News: IPIX will take on QuickTime VR – Interactive Pictures’s IPIX Mac Wizard

News: IPIX will take on QuickTime VR – Interactive Pictures’s IPIX Mac Wizard – Product Announcement

Andrea Dudrow

Interactive Pictures Corp. brought spherical panoramas to the Mac with the introduction of IPIX Mac Wizard at this month’s Macworld Expo in New York.

Unlike Apple’s QuickTime VR Authoring Studio, which creates cylinder-shaped panoramas that end at a certain height, IPIX Wizard will create panoramas with a full 360-degree view that include elements such as ceilings and floors, the company said.

IPIX Wizard, previously available only for Windows, requires two photographs taken with a fisheye lens to create a panoramic image. Interactive Pictures said fisheye lenses measure 185 degrees, giving photographers 10 degrees of overlap and allowing them to capture images without using a tripod.

The IPIX Wizard will automatically stitch images together and correct perspective and color, the company said. The software will compensate for distortion. Users can also link panoramas together and import multimedia files.

The $349.95 software will be available at the end of July. Users must buy a $25 key for each panorama they save. A kit priced around $2,000 will include either Nikon Inc.’s Coolpix, Olympus America Inc.’s D-340L or D-320L, or Eastman Kodak Co.’s DC200 megapixel digital camera plus a fisheye lens, a tripod and 36 keys.

Interactive Pictures is also developing a Mac OS version of IPIX Builder, a professional-level authoring environment that is available for Windows. The Mac version should be delivered later this year, the company said.

The company is aiming IPIX at QuickTime VR applications. “QuickTime VR … has not taken off in the professional area on the Web,” said Edmond Lewis, vice president of marketing at Interactive Pictures. “[IPIX Wizard] offers higher quality and an emotional feeling of going somewhere.”

David Palermo, Apple QuickTime applications product manager, said, “Our market is not craving [sphere-shaped panoramas] right now. You can convey a sense of place without looking at the sky or the floor.”

Ben Delaney, president of CyberEdge Information Services Inc., a Sausalito, Calif., interactive-media consulting firm, agreed: “The reason VR is cylindrical is because that’s what most people have and use – it doesn’t require special equipment,” he said. “Most people will still be using cylinders, and if a product is not QTVR-compatible, I don’t see where the market is.”

Another tool for creating VR panoramas, Reality Studio from Live Picture Inc., also creates cylindrical environments. The company in January announced that it will bring the authoring suite to the Mac (see 01.26.98, Page 1).

Interactive Pictures Corp. of Oak Ridge, Tenn., can be reached at (423) 482-3000 or (888) 909-4749; fax (423) 482-5447;; ncut cut:

It will also include a fisheye lens, a tripod and 36 keys.

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