Published On: Thu, Jul 23rd, 2015

Seattle landmark launches free virtual reality app

0a1_2146SEATTLE, WA – The Space Needle has launched Space Needle 360º, a free virtual reality mobile app featuring interactive, bird’s eye views of Seattle that place you 600 feet above the city on a perfect day.

Space Needle 360º gives users the experience of standing on the Space Needle’s spire, walking on the Space Needle’s Halo (outermost ring), and flying around Seattle in a seaplane – all in spherical videos and images. The app is among the first of its kind, and one of the first to be put out by a major landmark.

“At the Space Needle, we have a tech-forward brand,” said Vice President of Marketing, Karen Olson. “Over the past few years, we’ve launched a series of digital experiences that let our guests see and interact with the view. Now with our virtual reality app, our guests can enjoy some of the best views in Seattle and take the views to go!”

The Space Needle worked with world renowned photographers, Michael Franz and Gavin Farrell of PANOGS, to create never-before-seen visuals – fully immersive, spherical, 360-degree experiences from sites not accessible to the general public.

The experiences filmed for Space Needle 360º were done so using an array of robotic camera heads and 360-degree video cameras. The captured content was then compiled into one single spherical image or 360-degree video creating immersive experiences. No matter where guests look with the VR app and viewer, they can see in every direction as if they were there. For the seaplane “Soar over Seattle” experience, photographers mounted a video rig with six 360-degree video cameras off the pontoon of a seaplane. For the “Walk around the outer edge!” experience, two facilities team members walked on the Halo – the outer most ring of the Needle – wearing harnesses and holding a pole with four mounted, 360-degree video cameras on one end and a stabilizer on the other end. For the “Top of the Needle” experience, photographers worked with a mechanical engineer to construct a heavy duty mount to attach a robotic camera head that captured in 360 degrees to the spire of the Space Needle.

This VR app is part of the Space Needle’s larger initiative to enhance guests’ experiences using technology. This is the second app published by the Space Needle within the past year. The first app (called the Space Needle app) uses Augmented Reality (AR) to enhance guests’ experiences by creating photo-sharing moments using hologram-like 3D images triggered by AR targets. Soon the Space Needle will launch a new AR tour for the latest version of its existing app. In addition, new digital experiences are being launched on the Observation Deck to let guests see and interact with the view.