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360 Video Creator Voices: AirPano | Blend Media

Julianne Rooney / a year ago

In this episode of 360 Video Creator Voices we interviewed Blend creator and new partners, AirPano. AirPano are based in Russia and specialise in high-resolution, 360-degree aerial footage.

Find out more about the partnership here.

Watch the 360 video below for a quick taste of what AirPano have to offer.

Email us at hello@blend.media to license any of the clips above.

What is the 360 VR scene like in Russia?

VR in Russia is moving in a new direction; it’s growing quite fast compared to last year. VR exhibitions, VR cinema, VR conferences - all of these took place in Russia last year.

How do you approach capturing aerial shots? What are the challenges?  What tools do you use?

In 2006, we learned how to take spherical panorama shots on land. In those years, this was not an easy task: it required a special panoramic tripod head, a sufficiently deep knowledge of shooting panoramas, and it demanded a lot of manual work. At that time, we also had a lot of experience in photography from helicopters and airplanes, and suddenly Oleg Gaponyuk, the founder of the AirPano project, had an idea: why not break all of the existing rules of taking panorama shots on land, and try to do it in the air?

With that in mind, we needed to figure out how to take a spherical shot in the sky. It seemed like an impossible task using a high-precision panorama head, because the helicopter can shift it by many meters while shooting, due to the wind blowing. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, we finally figured it out, and the result exceeded all of our expectations. The effect was stunning, and the viewer felt like they were sitting in the helicopter and seeing the surrounding landscape with their own eyes!

"We wanted to share with the audience fantastic, awesome, incredible impressions, inaccessible to most people"

When we realised what a stunning impression these aerial panoramas had on viewers, we decided to embark on a project called “100 places on the planet, which you should see from a bird's-eye view”. We wanted to share with the audience fantastic, awesome, incredible impressions, inaccessible to most people. After we shot 100 places, we didn't stop there; we continued to shoot many more places around the globe. This is how our project was born. Now on our website you can find panoramas of over 300 places from around the globe - from the North Pole to Antarctica. Several years ago we started creating 360 video too.

"360 photo and 360 video formats allow viewers to take complete control of the angle of view; they are able to hone in on the details that are most interesting to them"

Aerial views of some popular travel destinations are very different to more traditional ways of filming. Aerial views spark more emotion and show the place from another perspective. Most of the places that we shoot aren’t accessible to usual travellers. Children and those with disabilities don’t have a chance to visit these places. Therefore, shooting in this way opens up new opportunities to everyone. 360 photo and 360 video formats allow viewers to take complete control of the angle of view; they are able to hone in on the details that are most interesting to them.

We have received many kind comments in the past. Some people like to see places which they are unlikely to ever see in their lifetime. Some people are happy to virtually return to places where they have had pleasant memories, such as a special engagement, honeymoon, and childhood locations.

Email us at hello@blend.media to license the video above.

Who has AirPano worked with in the past?

In 2012 AirPano project won "RuNet Awards 2012" contest. In 2013 we received a grant from Russian Geographic Society (RGO) for further development of the project. Russian President V. V. Putin personally presented the grant to our colleague Sergey Semenov. AirPano photographs and panoramas were published in "National Geographic", "GEO", "Der Spiegel", "Daily Mail", and many other publications on multiple occasions. Our 360 videos have been used by many different companies, LG, Apple, Facebook, Huawei, National Geographic and others.

What has been your favourite place to shoot?

Maybe Venezuela with its famous Angel falls and Canaima National park. It is still an incredible wild place with amazing flora and fauna.

Check out one of AirPano's 360 video shots of Angel Falls below:

Email us at hello@blend.media to license the video above.

What shoot have you learned the most from?

It's hard to choose just one shoot specifically. Almost every member of our team is a landscape photographer so we pay a lot of attention to our environment. It is very unfortunate that people are destroying world heritage sites and there is sadly a reduction in wild nature every year. For example, coral reefs in South Maldives are almost dead because of a rise in our planet's temperature. For the last three years the underwater life there has changed dramatically, and not in a good way. Today it’s getting almost impossible to find ice on the North Pole. It’s hard to believe, but in the last three years, the North pole's waters are clear with now very few Icebergs. It has a hugely negative impact on the wildlife in these regions. In order to show the beauty of planet, we have to keep it alive!