Kogeto’s Dot gadget is built to offer iPhone 4 and 4S owners a different kind of video recording experience. It has a fish-eye lens (with an anti-reflective coating) that is built into a plastic holder, which snaps around the body of your iPhone. This fish-eye lens is then positioned, to fit over your smartphone’s camera lens.
Once it’s in place, Kogeto’s Looker app needs to be installed on the iPhone. This is used to calibrate the lens, and following that swift and simple process, you can record panoramic video at the touch of a button. What exactly is panoramic video? The lens records everything around it in a 360-degree arc, and when you play back a clip, you can literally grab the picture and then scroll around it, in real-time.
Think of it as Google Street View – the motion picture version, filmed, with you as the director. The effect of being able to look around inside a video is undoubtedly a cool experience. If you’ve just moved house, for example, you could film a walk-through of your new place and then send it to your parents. Then as you wander from room to room, they can literally look into every corner themselves.
The image is decoded and “de-fish-eyed” by the Looker app, which does a pretty good job of this. We did find that the image quality wasn’t always brilliant, being a touch grainy particularly in less-brightly-lit conditions. However, it’s decent enough and certainly watchable.
One point to bear in mind is that it’s necessary to hold the iPhone flat, out in front of you at arm’s length while filming (otherwise you’ll get a lot of yourself in the panoramic shot). That’s a little awkward, and you sometimes end up getting a thumb and/or fingers in the shot. Alternatively, you can simply place the smartphone down on a central surface – if you’re just intending to film a single location.
Overall, this is a fun little gadget. Kogeto’s app also provides integrated social media sharing, along with its own Dot Spot site; a dedicated panoramic video sharing platform. The Dot also comes with a microfiber carry pouch that doubles as a lens cloth, just to add those final touches.
Check the videos of the device below.
- Peeking around inside panoramic video clip is a pretty cool experience.
- Video quality can be a little grainy.