Students can now create their own virtual reality

Whitworth buys 360-degree camera for student use

Imagine going white water rafting on the Spokane River with a camera attached to your helmet so viewers will be able to come on an adventure with you. However, this is not just an ordinary camera that captures the sound and the image of the upcoming current. 

The 360Fly 4k model camera is able to record the wave that you passed, the trees on the left and the right sides of you and the blazing sun in the sky. This is what it would be like if the 360Fly 4k model was on your helmet during the duration of the adventure.

Instructional Technology & Media Services purchased the 360Fly 4K model which captures an image that is around and above the camera. Director of instructional resources Ken Pecka played a part in the purchase of the camera.

He likes the 360Fly 4K model because it gives the viewer more than one perspective to work with, as if the viewer was there. 

“It’s a pretty good option for students to capture footage with this camera,” Pecka said. “Viewing the video is more interactive because you can control the view instead of only having the one perspective.”

The camera can be controlled manually or it can be controlled by the 360Fly mobile app. The legs on the tripod can fold up and be used as a hand-held mount or the camera can be attached to a helmet and be used as a Go Pro. 

Senior David Wilder is one of the students using the camera. 

“The world of journalism is evolving,” Wilder said. “It used to be just print journalism or written journalism and now we’re evolving more into virtual reality and using different types of cameras.”

Wilder is currently working with a group to attach the camera to a drone to capture footage. Wilder is excited for the future ofthe camera. He thinks it could be cool to use during basketball games for promo videos. The camera will be able to capture what is happening on the court, in the crowd, and around the court, if placed properly in the fieldhouse, he said.

“Time will tell when they learn how to utilize it a little more,” Wilder said.

The students are learning how to use the camera at the same rate as associate professor of communication studies Kevin Grieves, the person who approached ITMS to get the camera. Judy Dehle, the ITMS manager, researched cameras that would best fit the needs of the journalism department. The camera is currently being used for Grieves’ advanced video and audio journalism class but will be available for Whitworth students to use, Grieves said.

“As a journalistic tool, it’s got some possibilities for putting your audience in an environment that they might not have been able to experience,” Grieves said. “Whenever new technology appears it has all kinds of different possibilities. _We’re not sure entirely what is doable.”

In the past year technology has expanded in terms of content with immersive 360-degree videos. 

Besides Grieves approaching ITMS, student interest was the driving process of getting the camera, he said. One inspiration to get the camera came from Grieves’ media ethics class when questioning the potential to manipulate the audience with only one perspective. 

Grieves enjoys integrating new technology and tools into classes so students know how to use the tools and technology and how to use it responsibly to not manipulate the viewer, he said.

The goal is to make the 360Fly 4K model available not just for the students in class but to have students check out the camera for extra-curricular activities.

“The more the students take initiative to try things out I think the more prepared they will be for future careers and gaining some of this experience already,” Grieves said. “The more the students can get their hands on this technology now to start experimenting with it and trying things out the more likely they will have a good comfort level with it. I’m just really interested in students to experiment with it because they will be the ones to go out in the media world to use these tools.”

To learn more contact Kevin Grieves at kgrieves@whitworth.edu to learn more.

Austriauna Brooks

Staff Writer

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