My name is Ron Powell, and I am the new Developer Evangelist for the Samsung Developer Connection. I’m incredibly excited about working with this community! My charter is to enable developers and content creators to be successful on Samsung platforms and technologies. I’ll be providing you with technical information about how to use and build for our products via blogs and videos, and will be offering direct training and mentorship while at conferences and meet-ups (our next workshop is next week at CAMP Festival in Calgary, Canada. Come join us!). I’ll also be sharing my own experiences with the technology, and reaching out to get your questions, ideas and feedback so I can represent developer needs within Samsung, and help direct you to resources and opportunities within the company.
Before joining this team, I worked as a data analyst for Samsung’s Emerging Platforms Group, analyzing the health and performance of the many North American content and service offerings, including Samsung VR. In that role, I developed a full understanding of the app/service lifecycle for Samsung services as well as for co-developed apps and services from our strategic partners. I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned with our developer community!
Prior to working for Samsung, I was pursuing Space Physics in graduate school at UCLA after having received undergraduate degrees in Math and Physics from the University of Montana. During my time in academia, I learned to write code to develop front-end software tools for use by my research team and to analyze and visualize data. Space physics provided me with some extremely complicated, interesting problems and enormous data sets to work on — it remains a passion of mine today.
So I’ve gone from studying the frontiers of space physics to exploring the new frontiers of technologies like VR and 360 video. That transition has gone well, and I’m pretty excited by everything I’m learning while working with these new mediums.
As an example, over the weekend I grabbed my Gear VR headset and Gear 360 camera and took a beautiful drive up Highway 1. Right now I’m focusing on capturing 360 images and video. Working through the ins and outs of content creation for this new and unique medium has been extremely rewarding. After I take in the wow factor of seeing my surroundings captured in 360, I’m finding myself examining more technical aspects of the shots – How’s my stitch? What’s up with the lighting? What does the footprint from my monopod/tabletop tripod combo look like?
Here are some things I’ve learned along the way:
- The process of stitching 360 images and videos with the Gear 360 mobile companion app is painless. Not only does this manager app allow me to monitor what is being captured on my camera, it also allows me to share this content instantly on YouTube, Facebook, and Flickr.
- There are some things that can only be learned by doing. I took some photos in full sun and found that if you have one lens directed at the Sun, the image from that lens is brighter than the image from the lens that is directed away. This created an image with very observable and unfortunate color inconsistencies. I found much improvement by placing the camera so that the center of the camera was along the ecliptic plane or ‘Sun path’ to try and balance the amount of sunlight that each lens receives.
- Camera positioning matters. Low lighting can ruin a great shot. Subjects that are too close / far from the camera also lead to poor images. That said, if you find the right lighting and the right positions of your subjects, you can create some amazing content! I took the photo below under the shade of redwood trees in Hendy Woods State Park. Check out how good the stitch came out in the shade.
What has your experience been with the Samsung Gear 360 camera? What questions or tips do you have about creating 360 video or building VR apps? Reach out if you would like to share them with me / the community via email or our social media channels.
You can find us:
We can also talk in person at one of our upcoming 360 video and VR workshops. Can’t wait to chat with you.