCLP).

Virtual Reality Cambodia

As part of the program, he will be working over the next year to build upon the initiative and give access to new models of learning in VR and other immersive technologies, available for students and teachers here in Cambodia. “We plan to also provide them the tools and resources to also become creators of their own content” comments Saraboth Ea. “If students in one part of the world can be connected in positive ways with students in another part of the world using immersive technology, imagine the challenges they can overcome by learning and working collaboratively.

Liger Leadership Academy

Liger Leadership Academy (LLA) aims to “develop socially conscious, entrepreneurial leaders of tomorrow” in Cambodia. Eager to ensure today’s youth in Cambodia has all the tools it needs for a better future, LLA has integrated VR to parts of its curriculum. The result is projects like this one, led by the likes of 15-year-old Rathanak Sovann.

Liger Leadership Academy (LLA)VR in real estate

Real estate is a fascinating industry when it comes to emerging technologies. It makes use of drones, 3D printers, and virtual reality. LASTMILE WORKS, based in Phnom Penh, focuses on developing VR solutions for the booming real estate sector in Cambodia. They develop and manage VR services for real estate agents as well as construction, and renovation companies, in Cambodia and abroad.

VR technologies will not solve all of Cambodia’s problems but it has the potential to play an important part in the country’s development. For now though, the high cost of entry is an important obstacle slowing adoption. However, market trends are encouraging and headsets are becoming more and more affordable, helping democratise the tech where it is most needed and be the most impactful.

Whether it is the bombs and anti-personnel mines scattered across the country following decades of war or the generations that were lost to the intellectual follies of the 20th century, history has scarred this country. While technology may not be able to heal all of these wounds and bring back what has been lost, it can at least help preserve what has managed to survive against all odds and, hopefully, help it grow.  And, from the looks of it, VR will play its part.

Life In 360°: “They Say Of The Acropolis, Where The Parthenon Is”

Today on Li360 there’s a sense of history in the air… Or rather, we’re flying above it. We’re once again enjoying the company of the BBC’s 360 degree team who are continuing their look at historic buildings.

This time however the team have moved out of London, and the gems hidden behind closed doors to Athens. Capital of Greece and home to a remarkable number of locations showing the wonder and splendour of the country’s ancient heyday. A time of gods and monsters, legends and heroes. Ancient Greece has fascinated me ever since I first studied it briefly as part of my late primary school history class before it was taken slightly more seriously in secondary school as we really sunk our teeth into the stories behind the myths.

Life In 360° / 360 Degree VideoThere is perhaps one building that symbolises both the city and the time more than any other – the famed Acropolis of Athens and more specifically the Parthenon.  A white marble temple, it was dedicated to worship of Athena who was also known as Athene and would later become the Roman goddess Minerva when the pantheon was ‘adopted’ so to speak. Commonly symbolised by an owl, Athena was goddess of many spheres of influence most notably wisdom and war. But specifically, also courage, strategy and strategic warfare, as well as inspiration, civilisation, law and/or justice, mathematics, strength, arts and crafts and also skill.

The Parthenon itself is actually newer (if you can really call a period BC as ‘new’) than the other buildings around it, built after the other buildings were damaged in a raid by the Persians. I’ll let the BBC tell you more.

“Fly above the Acropolis – a sacred hill in the heart of Athens with the Parthenon on its peak. Beside it is a smaller temple known as the Erechtheion. It’s named after Erechtheus, a mythical king of Athens. The ancients believed that the Gods Athena and Poseidon once walked here.

Step inside and you can find out how it was specially designed to preserve the sacred mythology of Athens. The Erechtheion is an enduring monument to the ancient history of this extraordinary city.”

You can watch the video below. We’ll be back on Friday with another Life In 360° at the usual time here on VRFocus.

Life In 360°: The Process Of Courting Fashion

Hello one and all, and a hello again from myself, as I’ve been away for a little while resulting in other folks taking over for a few days.  Welcome back to another edition of Life In 360° here on VRFocus where we begin Friday’s coverage of all things immersive by checking back in with the folks at Koncept VR. As you no doubt know, Koncept VR are one of those immersive technology companies that are always busy. New partners. New projects. New things to see. In fact, I’m hoping we’ll be hosting a guest piece of theirs somewhere down the line about just how they do it all, but that’s hopefully one for the future.

