Microsoft today debuted a new way for HoloLens users to share their mixed reality experience with others.
Called “Spectator View,” the new feature utilizes a DSLR camera setup that is based off the same technology Microsoft uses to show its own HoloLens demos with people who aren’t wearing their own headset.
The solution lets users take photos and capture videos of their HoloLens experience — which include both the 3D visualizations they are seeing on the device, as well as their own body — while also providing a way to perform live demos with the mixed reality headset.
Microsoft previously built something called Mixed Reality Capture (MRC) directly into HoloLens, but doing so created some constraints that “Spectator View” aims to remove.
“A spectator view camera will allow your audience to do more than just see what you see when wearing a HoloLens,” wrote HoloLens Principal Program Manager Brandon Bray in this blog post. “Yes, it allows others, who aren’t wearing HoloLens, to see the holograms you would see if you were wearing the device, but it also allows you to see what the people wearing HoloLens are doing and how they are interacting with their mixed reality experience. Additionally, because a spectator view camera is not captured with a camera attached to a human’s head, it won’t be subject to the normally imperceptible head movements so the resulting video footage will be much more stable and easier for the audience to follow along.”
Those who want to try integrating “Spectator View” into their own HoloLens devices can check out the documentation and GitHub files. Microsoft warned that it’s not so simple to build this feature, but experienced developers should be able to do it within a day. Here are the basic steps, via Microsoft:
- Acquire the proper hardware and a DSLR camera with HDMI output.
- Mount one HoloLens to the camera with the mounting bracket.
- Once mounted, you will be able to connect your spectator view camera to your PC. The HoloLens will communicate to your PC via Wi-Fi – most gaming and workstation PCs will be powerful enough to handle the job.
- Your app will need to be a shared experience, and can run on both a HoloLens and a desktop – leveraging the Universal Windows Platform. The online Holograms 240 class will help you learn how to create a shared experience.
- Complete some calibrations to ensure your HoloLens and DSLR camera are aligned.
- You are now ready to share your holographic creations!
Microsoft sells the HoloLens, which is still in “development edition,” for $3,000.