OLEAN — 360Rize of Olean has made an international name for itself in the world of 3-D and 360-degree commercial video production.

Now, 360Rize has developed a small, handheld unit to allow the everyday consumer to produce 3-D and 360-degree still imagery and videos.

The 2.6-ounce Penguin360 camera has been in development for the past 18 months and is funded by a Kickstarter campaign, said 360Rize president and CEO Michael Kintner. The camera can livestream to Facebook and YouTube in 360-degree VR.

“We made it easy,” Kintner said. “We wanted it to be family friendly. Everybody wants to get into 3-D, but they are afraid. With this they will have tons of fun and be able to do all this.”

The public can see the Penguin360’s abilities rolling down North Union Street during the Santa Claus Lane Parade Friday night. The 360Rize bus has been rewrapped with the Penguin360 campaign.

“We released the camera on Oct. 13 at the Detroit Zoo on National Penguin Day,” Kintner said.

“A lot of thought went into this,” he added, noting a user can do a lot of the same things professionals do with $5,000 worth of cameras. “You can do the same thing for $298. It lets everyone get involved. It’s the easiest 360 camera in the world to use.”

Meanwhile, 360Rize is also introducing an app that allows a cellphone to trigger animated images — an application that has endless possibilities for marketing, Kintner said.

The app launched last week at the Ellicottville Beer and Wine Festival at Holiday Valley and involved Ellicottville Brewing Company’s Blueberry Beer.

360Rize has also made an animation of the penguins promoting the Penguin360 camera, and a holiday-themed animation for the Olean Times Herald’s banner. The penguins photo on the front of the 360Rize bus that will be in the Santa Claus Lane Parade will also spark animation on the cell phone app.

Kintner said the parade would be livestreamed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/360Penguin.

“It’s all about the marketing,” Kintner said. “We’ve come up with a better way to promote products. This is fun stuff and it has practical applications in the real world.”

The Penguin360 camera has 6K and 4K video capability and 24 megapixel capability for still images, making what Kintner says is “fantastic-looking videos to look at on a cell phone, laptop or desktop.” He said an addition of an Oculus Go VR headset and “it doesn’t get any better. Our content plays perfectly on this gear.”

The camera is 4 inches tall, with front and back lenses that form the 360-degree view.

D&H Photo has a two-month exclusive sale window for the Penguin360, but it will then be available through other outlets.

As for applications for the camera, Kintner said realtors could use the 360-degree capability to show an apartment or home with just a few photos. Or, he added, hunters could use the 360 view.

There are two more products in development, Kintner said, noting that he’d like to launch a new product every year.

Earlier this year, 360Rize unveiled a pilot program involving two local realtors to produce 360-degree interactive videos of home interiors on his website, 3dbuilding.tours. The videos are viewable on computers, laptops, cell phones and tablets.

The company manufactures and sells “rigs” that hold from two to 24 high-resolution cameras for 360-degree views, while also making underwater equipment. A special rig held GoPro cameras that took the first 360-degree photo at the summit of Mount Everest in 2015.

The company’s assemblies have made possible the compilation of 360-degree footage for a TIME magazine exclusive shoot with diver Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau, and for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. In 2016, 360Rize collaborated with History360 to produce the virtual reality production, “Battle Road,” on the Battle of Lexington and Concord, which triggered America’s Revolutionary War in April 1775.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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