Google Cardboard has evolved a lot since its inception and Google has made sure that it remains relevant through new apps and content. The search giant recently launched a new one app Google Cardboard Camera for Android smartphones that allows users to take photos using the VR features of Google Cardboard. Keep in mind that Google Cardboard Camera only works on Google Cardboard compatible devices, i.e. devices equipped with a magnetometer. Also, you don't need a Cardboard viewer to take VR photos, but you can simply use the Cardboard Camera app on your Android smartphone to capture VR images and view them later on a Cardboard viewer.
Before telling you how to capture VR photos, let's see what the difference between a normal Panorama camera app and Google Cardboard Camera:
Google Cardboard Camera vs Panorama
Google Cardboard Camera allows you to acquire panoramic images, so you will wonder what the difference is between an image taken with Google Cardboard Camera and a shot with a simple Panorama application. Unlike the usual panoramic photos, which are static, the Google Cardboard Camera captures images that have 3D attributes, depth and 360-degree sound . Photos taken with the Cardboard Camera app are also static but appear to animate once viewed through Google Cardboard. When viewed through the Google Cardboard viewer, distant things appear distant as nearby objects approach and you can look around to explore in the photo.
How to take and view VR images
Capturing an image via Google Cardboard Camera as easy as it gets. If you've taken a panoramic photo in the past, you will feel right at home with this app. The only difference here is that you will have to capture the entire 360 degrees of view. Just press the mobile capture button on the app home page to get to the viewfinder. So, you will find three buttons, a capture button, a stop button and a button that enables / disables the sound acquisition.
To start taking a VR image, press the capture button and keep moving slowly and steadily to the right until you reach the 360 degree point. Once you are done, the app will then stitch these images to create a virtual reality friendly panorama. Once again, It is not necessary to wear the Cardboard viewer while taking the photo, but only necessary when viewing.
To view the image captured in the Google Cardoard viewer, open the Cardboard Camera on your smartphone and insert it into the viewer compartment. Selecting an image in the viewer is easy, as all you have to do is move your head to scroll through the various images. To select an image, aim and press the magnet button on the viewer. Then you will see the image in an immersive experience together with the sound.
If you think about it, the Google Cardboard Camera app can prove useful in many situations. For example, you want to revisit a beautiful place where you went, VR photos can allow you to do it. You want to show your new apartment to your parents, show them a VR photo to get the feel of it. Are you looking to sell your property? Show buyers a VR photo of a 360 degree view.
What is missing
With the Google Cardboard Camera app, Google reiterates the fact that they want to make sure that virtual reality reaches the masses. Although Google Cardboard Camera is a fantastic new app, it has its limitations. First, very few options such as the ability to pause the exposure along with the sound recording settings. There is also no sharing function, so if you want to show a VR photo you have taken, you will have to show it on your phone. We expect Google to introduce more features, as Google Cardboard is gaining in importance.
All ready to try VR photos?
There are some very innovative Google Cartboard apps and games, but Google Cardboard Camera is the first app that allows you to capture your VR photos. The good thing about the app is that it works like a spell and capturing a VR photo and displaying it on the Google Cardboard viewer is as easy as it gets. So, try it and let us know how you feel.