Panoramas are all the rage. In the past year, both Apple's iOS 6 and Google's Android 4.2 added panoramic photography. You can even buy accessories that take interactive 360° videos. But a new app called Cycloramic takes a much simpler approach: it shoots panoramic videos by (literally) taking your iPhone 5 for a spin.
Like a record, baby
Cycloramic doesn't require any expensive accessories or complex user know-how. It only requires a US$0.99 download, a smooth surface, and one tap on your screen. After selecting the number of rotations, the app uses the iPhone's built-in vibration motor to twirl around, creating a panoramic clip that Google Street View could envy.
In our tests, the app worked as advertised. On a ceramic counter, Cycloramic rotated an iPhone 5 360°, creating a smoothly-panned clip. The app's developers say that it won't work on surfaces like rough wood or fabric, but any smooth, solid and level surface should do the trick.
Practical or parlor trick?
There are caveats. The developers only recommend Cycloramic for theiPhone 5. Older iPhones' heavier builds and weaker motors prevent them from spinning. The phone will need to be naked too, so you'll want to remove your case before firing it up. The app also doesn't have audio, as the vibrations would overpower all other sound.
Why would anyone would need Cycloramic? There could be niche cases, like unique round-table shots or large group videos. For the most part, though, it's a novelty: amaze your friends with the mysterious spinning iPhone! We suspect that, for many buyers, the resulting video will be an afterthought.