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Immersive Media Company (IMC) is a digital imaging company specializing in spherical immersive video. The parent company Immersive Ventures is headquartered in Kelowna, British Columbia with Immersive Media Company offices in Dallas, Texas.
Immersive Media Company was founded in 1994 with a debut in 1995 of the world’s first full motion, fully immersive video movie. The movie featured a basketball game where the camera was placed on a tripod on the court. The video was debuted at the 1995 SIGGRAPH convention in Los Angeles, California.
Between 1994 and 2003, the company focused predominately on research and development.
In 2004, Immersive Media launched the Dodeca System, the first spherical camera that was all digital.
In 2006, IMC launched the GeoImmersive City Collect project, sending Volkswagen Beetles equipped with camera systems to collect georeferenced video of major streets in cities within the United States and Canada.
Initially introduced the 'street view' concept to Google and delivered the first 35 cities which were viewed by more than 75 million people in the first four days. Google subsequently cancelled its agreement with IMC and chose to build its own cameras for its on-going investment in immersive geo-media. Although street view imagery is displayed as stills by Google, IMC originally shot the footage as full-frame video, with backing film stills in .JPG format appearing as the video is paused. This is the method that IMC continues to use today for its street view and aerial coverage of cities.
In 2007, IMC acquired Freestone Systems, Inc. in Dallas, Texas, the manufacturer of the cameras. Their name was changed to IMC Sensors, Inc.
In June 2007, IMC was named to the 2007 TSX Venture 50, a ranking of Canada’s top emerging companies listed on the TSX Venture Exchange.
In 2008, IMC innovated new production techniques for entertainment and sports productions culminating with an award-winning campaign for Mercedes Benz; as well as producing a rarely seen music video for Grammy nominee Dierks Bentley.
In 2009, IMC's video platform was chosen by MapQuest in the launch of its new '360 View' service.
In 2009, IMC introduced the world's first web-streaming live concert in 360-degree full motion interactive video using its new imLIVE(TM) server. Canada's Much On Demand music channel covered the concert and streamed Much's daily in-studio show.
The destruction following the January 2010 Haiti earthquake was covered by IMC. IMC donated its services and the video footage was used on news-gathering websites worldwide, and IMC's technology was covered in special features on CNN. The company similarly covered the 2010 Chile earthquake several months later.
In 2010, IMC covered the Vancouver Olympic Games for NBC, most notably webcasting The Today Show live for two hours daily in full 360-degrees. In other sports in 2010, IMC broadcast "Hockey Night in Canada" for Canadian Broadcasting (CBC Sports) live each week of the 2010 hockey season and during the 2010 season play-offs.
In 2010, Immersive Media (Calgary) changed its name to Ember Clear and closed down the Immersive Media operations.
In 2010, Two days after operations were ceased, former executive management of IMC formed Immersive Ventures and produced the 1st ever 360 mobile application for the Black Eyed Peas, BEP360 available on iTunes.
In 2011, Immersive Ventures acquired the assets of Immersive Media Company from EmberClear and relaunched all products and services under the Immersive Media brand.
In 2011, Immersive Media partnered with Livestream to produce the worlds 1st live 360 stream of the Black Eyed Peas Concert from Central Park, New York City.
Products and services
Immersive Media’s product platform and IP touch all areas of the production process, from capture, stitching, post production, distribution and play back. The 1st capture system was the Dodeca 2360, a camera named after the geodesic geometry of the Dodecahedron, on which the patent is based. The twelve-sided camera has eleven lenses which simultaneously record video. The twelfth side is the base of the camera. There is a base unit recording system which inputs the data and records video and other information onto hard drives. The imagery can be paired with metadata, such as time and GPS coordinates. There are now four different types of cameras depending on the type of environment and whether the production will be live or on demand and whether it will be streamed to the web, a mobile device or a set-top box.
Immersive Media focuses on three markets: situational awareness, geographic information systems (GIS)/mapping, and entertainment and advertising for such client brands as Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Red Bull, Armani Jeans, the NBA, NBC Sports, Adidas, MTV and PEOPLE.
Immersive Media has also been used in the creation of adult-themed videos with Digital Playground.
Immersive Media licenses and sells GeoImmersive data, immersive movies, hardware, camera systems, and video collection services.
In the 2005 Inaugural Parade of George W. Bush, the U.S. Capitol Police used Immersive Media’s camera on their car for security in the presidential motorcade. IMC cameras were also used for the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama.
In May 2007, Immersive Media’s imagery was launched in Google Maps application "Google Street View". Immersive Media’s street-level imagery displayed still-image panoramas of street images, although the actual imagery was collected as a video.
Adidas used Immersive Media to capture David Beckham's first U.S. soccer game with the Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer of 2007. adidas also incorporated Immersive Media’s imagery in a Fall 2007 marketing campaign titled “Basketball is a Brotherhood”.
During 2007-8 Immersive Media embarked on their most ambitious productions for clients in the United States including Mercedes Benz, Dierks Bentley, NBA Sports, NBC Sports, The Grammy Awards and People Magazine. Unlike their other single camera productions or "collects," the productions during this period were multi-camera productions featuring innovative lighting and sound solutions for 360 video. Post Production during this time period included compositing and visual effects to enhance the video footage which resulted in "story shaped" content and a new approach to film making. The entertainment division succeeded in achieving representation by William Morris Digital and in facilitating the creation of interactive video ad units with EyeWonder.
IMC covered the 2010 Vancouver Olympics on behalf of NBC, providing the TODAY Show viewers exclusive live footage in 360-degrees from behind the scenes of the TODAY set along with other feature segments during the Games.