Getty Images to use VR cameras for Rio Olympics

Use of 360 devices will be standard for all of the agency's photographers covering the sporting events

Getty Images will equip its photographers with 360 cameras for the Rio Olympic Games as part of its efforts to create and distribute virtual reality (VR) content globally.

The agency has a full team of about 120 people on the ground in Rio, including photographers, technicians, editors and staff who will be working at the event. All photographers will each be equipped with VR equipment.

According to Getty, high-end 360 technology will be used with photographers' DSLR cameras, in addition to Ricoh and Samsung 360 cameras.

With the equipment, Getty will be able to produce imagery at the Games from a unique perspective, including the ability to, for example, rotate 360 degrees in any direction from one position for a fully submersed photo.

The technology is not exactly new to the company, which has announced the creation of a new business dedicated to VR content earlier this month.

Getty had tested the format back in 2012 with its partnership with the International Olympic Committee to become the Official Photographic Agency at the 2012 London Olympics, which resulted in a large collection of images available for Oculus Rift.

According to Getty's chief executive Dawn Airey, the VR format and business model are still incipient, but the democratization of technologies such as Samsung's Gear VR and Google Cardboard mean that it will soon become a key tool for visual storytelling.

"We are only on the cusp of what will be a tectonic plate shift in VR," Airey said.

In a separate project, the Tom Jobim international airport in Rio de Janeiro is also using virtual reality technology to give a preview of its new terminal ahead of the Summer Olympic Games.

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