360-degree view of Olympics

Olympic virtual tours and coverage of athletes to be created using iPIX technology

Streaming 360-degree photos of athletes at the Olympic Games and virtual tours of the Olympic sites will help to convey the hype at Homebush and other games venues to sports fans around the world via the official Sydney 2000 site.

Local tours portal hyro.com -- the photographic producers -- will capture virtual tours and still frame images of the opening ceremony and fifteen different sporting events using iPIX (Internet Pictures Corporation) technology.

"It's the first interactive coverage of a sporting event of this magnitude," an iPIX spokesperson told ZDNet Australia.

Ten photographic teams, using video cameras that capture 360-degree angles, will cover the games. Viewers navigate the 360-degree images using a mouse and create their own virtual tour of an event or venue.

The user will be able to choose to view an athlete head-on as they run towards the finishing line, or view swimmers from behind as they dive into the pool. The technology allows viewers to pause and play winning goals, and zoom in or out on particular Olympic moments.

"It's giving people the ability to be inside the stadium, looking around an environment they couldn't easily access otherwise," Evan Jones, iPIX Australia managing director said. It takes the power out of the hand of a TV cameraman and "gives them a view which they have full control over," Jones added.

iPIX will also have a Web cam on the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the course of the games which will capture images of the city every fifteen minutes and stream them direct to the official site www.olympics.com.

"The deal was finalised over the last couple of months," Jones said. "It's a supporting relationship -- no money changed hands," he added.

Stay tuned for ZDNet News coverage of the Sydney Olympics.

What do you think? Tell the Mailroom. And read what others have said.