When it comes to stock images Getty is as big as it gets. Now the company wants to make the same true of 360 degree content.
To that end, Getty has this week announced the formation of a brand new VR division rather elaborately named The Getty Images Virtual Reality Group. The team offers over 12,000 “premium 360 images” from the off, capturing important events and scenes. For example, the company will be heading to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with a 360 camera so that others can purchase their images for use. Each of Getty’s photographers working the event in August will be armed with such a camera, providing panoramic views of a wide range of games.
You can see some of the company’s 360 degree work on a new site dedicated to the group. It goes beyond just static photos, also offering 360 degree video (in the given example powered by Visualise) and its high resolution ‘gigapixel’ images that don’t offer a full 360 degree view but boast much higher clarity for what is captured. You could see how someone with an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive might read about an event and then pull on their HMD to get a taste of being there, for example.
This isn’t the start of the Getty VR story, though, as it’s actually been going for some time. The company started capturing 360 degree images in 2012, hence why there’s so many of them right now. Just under a year ago now it brought many of those images to VR for the first time when it launched 360° View by Getty Images for Oculus, which is available through the Oculus 360 Photo app on both the Gear VR and Rift. It also has a partnership with Google, supplying 360 content for its Google Expeditions education initiative.
Will Getty prove to be as dominant in VR as it is with traditional photography? Other well established content platforms such as YouTube are being poised to take over the VR scene, so it’s quite possible.