How YouTube 360 video changes the game for Bubl

Bubl CEO Sean Ramsay talks about what's next for his 360 camera and proprietary software now that YouTube is supporting the format.

Sean Ramsay, CEO of Bubl, is in high demand at this year’s SXSW festival.

The entrepreneur has been busy this week at the headline-generating Austin festival, taking meetings and doing interviews with international media about his company’s 360-degree Bublcam camera, which enables shooting the unique video needed for virtual reality executions.

Bubl first rose to prominence in the Canadian media industry with its presence in the CFC’s ideaBOOST accelerator program in 2013.

Fast-forward to today, it looks like the boost worked: the Bubl cam is all over South By, being displayed in a variety of booths and earning the attention of the likes of ABC News.

The timing couldn’t have been better.

This week, YouTube finally announced it will support 360-degree video uploads. And it could be a game-changer for the Bublcam.

In launching this capability, YouTube worked with the makers of Bublcam, Giroptic’s 360cam, IC Real Tech’s Allie, Kodak’s SP360 and RICOH THETA to make sure the content produced by these devices was YouTube360 compatible.

“Having [YouTube] drive a community and a place where your content can be stored and held really helps people understand these are the tools that you can utilize in order to get your content [on the service],” Ramsay told Playback Daily. He said the association with the launch of the brand, and Bublcam’s accessibility, creates an environment in which it can become the go-to brand: “How are you going to create content for YouTube 360? You are probably going to use a Bublcam.”

The Bublcam is capable of capturing 100% of the spherical range through panoramic video and photo, with the proprietary software linked to the camera capable of stitching the images together. The result is a 360 video that users can “explore” using a viewing device.

Bubl decided to focus on “upstream” VR experiences – those you can create yourself – rather than the “downstream” experiences, where users have to wait for another company to make a VR experience download-ready.

“It can be very quick, very easy, and you can get your VR-based content very quickly just by recording it and playing it back,” Ramsay said.

Going forward, Bubl is working on shipping out the cameras ordered by its Kickstarter supporters, and aim to mass-distribute Bublcams by the summer or early fall. The company also did a round of seed financing following the Kickstarter campaign, with additional financing details to be announced soon, Ramsay said.

Once Bubl cam completes their final seed financing, the CFC plans to work with the company to create a production lab focused on how to use the camera to tell stories in a 360-degree format, said Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer of the Canadian Film Centre. While ideaBOOST first backed the Bublcam several years ago, it will continue to work with the company to develop the product, Serrano said.

“The Bublcam was a really interesting hardware and software solution we believe will be part of the workflow for user generated VR content,” Serrano said.