Samsung is outfitting 50 Reuters photojournalists across 25 countries with its new Gear 360 cameras in a new global initiative to drive 360-degree journalism, Digital Trends has learned.
The cameras and new content will fuel Focus 360 – Reuters’ new virtual reality and 360-degree video and photography worldwide news portal, which launches online and on Android August 2 and on iOS August 5, the company told us. Users of newer Samsung Galaxy phones, including the S6 and S7, will also be able to watch Focus 360 content on the Samsung Gear VR headset. The news was part of an official business partnership announced Thursday.
“Our agreement with Samsung allows us to enhance our visual journalism and provide a more absorbing experience for our viewers,” Stephen Adler, Reuters Editor-in-Chief and President, said in a statement. He added that VR and 360-degree content will help viewers gain a new perspective and better understanding of the context of a news story.
The eye-shaped Samsung Gear 360 uses both front- and rear-facing cameras to record seamless, 360-degree videos and photos. Each lens sees a full 180-degrees horizontally and vertically, creating a truly spherical field of view when combined. Videos are recorded at 3,840 × 1,920 resolution, while still photos are captured at roughly 26 megapixels.
The camera is intended to be taken nearly anywhere and is certified IP53 for dust and splash proofing, making it a good choice for photojournalists in the field.
Naturally, the Gear 360 plays nicely with other Samsung products. Galaxy phone users can control the camera remotely and even stitch and edit 360-degree videos right from their phones. Videos can be played back through a VR headset or online through YouTube in supported browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
The Reuters journalists will be among the very first people to use the Gear 360. While Samsung has sold the camera in limited numbers at a few events, it still isn’t available to the general public.