Life In 360° / 360 Degree VideoTheir most recent partnership with GQ took them onto the basketball court to film some 360 degree action with Philadelphia 76ers No. 21 Joel Embiid as part of a new campaign. The Cameroonian Centre has been making waves in Philadelphia since he was drafted there as the third pick overall in the 2014 NBA Draft – even making the 2018 NBA All-Stars.

I’ll leave it to Koncept themselves to give you the rundown on what you’re about to see: “In conjunction with GQ’s first ever digital cover, Koncept VR went behind-the-scenes of the Philly photo shoot to capture NBA star Joel Embiid in 360° action. The resulting video allows the viewer to get up close and personal with ‘The Process’ as he shoots, scores, and hangs loose with his selfie-snapping fans.”

You can see the video below, but you can also read the article on the GQ website where Embiid goes into his childhood, hopes, aspirations and talks about life on the court. You can do that here. Li360 is back on Monday at the usual time with a video about Greenland. I’ll see you then.


Life In 360°: Living Thai Dream

We’ve had a glorious summer here in the UK, plenty of sunshine and clear blue skies. So it makes the onset of winter that little bit harder now the clocks have gone backwards, with the nights drawing in and the temperatures beginning to drop. So what better to start Wednesday morning with an immersive video of the beautiful shores of Thailand.

Life In 360° / 360 Degree Video

Thanks to the production skills of Amsterdam-based virtual reality (VR) production studio VR Gorilla, we follow Daan and his girlfriend Elske on a guided tour through the most popular islands of Thailand: Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.

Showcasing sunkissed beaches, accommodation with sea views, majestic landscapes and more, it’s the sort of video that’ll make you look at your bank balance to see if you can afford the flight, instantly looking like the paradise Thailand is often sold as.

The 360-degree video was made as part of a series discovering Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, all recorded in glorious 6k resolution to look as good as possible – almost as if you were there.

Looking To Deal With The Fear of MRI Scans, The NHS Have Turned To VR

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans provide minimal risk to children, according to all the research which has been done into the procedure so far, but the benefits for a person’s health are huge. MRI scans are an essential part of diagnosing and treating a range of conditions. However, young children are often terrified and traumatised by the procedure and refuse to go into the MRI machine. In order to lower this fear, a new virtual reality (VR) app has been created in the UK. Its aim is to help NHS workers to manage the fears of young children who require medical treatment.

Doctor/Medicine/HealthEssentially existing as dark, narrow tunnels, MRI scanners can trigger claustrophobia in young children. There is no pain involved, but the whole process can be unnerving. Students have previously used VR to treat anxiety and depression, so it is thought that the technology could help with medical procedures as well.

 Many children reveal feelings of anxiety when visiting a hospital, GP surgery or dentist. However, the new VR app by Jonathan Ashmore is focused purely on MRI. He notes that “if the child is scared beforehand, then by the time they get to the scanner it’s too late to prepare them for the ordeal and make them feel comfortable”.

Ashmore has created the new MRI VR app along with NHS healthcare experts and a play specialist. He reports in the Guardian that: “The app utilises 360-degree videos from within an MRI scanner. It’s free and allows children to experience their upcoming scan in virtual reality, helping them to understand and prepare for what is often a difficult and scary experience”. In the way that printer technology was revolutionised by 3D printing, VR is set to introduce excitement to medical procedures, which will appeal to both kids and their concerned parents. Early test results seem to show that children absolutely love the technology.

MRI Scanners It also has a calming effect on parents. Consider an 18 year old leaving home for college. When the teen feels relaxed and confident, it is often easier for the parents to cope with the change. When a child is nervous, their parents feel nervous too. By putting medical procedures in the form of a VR game, children see it as something fun, even exciting, which also helps their caregivers to relax.

MRI scans are just the start for the life changing benefits of VR technology. It could help with any number of phobias and mental conditions, by using the gradual exposure technique. People of any age could face their fears by doing so in a virtual world first. This helps a person to associate their phobia with something fun and harmless, so that they are less scared when they need to face it in reality. For both adults and children, this could have a profound effect.

The uses of VR are almost endless. They allow work meetings without getting out of bed, property viewings from the other side of the world and now a way for children to overcome their fear of MRI scans. This medical app could be a revolutionary new way of treating phobias. This is set to reduce fear for kids who need surgery, but could one day help any person living with anxiety or depression.

You can find a video explaining how it works below.