VR180, announced by Google today, is a new VR format that cuts the traditional 360° circle in half and focuses the action in a smaller space. Designed in conjunction with camera manufacturers Yi, Lenovo and LG, the format is intended to streamline the entire workflow from capture to distribution.

This format should be far easier to produce than fully immersive 360° video and could potentially serve as a transition format for filmmakers and audiences as the move towards VR heats up. Like traditional flat cinema, the filmmaker can hide behind the camera instead of having to hide underneath furniture, watch from another room, or write themselves into the script.  

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Related products from the three of the partner companies, Yi, Lenovo, and LG should start shipping this winter. Outline renders appear to focus on dual lens, extreme wide angle field of view cameras designed to replicate the point-and-shoot experience while offering a more immersive end result. In the meantime, demo cameras are available on loan from any of the nine YouTube spaces around the globe.

For more info and to sign up for updates, check out Google VR.