Tech Company in Olean Specializes in 360-Degree Video Content Creation
By Daniel Meyer
Despite only being in business for a little over a year, an Olean-based company that specializes in state-of-the-art 360-degree video technology is making a name for itself internationally.
360Heros, Inc. specializes in what they call “video solutions” that help record fully spherical interactive video thanks to an innovative product line that makes it possible to capture 360-degree immersive video footage from the air, underwater and virtually anywhere else you can imagine.
Founded by Michael Kintner, 360Heros has patent-pending video equipment that uses flexible aircraft grade, 3-D printed nylon that serves as a mount for specialized cameras that can record a full 360-by-180 degree field of view. The files from each camera are then loaded into the company’s file management software program and are converted into an interactive, fully spherical video experience.
The equipment used by 360Heros is used to shoot 360-degree music videos, film aquatic habitats, capture aerial video through the use of drones and create interactive tours. In the words of Kintner, who serves as the company’s chief executive officer, the possibilities are endless.
“Our philosophy is essentially what I have always tried to do, which is break the barrier and strive to accomplish something that no one else has ever done before,” said Kintner. “We take on tremendous challenges every single day to advance what is already out there and improve upon it.”
The creation of the 360Heros line of products originated from Kintner’s aerial photography company called AmazingAerialPhotos.com. Kintner’s use of helium blimps led to him rigging a remote control assembly on the bottom of a blimp that allowed him to rotate a camera, snap some photographs, rotate the camera again and snap more photographs so that spherical photo compilations could be captured. Following a very time-consuming process and plenty of trial and error, Kintner was able to advance his experiments and create eight different model types for filming a variety of different sequences, including underwater image capturing.
Speaking of the underwater 360-degree videos, that is a specific type of filming that Kintner is extremely passionate about.
“When I look back at developing the field-of-view underwater technology, that really was kind of an obsession that was based on a hobby of mine,” explained Kintner. “I was determined to make it happen and basically did not rest with experimenting with it until I had it mastered. But for me, that type of experimenting is really fun and quite exciting, so while some may view it as hard work and tedious, which it can be, I always welcomed the challenge.”
The accomplishments of 360Heros are quite impressive, including the shooting of the first-ever 360-degree video from the top of Mount Everest, a project which resulted in the awarding of a Guinness Book of World Records certificate.
“As I said before, the type of work we do when we are experimenting is really fun, so when you receive a Guinness Book of Worlds Records award for doing it, something that we never even really thought of or expected, that’s an added bonus and something that is really exciting,” said Kintner.
The company is growing and Kintner expects further expansion in the near future, with the five full-time employees in Olean and another dozen or so specialists on his development and contractor team based all over the country to soon be joined by more colleagues in various new positions.
“We will be hiring more people soon, specifically those who have multi-media experience,” says Kintner. “As a native of Western New York, I want to find employees from this area whenever possible. That’s why I am working with local colleges like Saint Bonaventure University and Jamestown Community College to look into internships and how we can gain access to the young talent that exists here.”
In addition to all of the camera and film technology work, 360Heros also provides additional services that include mobile application development, video production services and video post-production services. The company’s list of clients and collaborators includes major corporations and household names such as NBC, The New York Times, Sony, Under Armour, National Geographic and IBM.
“This content is the future,” said Kintner. “We’re growing every single day. Some of our gear is being used on a regular basis in Hollywood, and it has gotten to the point where the demand for what we do is quite mind-boggling. We are a known brand internationally and I see nothing but significant progress in the future. My hope is to attract passionate, educated and enthusiastic people from Western New York who want to be innovative and creative and get involved with the exciting world of 360 video content creation.”