How 360 Cameras and a 270-Degree Mega Screen Are Revolutionizing Surgical Training

Colorado State University's Translational Medicine Institute, better known as TMI, recently totally revamped their campus. The new centre, costing $65 million is a state-of-the-art institute bringing top-level education to medical professionals. As part of the revamp, they installed a massive 270° screen to help train both future, and present veterinarians and physicians.

To shoot content for this "Mega Screen" they needed a professional grade 360 camera, and so opted for the Insta360 Pro 2 to do the job. We interviewed Jeff Dotson, Learning and Media Technology Manager at TMI, to learn more about their project.

Could you please introduce yourself?

I am Jeff Dotson.  I’m the Learning and Media Technology Manager at the C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute (yes, it’s abbreviated “TMI”) at Colorado State University.  TMI is housed in a brand new, $65 million building on the campus of Colorado State University that opened in December 2018. TMI is devoted to making advances in animal health care and translating those discoveries to human medicine.

Why did you opt to use a 360 camera for creating content for TMI?

We’ve integrated an immersive classroom at TMI.  This space has a 270-degree screen spanning three walls comprised of eight high-end Christie projectors (Model MIRAGE HD10K-M) stitched together using Christie’s Spyder multi-screen image processor.  This space gives students an immersive learning experience. We were looking for a tool that would help us fill this unique 270-degree screen with compelling visual content.  Our facility has four state-of-the-art surgical suites (2 large animal, 2 small animal) and a twelve station surgical teaching laboratory. The 360 visual possibilities are endless here at TMI. 

How have you been using Insta360 Pro 2?

Our first Insta360 video project is complete.  We used the completed video during our Grand Opening celebration which occurred on May 6, 2019.  The video is just over two minutes long and uses Insta360 footage as a baseline, including the most important 270 degrees of each shot to fill the 270-degree screen.

We then supplemented that 360 video with 4K shots containing sound bites and B Roll that appear on top of the 360 video. TMI video assistants, Benji Hobson and Lawrence Lam, and contractor, Adam Goss, did all of the heavy lifting in the production of our Grand Opening video by shooting, editing and experimenting quite a bit to make sure the content looked perfect on the three wall screen.  They used a combination of Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro, Blender, and of course, Insta360 Stitcher to finish the project in post-production.

How do you think the Immersive Classroom will help with training at TMI?

This Immersive Classroom was designed to teach the next generation of veterinarians and provide tailored continuing education opportunities for visiting physicians and veterinarians. By design, it translates the surgical theatre into a didactic learning environment and allows our students to view live surgeries from multiple perspectives, all while interacting in real-time with the surgeons during these procedures.  We’re currently working on developing the next phase of learning which will incorporate virtual and augmented reality into this space.

Why you choose Pro 2 as your tool? what key features helped you with the project? 

The Insta360 Pro 2 enabled us to shoot high quality, captivating 360-degree visuals to fill our unique three wall screen from the moment we took the camera out of the box!  The ease of use of the camera is one of its top benefits.

Insta360’s workflow, including automatically stitching together it’s six 8k cameras, was efficient, reliable and was instrumental in the project’s success.  Utilizing the camera’s remote control capabilities made it easy to fine-tune shots and compose shots without us, the crew, being in the shot. Finally, the Insta360 Stitcher software made color grading and framing shots in post-production a breeze.

Keen to keep up to date on Insta360 stories? Keep an eye on our blog and sign up for our mailing list. You can also contact our Enterprise team directly to see how 360 cameras can benefit your business.

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WRITTEN BY @Kris Haagensen
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